Victim Support Group issues Christmas plea
While Samoa is celebrating the Christmas season, the Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.) has issued a public plea for members of the community to extend the spirit of care, love and protection to women, children and some of the most vulnerable members of the community to abuse.
The plea comes 15 years after the Group has witnessed the growing number of cases of abuse cases, which often spike during times of celebrations.
S.V.S.G. President, Silinu Lina Chang said the impact of COVID19 has brought with it a new set of challenges. She revealed that they have had to deal with 15,314 various cases of domestic violence, indecent assault, rape, child abuse.
"We had a record 153 children housed at the Campus of Hope during the period of July and August due to COVID-19 related impacts," she said.
"However, we wrap u a year of uncertainty, of challenges and of tragedy, in the spirit of thanksgiving with a scripture from the bible, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
"It is because besides the bright lights of Apia, the well swept mud from the recent floods, and the hope in the eyes of the children we have rescued from being abused, the love of God through His masterplan save you and I, should make Christmas, always and forever be a season of joy and thanksgiving.
"Furthermore, this is due to the fact that while our people were recovering from the Measles epidemic which killed more than 80 of our dear children, the dark clouds of the COVID-19 forced the most vulnerable to commit crimes of survival, crimes of hunger and crimes of fear.
"Today, we wish a Merry Christmas to all those whose belief, confidence, and love for the people of Samoa, have supported S.V.S.G.’s work in 2020 and beyond.
"SVSG’s donor partners, the government of Samoa, the European Union (CSSP), the Spotlight Initiative (UNDP), UNICEF, UNESCO, ILO, FAO, the Australian High Commission, the New Zealand High Commission, the US Embassy Office Apia, the Japanese Embassy Office Apia, the Germany Embassy, and the Canada High Commission, both of New Zealand.
"From our lovely children at the Campus of Hope, we say thank you and merry Christmas to the churches, villages, schools, youth groups and families that have supported their daily welfare and nurtured their spiritual growth throughout the year."
Siliniu also spoke on behalf of the Board, Executive Committee, Management and staff of S.V.S.G. in saying, "let us all find time to enjoy the peaceful spirit, the hope wrapped in the gladness, and the love of God at the heart of the Christmas season."
"God knows we deserve it. Stay blessed and keep safe Samoa.”