17 Jan 2009

American Samoan govt urges parents to not hide sexual offences against children

12:28 pm on 17 January 2009

The American Samoan government is urging parents to be vocal and not to hide sexual offences against their children.

The call comes amid alarm at the fast rising number of sexual crimes involving minors.

The Assistant Attorney-General Lisa Teesh McGuire says in many cases, mothers are reluctant to report sexual misconduct by fathers or stepfathers against their daughters.

She says parents must educate their children and help them recognize sexual abuse.

"If the community just thinks the church should just step in, we should apologise to the family because people don't want to bring shame upon their families and they don't want to talk about it. It's a very difficult thing to talk about, and it's hard for children to talk about it and report, and what's really sad is that if a child actually reaches out to an adult and then they don't receive support from the adult community, children are going to remain silent."

Lisa Teesh-McGuire.