Samoa

Population size: 

198,400 [1]

Number of people experiencing domestic abuse each year:

60% of women.[2] No research on male victims or other gender identities.

Cost of domestic abuse to the economy each year:

No research.

Estimated % change due to COVID-19:

No research but an increase reported in the press. [3]


Current law and policy:

In 2013 Samoan Legislators passed the Domestic Violence Bill/ Family Safety Act. In 2018 a national inquiry into family violence in samoa found that: “The Government’s lack of commitment and approach through inadequate allocation of resources, support and lack of coordination sends to people a message that gender inequality and family violence is acceptable.” The inquiry recognised the “cyclical” nature of the spread of domestic violence and abuse and recommended the adoption of a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach.

“The Domestic Violence Bill provides the means for a more effective response to domestic violence by providing a specific legal framework for addressing incidences of violence in the domestic arena in Samoa. The Act specifically outlines the procedures to apply for protection orders in the case of domestic violence. Section 15 specifically outlines the duties of police officers, namely that they must provide assistance as soon as possible and must not discriminate against applicants on the basis of sex, race, other status. The Domestic Violence Overview Report that informed the drafting of the bill emphasised the need for the legislation to be in line with the 2006 Convention on the Rights of the Child and CEDAW legislative compliance reviews given the available statistics pointing to the high violent crimes committed against women and children.”


In spite of this, domestic violence and abuse in the family against women, children and others remains rife. In 2018 a National Inquiry into Family Violence in Samoa found, inter alia, that “violence is affecting almost all families in Samoa”, with nine out of 10 respondents reporting abuse occurring regularly within the home. About 60% of women have experienced intimate partner violence, and 20% of women reported being raped, while cases of incest were around 10%.


 

Sources


[1] Worldometer, “Samoa Population (Live)”, (worldometers.info)

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/sep/03/family-abuse-epidemic-uncovered-in-samoa

[3] https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/415826/increase-in-family-violence-in-samoa-during-lockdown-says-ngo