Domestic violence incidents continue, victims seek refuge

Domestic violence victims continue to seek the assistance of local humanitarian group Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.) in large numbers.

Confirming statistics supplied by non-government organisations such as the S.V.S.G. as well as the Police, women continue to report cases of domestic violence despite increasing concerns and publicity.

On Tuesday morning a large number of women victims of domestic violence made their way to their headquarters of the S.V.S.G. seeking counselling and support.

S.V.S.G. President, Siliniu Lina Chang, confirmed their office getting a high number of domestic violence victims on Tuesday.

However, she could not disclose the specific types of domestic violence cases that the victims had experienced due to counselling protocols.

But she said they welcomed the women victims with open arms as is usually the case.

"This is why we carry our work day and night," she said. "We have to answer the phone and if people do come into our office, we have to make sure that at the end of the day, the people are satisfied with our service.

"Also, we can't go home during any day without doing our job well and satisfyingly.

"It's a place where we offer counseling and it's like a safe place for them where they can come and cry and scream and talk and we offer our ears to listen to them."

Asked for an estimate on the number of victims, Siliniu said she could not recall as there were too many.

"With how many at one time, we try to cope because we don't want to end our counselling with anyone while they are still at loss and not satisfied mentally.

"But remember when they come to us to make sure before their cases are taken to the police."

Women with bruises to various parts of their body were sighted at the S.V.S.G headquarters on Tuesday.

Last week the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration revealed data which showed anger, jealousy, relationship issues and stress combine as the leading causes of domestic violence in Samoa. 

Second-tier causes include alcohol, extramarital affairs and anger. While financial issues rank third and land disputes combined with anger were the social problems' fourth leading combination of causes.

Last year the Family Violence Court recorded 353 cases of domestic violence. Some 176 of those cases were caused by anger, jealousy, relationship issues and stress. Extramarital affairs, alcohol and anger, in combination, contributed to 108 cases of domestic violence. Financial issues led to 42 cases and 27 cases were caused by a combination of land disputes and anger.

Criminal cases that are domestic violence in nature are dealt with by the Family Violence Court established under the Family Safety Act of 2013. The court commenced operations in August 2013.

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