The Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu, opened a three-day “Empowering the Family Unit to Stop Violence” conference at Hotel Tanoa Tusitala yesterday.
The training is being driven by a partnership between the Youth and Family Violence Court and U.N.I.C.E.F. in a bid to curb the growing number of violent incidents involving youths.
“This conference is not only to inform the participants of the Samoa Youth Court and Family Violence Court in addressing the problem of violence, in particular violence related criminal offenses, but more importantly to provide a forum that deals with issues that so often arise before those Courts,” he said.
“It is my hope, from the discussion and exchange of views, solutions will be identified to combat the causes of criminal cases particularly violence related offenses that these Courts have to deal with.”
His Honour Patu also called for a community approach to addressing violence.
He said the notion that it is only for the Police and the Court to deal with crimes committed in society is wrong. He said everyone has a responsibility to address them.
“A start has to be made by someone at some point and with respect I think this conference is a good way to begin.”
The conference hopes to identify preventative measures and post court strategies that can be used by the Courts and other relevant stakeholders to combat youth related violence.
The gathering has been prompted by the increasing number of matters heard by the Youth Court and Family Violence Court.
“The aim is that the Court will work with all stakeholders to curb violence and to raise public awareness of the adverse effects and impacts of violence on youth and family unit.
Among the speakers yesterday was Judge Fepulea’i Ameperosa Roma, Justice Vui Clarence Nelson and U.N.I.C.E.F. Child Protection Officer, Tupepepa Aumua, Police Commissioner Fuiava Egon Keil, Attorney General Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff and others.
The meeting is supported by M.J.C.A, U.N.I.C.E.F., U.N. Women, D.F.A.T. and the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development.
The conference continues today.