Child Protection Measures for Victims of Sexual Violence being Addressed by SVSG and UNICEF

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    The main topic on the Agenda during the meeting between the Samoa Victim Support Group and the UNICEF Pacific delegation from the the Pacific Multi Country Office Suva, was the progress being made on addressing child protection issues in Samoa.

    Violence against children, the support services in place to cater for the abused children, the community prevention approach to address the issue as well as the existing child protection systems were the critical issues during a very informative and collaborative Talanoa session by the two agencies.

    But while progress being made on raising awareness and improving understanding by the community on violence against children in Samoa were applauded, challenges and gaps in the system to facilitate the services and support for abused children to achieve justice, were also noted.

    For instance, the abused children at the Campus of Hope still have to sit in line like everyone else at the National Hospitals when they are referred for medical check ups. This includes the young pregnant sexual abuse victims, when attending to their check ups. The survivor-centred support alluded to in various standing operating procedures look pretty much on paper, yet not practiced.

    As such, it was encouraging for SVSG to have the opportunity to discuss the progress and the challenges with the UNICEF Pacific delegation on their visit to Samoa.

    There are close to 100 children ages 4 months to 18+ cared for by SVSG at the Campus of Hope shelter facility. They came under SVSG’s shelter care due to a variety of child protection issues affecting their lives as one of the most vulnerable groups in Samoa.

    A take home

    It was a privilege for SVSG to discuss child protection progress and challenges as a child protection agency in Samoa, with the UNICEF Pacific delegation from Suva today.

    The meeting was held at the Campus of Hope shelter facility for abused children in Samoa.

    Some of the parents who participated in the Positive Discipline Parenting program by SVSG, in partnership with the UNICEF Pacific, were also visited by the delegation, which includes Mr. Michael Copland, Chief of Child Protection, UNICEF Pacific; Mr. Diego López, Emergency Specialist at UNICEF Pacific and Ms. Talei Cama, Acting Chief of Field Office