16 Oct 2007

Samoa government's commitment to dealing with sexual abuse questioned

6:14 pm on 16 October 2007

An NGO leader in Samoa says the government is yet to make a real commitment to dealing with the increase of cases of sexual abuse.

In July, the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, encouraged more political discussion on increasing social problems, like sexual abuse.

The CEO of the Samoa umbrella for NGO's, Roina Vavatau, says action is taken at a traditional village level.

But she says the government has made no real commitment to the issue.

"They need to have some sort of financial committment, but I don't think they've got enough passion. There's no committment in terms of finances to help them out directly from government funds. We need to have changes from the top right down to the bottom. We need a change of policy, we need to have systems in place to support these victims. There's not enough support."

Roina Vavatau says the village process of dealing with abuse can be very positive, as long as it's also dealt with by the courts.