Violence against children (VAC) remains one of the major issues in Samoa, with 40% of the cases lodged with the Samoa Victim Support Group over the last 5 years, involving children who have experienced violent discipline in their homes. This is perpetuated by parents and caregivers thinking that physical punishment is necessary to raise or discipline their children.
These alarming figures concerning children in Samoa convinced SVSG to propose a holistic community preventive and child protection programme to UNICEF. The program is two-fold; first it targets parents and caregivers to have increased knowledge and skills to eliminate harmful practices; and secondly, it teaches adolescents life skills to better protect them from violence and abuse.
SVSG had developed learning modules for parents and caregivers on ‘Positive Discipline Parenting’ as well as ‘Life Skills for Adolescents’ based on resources from the UNICEF Creating Connections and Save the Children, contextualized to fit the Samoan context.
During this week, SVSG had started work with one out of the seven (7) focused communities selected for this program (6 in Upolu and 1 in Savaii).
At the Assembly of God Church Fasitoo-uta, parents and adolescents were introduced to their respective learning program over the next 2 years. Accountability measures have been put in place to assess any changes in knowledge, attitude & behavior, and practice for the parents with their positive disciplining skills; and for the adolescents towards learning life skills to better protct them from violence and abuse.
The SVSG village representatives at Fasitoo-uta have been tasked with mobilizing the most suitable parents and adolescents to benefit from this program. Thank you Aeimanū Tinetali Talavave, Leaupepe Amosa, Lolotauama Eseta and Akenese Matavao for the important role that you continued to play in achieving objectives of the relevant SVSG programs at Fasitoo-uta.
UNICEF Pacific and SVSG have been collaborating for child protection in Samoa since 2015. A collaboration that is vital in ensuring quality services for children in need of care and protection.
“Thank you to the UNICEF Pacific team in Suva as well as your local counterpart, for supporting SVSG in taking ownership of this primary prevention program in our community.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President.