20 Jan 2014

Child abuse law in American Samoa to be broadened

11:12 am on 20 January 2014

Lawmakers in American Samoa has approved legislation which further criminalises and expands the definition of child abuse.

The bill from the Lolo Administration also criminalises the act of child neglect and amends numerous sections of the current law.

The bill's approval came on Friday after the Senate endorsed the House version of the measure which was first introduced last September in the Fono.

Some senators say they are concered the bill will conflict with the rights of a parent to discipline a child.

The Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop says the bill does not prevent a parent from disciplining a child, but some parents have abused their children by tying them up and beating them with pieces of timber, as well as denying them food and water.

She says this goes further than just disciplining children and that is what the bill seeks to stop.