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Gender-based violence increase during S.O.E.

Local humanitarian organisation, Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.) has reported a 93 per cent increase in gender-based violence [G.B.V.] cases brought to its attention, when compared to the same period last year.

S.V.S.G. Spokesperson, Pepe Tevaga, in response to questions sent by the Samoa Observer said there has been a surge in G.B.V. cases this year compared to the same period last year that saw 29 cases recorded.

She said a total of 56 G.B.V. cases have been reported to the S.V.S.G. between March 21 to May 1 this year. Out of the 56 cases, more than 70 per cent of them target women in terms of physical and verbal abuse.

“A 93 [per cent] increase in gender based violence was noted; from 29 in the period 2019 compared to 56 during the same period in 2020,” she said.

“Fourty [cases] against women [involved physical and verbal abuse], 13 against children [all physical abuse]; and three against men [verbal abuse].” 

For the same period of less than two months in 2019, they saw seven cases of sexual assault involving children. But this year, they recorded none for that same period of time. 

However, Ms Tevaga expressed caution, saying the absence of any child sexual offences this year could be attributed to the state of emergency [S.O.E.] and the lockdown that followed or the lack of transport to report such cases. 

“As a child protection agency, the absence of any sexual-related cases affecting children during this time, compared to seven sexual cases recorded for 2019, implies positively on the lockdown, as parents are forced to stay home from work,” she added. 

“On the other hand, the restrictions on the operation of buses might impact on the ability of the people to refer cases of a sexual nature.”

In April this year the Police also reported a 40 per cent increase in domestic violence cases despite the declaration of the S.O.E. to curtail public activity to reduce risks associated with the COVID-19 global pandemic.

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