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Crime rates soar during lockdown

Crime rates have soared across the board, with increases of 25 per cent recorded across the board in all categories from domestic violence to assault cases, despite the current state of emergency [S.O.E.] declared by the Government.

The Commissioner of Police and Prisons, Fuiavaili'ili Egon Keil, confirmed the spike in cases in an interview with the Samoa Observer.

According to the Commissioner, looking at recent police statistics, the crime rate has increased in all areas.

“Our crime rate has increased in all areas: from domestic violence, traffic and common crimes like assaults, throwing stones, insulting words,” he added.

Fuiavaili’ili said that the overall statistics have increased from the same period last year from January to July has increased between 24 or 26 per cent in all categories. 

Last Friday night, Police made more than 30 arrests including three women, who are now facing charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, the Commissioner said. 

A non-governmental organisation, the Samoa Victim Support Group [S.V.S.G.] – which deals with victims of abuse and gender-based violence – have also reported an increase in the amount of sexual violence against young girls during July 2020 on an annual basis. 

The S.V.S.G. also highlighted that the mothers of the young survivors of sexual violence are taking on the suffering of their daughters, as they seek to report the abuse happening within their families.

That, she said, has been a mark of progress towards raising public voices against the danger of fear of pride and of silence.

“Continue to stay strong dear mothers, and thank you for your role in breaking the cycle of violence in the homes,” said Siliniu Lina Chang, S.V.S.G. President.

“This is because as a support service organisation, S.V.S.G. knew exactly how silence is suffocating. This is especially given the history of S.V.S.G. and how it was borne out of the need to be there for the incest rape survivors, who were most often, abandoned by their mothers to take on their husband’s side.”

The humanitarian organisation remains hopeful as mothers accounted for 80 per cent of the sexual violation cases reported to S.V.S.G. during July 2020.

“We know it is not easy, but the mothers chose to feel the depression and the anxiety together with the daughters by speaking out," said Siliniu.

“The anguish and the pain are what we can clearly see on their faces, as they sought help with S.V.S.G. But these are the norms surrounding the violence that we are trying to break, the attitudes and mindsets that it is a private matter.

“Today S.V.S.G. acknowledges the courage of the mothers to be the responsible and loving mothers to their daughters; fighting the good fight, despite the humiliation, the accusation and the stigmatisation from all around.”

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