Samoa Victim Support Group Works with Police on Sexual Abuse Cases

Radio New Zealand

August 27, 2008

Samoa’s Victim Support Group says a large proportion of people seeking their help are victims of sexual abuse or rape.

The group want police to investigate the alleged rape of a woman by a church minister earlier this month, the second incident involving a church minister in weeks.

The group’s spokesperson Iosefa Tautua says about 90-percent of referrals are females aged between 3 years and 40 years, and a collective effort is needed.

“We are working closely with police, very closely with police of Samoa, and that is very good. And also with the Attorney General office - we work together with those people. And there’s a lot of domestic violence and sexual abuse like rape or attempted rape. All sorts of sexual abuse situations. There’s a lot in Samoa and we are dealing with those things.”

Iosefa Tautua says volunteers, who stem from all sectors of society, are sworn to secrecy to ensure client confidentiality.

Meanwhile, police in Samoa have charged a 59-year-old Church of Christ pastor, Joe Hansel, with one count of attempting to rape a young woman who is a church member.

The police acted following a call from the Victim Support Group after the victim had sought its assistance.

The assistant police commissioner and spokesman, Papalii Li’o, says the accused is in custody to await the outcome of investigation with the possibility of facing further criminal charges.


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