9 Jul 2008

Samoa ups efforts to reduce domestic violence

2:22 pm on 9 July 2008

The police in Samoa are taking a much harder line on domestic violence.

The Minister of Police says the government is considering to amend laws to impose heavy penalties for domestic crimes.

A Domestic Violence Unit has been opened near the new Police Headquarters to handle complaints by victims and to offer support and assistance.

The Minister hopes more people will be encouraged to report domestic violence.

An NGO, which deals with incidences of sexual abuse and domestic violence, Mapusaga o Aiga in Samoa, has welcomed the initiative.

Its President, Mauala Ivao Seiuli, says the new unit is overdue.

"We cant handle all domestic violence cases, we have a very small set up as an NGO, this is a welcome relief to us."

Mauala says the unit will also strengthen his organisations work in tackling domestic violence.