Domestic violence cases spike in ten months

Statistics from the Ministry of Police, Prisons and Corrections show domestic violence cases this year have doubled compared to 2019.

The grim discovery was revealed during a presentation by the Ministry’s Tologata Tile Tamaleaoa Misieliota on Wednesday during a gathering of Family Safety Committees at the Tanoa Tusitala Conference Room.

The data is based on complaints filed with the Police between January and October 2020 and show how the Family Safety Act 2013 was enforced and its relevance to the roles of the village committees. 

According to the Ministry, Falefa recorded the highest number of domestic violence cases over the 10-month period with 25 cases, followed by Vaimoso (23 cases), Satapuala (21 cases), Toamua (20 cases) and Vailele (19 cases), Faleasiu (17), Falelauniu (17), Vaitele-Uta (16), Vaiusu (15), Malie (15), Saleimoa (14), Leauvaa (14), Fasitoo-Tai (14), Vailoa (13), Faleula (13), Nofoalii (11), Leulumoega (10), Fagalii (9), Laulii (8) and Maagao (8) for a total of 302 cases for Upolu. 

In Savai’i there were a total of 38 cases with Salelologa recording seven, followed by Fusi (4), Asau (4), Fogapoa (2), Safai (2), Samalaeulu (2), Papa i Puleia (2), Sapapalii (2) and Sataua (2) and the villages of Foalilo, Taga, Vailoa Palauli, Neiafu-Uta, Faga, Iva, Fagamalo, Lelepa, Vaisala and Falelupo all with one case each over the 10 month period. 

Police said they investigated a total of 807 domestic crimes with 30 per cent of them involving alcohol, while 562 incidents were non-alcohol related with 245 alcohol-related. 

The top five alcohol-related crimes were insulting words (66 cases), assault (56 cases), intentional damage (43 cases) causing injury (40 cases) and (36 cases).

The types of alcohol consumed in the 245 alcohol-related domestic violence cases was also included in the police data. 

A total of 63 cases were connected to an unknown alcohol; 50 cases Taula Strong; 42 cases Rover Vodka; 27 cases Skyline Olioli (13 per cent alcohol); 23 cases Skyline Olioli (8 per cent alcohol); Vailima Lager 19 cases; Boom Vodka 11 cases and Rice Vodka 10 crimes. 

The most domestic violence cases were recorded in the month of March with a total of 101 compared to 46 cases during the same period last year. And in September this year there were 96 domestic violence cases compared to 2019 when there were only 46.

In the month of January, there were 89 domestic violence cases compared to 42 last year. However, only in the month of August do the number of cases in 2019 surpass that of 2020. In 2019 there were 91 cases but in 2020 there were only 86.

In May this year, police recorded 84 domestic violence cases but in 2019 the number was 43. In July this year, there were 81 cases up from 34 the previous year.

In February this year the number of cases was 66 compared to 61 last year while in April, there were 62 cases of domestic violence in 2020 but last year there were 61. Only for the month of June was there an equal number of domestic violence cases for 2019 and 2020 in 56.

A majority of the victims were females who comprised 67 per cent of the victims with male victims accounting for 33 per cent or 282 victims.

Sex offenders were also mostly male with a total of 713 males or 83 per cent with females making up 17 per cent of the offenders with 146.

Women between the ages of 30 and 39 also made up the biggest group of victims with 141 of them victimised. As for male victims, they range in age between 40 and 49, though there were 48 male victims between the ages of 40 and 49, according to Police statistics.

Males between the ages of 20 and 29 also formed the largest group as male offenders with a total of 148.

While women in two different age groups accounted for committing the most crimes between January and October this year – women ages 20 to 29 and 40 to 49 – women in those two age groups are said to have been the offenders in 54 crimes combined.

Police said that throughout the years it has been documented that there has been a growing number of domestic violence and abuse in Samoa with the reasons behind the escalation of crime many and varied, but mostly having to do with gender inequality, harmful use of alcohol, and the undermining of women’s and children rights.

Land conflicts were also important contributors to family violence and conflicts in Samoa.

Reports of increased violence and calls or assistance to police and other mainstream services go beyond society’s preconceived notions of what constitutes violence.

Police also noted that there are many types of non-contact and indirect violation and domestic brutality within their “supposedly” safe havens. 

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