31 Jan 2006

Grim statistics on child abuse in American Samoa

8:13 am on 31 January 2006

A forum on strengthening families hosted by the American Samoa legislature has revealed grim statistics about the magnitude of child abuse in the territory.

Alarming statistics, provided by police, nurses and social workers, show 85 per cent of sexual and child abuse in American Samoa happens at home.

The delegates were told that the sexually abused included an 11-month old baby.

The forum's keynote speaker the director of the Office of Insular Affairs at the Department of Interior, Nikolao Pula, says action must be taken.

"There is nothing like sunshine to disinfect abuse. Do not keep abuse a secret. Secrecy is the abusers weapon."

He says parents and relatives should behave more responsibly.