Ombudsman develops awareness programme
The Ombudsman’s Office, as the National Human Rights Institution, has developed a two year awareness rollout strategy to address family violence.
The formulation of a strategy is in response to the findings of the Ombudsman Report National Public Inquiry into family violence in Samoa last year – which revealed extremely high levels of violence against women and girls in the country – while also discovering ways to tackle the scourge.
The Ombudsman’s Office’s Tracey Mikaele said the five main outcomes from the inquiry were:
•Increased visibility of the main findings and recommendations of the National Public Inquiry into Family Violence in Samoa. •Report at all levels and build momentum for action.
•Greater awareness and improved knowledge and understanding of nature, root causes and impacts of family violence in Samoa.
•Empowered local institutions (church, village fono/council) and the public (families and neighbours) to take action to prevent and protect against family violence.
“Greater awareness and improve public knowledge about the alignment of values of Fa’asamoa, faith and human rights which supports condemning violence
•And increased visibility of the National Human Rights Institution and its mandate.
In an effort to achieve these outcomes, the Ombudsman’s Office has proposed various activities in villages as well as working with faith-based organisations on strategies discussed in the report, which contribute to the elimination of violence.
“As always, there is a great need for funding to implement work plans, hence the Office is working hard to secure donor partners to support these initiatives,” she added.
Ms. Mikaele said the office completed discussions of the report findings and recommendations with villages that were initially consulted, and they have expressed support to implement the recommendations, especially targeted to villages.
“The Office is currently completing its discussions with Government Ministries and all relevant partners to inform them also of these recommendations.”
Ms. Mikaele said they hope to encourage positive action and collective support for the work that is needed to be done.
“A significant educational and awareness raising component is intended to flow from the Inquiry which will be the focus of the work for the next two years,” she added.
“The report highlights evidence to support development of strategies, needed services and various ways local institutions can develop to address family violence and support both victims and perpetrators,” she added.
She concluded by saying the Ombudsman’s Office understands the concern that family violence in Samoa continues unabated, and appealed to the people not to be discouraged by such detail as the work done now may be slow but is confirmed progress.
“The work we are doing now will tremendously contribute to creating a safer Samoa and safer families for our children,” she said.