Ministry of Women launches gender violence guide
Increasing cases of gender-based violence and demand for child protection services has led to the publication of Samoa’s first-ever guidelines for responding to problems stemming from the issues.
An official ceremony to launch the inter-agency guide was hosted by the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (M.W.C.S.D.) at the Tanoa Hotel on Friday.
In an interview with the Samoa Observer, the Chief Executive Officer of M.W.C.S. D., Afamasaga Faauiga Mulitalo said that the newly launched publications come in both the Samoan and English language.
She added that the guides facilitate the survivor based approach for gender-based violence and child protection, providing referral guidelines, standards and practical procedures for all relevant stakeholders.
Afamasaga also said the guides were supported by the Ministry's social sector partners, including Government Ministries, non-Governmental organisations and community representatives. She acknowledged their roles in the design of the Guides as well as the implementation, as being vital in ensuring the service delivery in response to gender-based violence and child protection reaches the standard required.
“The guides will inform people, making sure they are aware of what to do, not just the victims of violence but also the first respondents and everyone that is doing work in this space,” she said.
She also added that the Ministry is concerned by the increasing number of incidents involving women and children impacted by violence.
"We are doing all we can to address this issue but this is not a one agency responsibility, not just Government, or non-government organisations," she said.
After the launch of the guides, Afamasaga said the next step for the Ministry is to run a series of capacity-building training sessions for its staff, sector partners, village representatives and people with disabilities.
“We can’t do it alone, it requires a whole country approach but we are still doing what we can with our development partners," she said.
She said it was important to collaborate, noting work was being undertaken by partners such as Fataua Le Ola, Samoa Victim Support Group and Salvation Army.
“We are hoping that by the end of March we have covered the whole country, running the programme," Afamasaga said.
The Associate Minister for M.W.C.S.D., Salausa Dr. John Ah Ching, delivered the keynote address on behalf of the Minister.
The development of the document was supported by the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls; the European Union; and the Australian Government.
Technical support was provided by a range of United Nations Agencies; United Nations Women; United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund and the United Nations Population Fund.