Church Minister wants less talk more action on family violence

The Secretary of the National Council of Churches (N.C.C.), Reverend Maauga Motu, has called for more results in the fight against the scourge of family violence in villages. 

Speaking to the media during the Law and Justice Sector workshop on Friday, Rev. Motu said while discussions and round table talks are not unwelcome, there still remains to be evidence of results being achieved. 

“The reason for the rising cases in sexual assaults happening within families is because they give in to the devil,” he said.

“I’m telling you, after each discussion, participants often just go back into their homes and store these papers given out in their closets and on tables with no real action taken.

“Discussions are only effective when there is action each and every one of us can do once we leave this place.”

Rev. Motu said having a Welfare Committee that deals directly with family violence within villages would be a perfect example of being consistent in taking action at the village level. 

The Reverend said he was referring to a committee separate from the village council of chiefs and made up of relevant representatives from all stakeholders of the village including the church, women committee and more.

“The Welfare Committee in each village [could] be the ones to deal with such issues of violence. Each week they will meet with the village council and everyone in the whole village should be allowed to listen in on this meeting, especially the church ministers,” he said.

“If there is an issue with one of the church youth groups, a chief in the Welfare Committee is able to voice the concern and have the Minister deal with it and discuss how it can be overcome.

“And should concerns surface involving village chiefs, the church minister’s should be able to advise and give recommendations.”

In 2018, the Office of the Ombudsman’s two-year inquiry revealed shocking statistics into the realities of family violence. 

The report found that while six out of 10 women have experienced some form of intimate partner violence in their lifetime, nine out of 10 children have experienced some form of physical, harsh verbal and sexual violence in their lifetime.

This continues to this day despite the pandemic lockdown as the Samoa Police Service records a surge in domestic violence.

“With a Welfare Committee around, once a family is discovered with such a case, they will be delivered before the Village Council where they will be penalized greatly," said Rev. Motu.

“No family would be careless enough to do such acts with Committees onto their cases ensuring children are safe within families.

“If this is successful within at least one village, neighbouring villages will want to take part.”

Rev. Motu said there should also be funding allocated for the Welfare Committee members as an incentive for good governance.

Roles will be changed within a time period to ensure everyone gets a taste of the benefit from taking care of their own village.

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