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S.V.S.G. staff undergo child protection training

Samoa Victim Support Group staff members have undergone a three-day training on child protection and safeguarding.

The training was facilitated by the UNICEF Child Protection Consultant Aladin Borja and focuses on certain aspects of child protection.

In an interview with the Samoa Observer, Mr. Borja said child safeguarding is all about child protection.

"For each day we are focusing on all staff, meaning everybody at S.V.S.G. because we would like to start with the basic concepts with everybody," he said.

Mr. Borja explained that child safeguarding is everyone's business and responsibility in an organisation and is not just the responsibility of an organisation’s president or managers.

“And then tomorrow we are going to have a session with managers and supervisors because they do have a very distinct role in making sure that all the staff members understand what the code of conduct says in terms of professional behavior and caring for children and making sure that they implement the prevention and also the response mechanisms whenever there is a case,” he said.

Mr. Borja emphasised that on the last day of the training, they will have a session with carers at the S.V.S.G Campus of Hope.

“The children who are under the care of S..V.S.G. have been through some of the most difficult experiences as children and we do not want to subject them to further harm while we are in our care,” he said.

“The goal of that training on  Saturday is to really provide tips and equip our carers with skills and also the knowledge they need in order to perform their roles effectively and again going back to the main goal of ensuring that whatever they do, they are keeping children safe and they do not cause further harm."

Mr. Borja added he is aware the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development is looking to approve the National Child Protection Policy which was reviewed and approved by the Cabinet, in order for a national framework that will guide their work on child protection to be created to reach the ultimate goal of empowering children and creating a safer environment for them. 

S.V.S.G. President Siliniu Lina Chang told the Samoa Observer in an interview that they are fortunate to be able to receive the training.

"Victim support has been having shelters over 10 years now and we learn as we go along, but now even though victim support has its own Child Protection Policy that we follow, not only to protect the children but to protect the workers as well,” she said.

Siliniu added that they are grateful to UNICEF who has always supported their work.

"They have always been by our side to guide and work together with us so that we could achieve what we want because we have a campus, that's a shelter. We have workers but then at the same time, having the caregivers go through this training is good," she said.

"We thank everyone who has been involved. There are so many people in our community involved in making sure that victim support would be where it is now.”

Siliniu acknowledged the support the community has shown to S.V.S.G as the community and donors always make sure that the children of the Campus of Hope are safe and have food.

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