Police urge assaulted woman to lodge complaint

Police have appealed to a woman, who shared photos of her bloodied face on social media, after she was allegedly assaulted by her partner, to visit the Police station to lodge a complaint.

Deputy Police Commissioner, Papali'i Monalisa Tiai-Keti, confirmed the incident when contacted by the Samoa Observer and said they have heard from the victim but she is yet to go lodge a formal complaint. 

“She has responded however she is yet to come in to lodge her complaint and our office is again contacting her to pursue this matter given the gravity of her injuries,” said Papali'i. 

“Photos of the victim were referred to us by members of the public and our Domestic Violence Unit have contacted her via (Facebook) messenger to come in.

“The victim has not officially lodged a complaint but her social media post was shared to S.P.S. by members of the public.”

According to Papali'i, any person is subject to the law and if they commit a criminal offence they must be charged and prosecuted through the Courts.

The woman made the Facebook post at 11.54am on 3 December 2020 and complained about her partner’s alleged mistreatment of her while expressing fear living in her own home. 

“You hurt me you used me and you treated me like I didn't matter you took away my right to feel safe you made me scared in my own home you did so much wrong,” she states in her post.

The woman also alleges that her partner used drugs on the night he assaulted her.

Photos of the partner posted on the woman’s Facebook account showed him wearing a Fire and Emergency Services Authority (F.E.S.A.) uniform.

When contacted for comment by the Samoa Observer, F.E.S.A. Assistant Commissioner, Tanuvasa Petone Mauga, said he is aware of the case but no action will be taken against the staff member as it was a private matter.

“Some of my colleagues had informed me about it but to be honest, we’re really sad about (the violence),” he said in a telephone interview. 

“But we’re also sad that the Fire and Emergency Services Authority’s name has been tarnished by this. It’s a domestic dispute or disagreement between the (firefighter) and his wife privately, not having anything to do with his work.

“F.E.S.A did not tell them to do this but that’s the sad thing about it. My comment from F.E.S.A about (domestic violence) is we won’t allow that to happen in our working environment.”

Attempts by the Samoa Observer since last Friday to contact and get a comment from the F.E.S.A. officer, who is at the centre of the allegations in the Facebook post, have been unsuccessful. 

The Family Safety Act 2013 defines domestic violence as any violence which occurs within a family environment, though Deputy Police Commissioner Papalii says the definition is broad and the police cannot act if the matter is not reported.

“The definition is broad and captures psychological as well,” she added. “Police will not be able to carry out its mandatory functions pursuant to the Family Safety Act and enforcing the law, if matters are not reported. 

“Domestic violence is a crime and we must work together to eliminate it.”

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