Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 

Family violence in the Pacific

Monday, 13 November 2017

First national inquiry breaks the silence around family violence in the Pacific

A leading Pacific academic says knowledge of family violence in Samoa is limited to physical abuse. And, the concept of ‘grooming’ is barely understood or recognised.

Tagaloatele Professor Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) is one of four commissioners appointed to oversee Samoa’s national inquiry into family violence.

Led by Samoa’s ombudsman, Maiava Iulai Toma, the inquiry involved six months of community-based research. It recently concluded with four weeks of public hearings in Savaii and Upolu.

The first national inquiry into family violence in the Pacific Islands comes in the wake of several high-profile cases and national reports from donor agencies on family violence in Samoa, including strong international pressure to resolve widespread human rights issues.

In addition to submissions from government, NGOs and community groups, the inquiry heard testimonies from survivors and perpetrators of family violence.

Professor Fairbairn-Dunlop noted that around 80 percent of the dialogue shared in the hearings focused on physical abuse.

“There is less understanding of verbal abuse, which is fairly prominent, or sexual and psychological abuse. These is also less understanding of the full impact of family violence on children,” she says.

The importance of the inquiry was evidenced by the number of submissions received, particularly the personal accounts of sexual abuse and incest shared in both open and closed hearings.

“The hearings were clearly regarded as safe places for sharing. Many things, which were never talked about in the past, are now in the public domain.”

The available data indicates that violence against women, girls and children has become endemic and widespread in Samoa, as in other Pacific nations.

Of those surveyed for the State of Human Rights Report 2015, 39 percent had seen abuse against women and girls, and 34 percent had seen abuse against a child. All of the incidents took place in their respective villages within the previous year.

Professor Fairbairn-Dunlop maintains that economic development models, which have become the primary focus for the Pacific region in recent years, do not always recognise the value of people and their wellbeing. As a result, social concerns have increasingly become the domain of NGOs.

The commissioners are drafting a national report to be lodged with cabinet in early 2018.

Family violence is a national concern to be solved not only by government and families, but in collaboration with village councils, churches and community groups.

This will require a coordinated effort at all levels to raise awareness of related issues, change community norms around violence and increase the status of women in society.

“Everyone and every child has a right to feel safe and protected,” says Professor Fairbairn-Dunlop.

“If we really value the place of the family unit and the faasamoa (the Samoan way), then we need to work together to eliminate family violence. It is timely for Samoa to rethink and to relearn the traditional family values.”

[ENDS]

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'


The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>


Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>


Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>


Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland