30 Mar 2009

Attitudes in Samoa over child abuse said to be changing

6:08 am on 30 March 2009

Organisations in Samoa who work with victims of sexual or physical abuse are applauding the chief judge of Samoa's Supreme court for speaking out over sex abuses cases.

Patu Falefatu Sapolu highlighted the increase of sex cases involving fathers and their daughters recently in the court.

He said the court would respond to such cases by imposing tougher jail terms.

The Chief Justice made the comments during the sentencing a man found guilty of raping his 14 year old step-daughter.

A lawyer and member of the anti-violence group, Mapusaga o Aiga, Maiava Visekota Peteru, says people are now more aware of these crimes than in the past.

Maiava also says the attitude that was held before that you should maintain the family dignity and the family name has changed.

"People are much more aware that it is illegal to act in this manner and that even if it affects someone in your family that they should be brought before the law."