More than 70 men have graduated from the Samoa Victim Support Group’s Men’s Advocacy Programme, strengthening family units in Samoa.
The men were referred to the programme by the Family Court.
On Wednesday night, Chief Justice Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu acknowledged the work of former Family Court Judge and new Supreme Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren.
He also congratulated the men for completing the programme.
The programme deals with alcohol counseling, stress management, anger management, couples counseling and spiritual counseling.
Of 708 defendants who have appeared before the Family Court for domestic violence related matters, 449 have been referred to S.V.S.G. and the programme.
Chief Justice Patu also acknowledged the work of the President, Muliagatele Siliniu Lina Chang.
“Your effort and hard work does not go unnoticed,” he said. “You do this not for monetary reward but because you believe in the vision of the family violence court that if families are stable and peaceful, our nation of Samoa will be stable and peaceful.”
In addressing the graduates, Chief Justice Patu said: “Use what you have learnt to become advocates of peace in your villages, churches; no doubt many are matais that have roles and duties.”
Tauala Westerlund of Aleipata testified about how the programme has changed his life. He promised he would never assault his wife and children again.
Another graduate, Otoalii Iakopo, thanked the facilitators and Justice Tafaoimalo for giving him another chance.