Children, besides women and people with disabilities, are amongst the most vulnerable impacted by gender based violence during the COVID-19 crisis, according to cases lodged with Samoa Victim Support Group over the last four months.
The children are either directly affected through physical, verbal, emotional or sexual abuse, abandonement, starvation; or indirectly, as they witnessed violence between their parents in the home.
However, children are also the most resilience, and have become the voices for their abused parents during this time. The Help Line is giving the children and the most vulnerable, access to support any time.
The children called when they have been abused, when their parents are fighting, even when they have no food. They are also the first ones that greeted the Response Team when we visit the families to evacuate an abused victim or to deliver welfare relief packages.
And SVSG’s ability to deliver prompt responsive services such as victim evacuation, referral to hospital or to the police for severe cases, counselling or shelter, have been well supported during this time of COVID.
Besides the relief packages distributed to the families impacted greatly by socio-economic challenges of the COVID, counselling sessions are also offered for walk in clients and through the Help Line.
Roadside signboards bearing the Help Line 800-7874 raises awareness on the accessibility of support 24 hours a day.
“Thanks to the partnership with the Canadian government through the Canada Fund for Local Initiative, SVSG has been able to scale up its gender-based violence responsive services during this time, especially for the abused children.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President