The Advocacy Program coordinated by the Samoa Victim Support Group (SVSG) for offenders of violence referred from the Family Court, is highlighted at the Pacific Regional Dialogue on Engaging Men to End Violence Against Women & Girls, in Sigatoka Fiji from 16th – 20thSeptember 2019.
Coordinated by the UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office and the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, the Dialogue provides for the first time in the Pacific, a forum whereby perpetrator counselling programme experts joined the Pacific partners to share on international best practice.
SVSG’s Advocacy Program complements the operation of the Family Court in Samoa where offenders are referred to SVSG for anger management counselling rather than their separation from their families if they were imprisoned. It has not been an easy path to take to end violence against women through the perpetrators themselves. This is because counselling has been viewed by our people as a foreign concept, hence getting the offenders to openly discuss anger in a safe space took a lot of courage. But five years now since SVSG paved the way for anger management programs for the Family Court, we have changed behavior, changed mentality and changed social norms with perpetrators of violence now becoming men of change to end violene against women and girls.
SVSG is represented at the Pacific Dialogue by one of its Men of Change advocates, Mane Su’a, who had just returned over the weekend from attending the train the trainers program in Sri Lanka for the Breaking the Cycle: Men and Boys Engage Program to End Violence Against Women & Children, in which SVSG works in partnership with Spain, Sri Lanka, India, Netherlands, Madagascar. According to the Chair of the SVSG Board Mrs. Georgina Lui, “all of these work is to ensure that our families and our communities are safe.”