Counselling program continues to change lives
A counselling program run by the Samoa Victims Support Group (S.V.S.G.) continues to play a significant role in the rehabilitation of the lives of offenders who were referred by the Courts.
The Men’s and Women’s Advocacy programme first started in 2014 and more than 700 men and women have graduated from the programme.
The programme is primarily based on counselling to support efforts to end violence within families and homes.
Participants undergo various counselling on family issues, anger management, couple counselling, alcohol and drug counselling, stress management.
Church leaders of various denominations have volunteered their services to be part of the programme as facilitators of these counselling sessions.
According to one of the facilitators of the women’s advocacy programme, Tutai Mariner, she said that the programme has made great success over the years in changing lives of the participants for the better.
“We preach the word of God and counsel the participants after they have been referred by court instead of them being taken to prison,” she said.
Ms. Mariner added that the length of weeks for each participant to take part in the programme depends on the offence they committed.
“The women take part in a 6-12 weeks programme but we have noticed that some disagreement all begin from anger and so they use foul language and others use physical abuse.”
Another facilitator, Milo Cordtz said that the programme has received great feedback in terms of the end results through changes seen through the women that have graduated from the programme.
“Over 200 women have graduated from this programme and the participants testify on the changes they have gone through after while attending the programme.
“Some women who used to always speak negatively in their families have only positive words to speak of.
“Some of them have faced problems with their in-laws in terms of being mistreated and have led to disagreements.”
One of the participants in the programme who did not wish to be identified said that she made a simple mistake.
“The programme is so useful to me because it helps me a lot, it changed my anger that I had against those that I had a disagreement with.”
The 50-year-old woman said that the majority of lessons they are being taught with are from Bible verses.”