Christian faith and family violence: a report for Samoan communities in New Zealand

Family violence Christianity Religion Samoan people New Zealand Samoa
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Domestic violence is a serious social problem in Samoan communities. Some studies have suggested that nearly half of Samoan women have been subject to abuse by intimate partners or parents. The increase in cases of domestic violence in Samoa and the diaspora is slowly raising the public’s awareness of its impacts on the victims, who are overwhelmingly women and children. Because it is such a serious and growing social problem, it is a priority for theological reflection. Several unique cultural factors impinge on such reflection. On the one hand, 99.7% of Samoa’s population belong to a church; Samoa’s cultural values have over time become grounded in the Christian faith; those who assume leadership roles on both local and national levels are also leaders in the church and vice versa; and Samoa’s constitution is ostensibly based on Christian principles. Yet the irony is that it is in this overtly Christian context that domestic violence proliferates.

This project by Dr. Mercy Ah Siu-Maliko makes available a set of web-based resources which address the problem of domestic violence in Samoa, and explore a constructive Christian response based on Samoan cultural values. We hope the resources will be of use to church members in Samoa (laity and clergy), and member of Samoan churches in Aotearoa New Zealand. In addition, we hope that the resources will be of interest to a wider Pacific constituency, in New Zealand and in Pacific Islands, and to other churches and agencies working on domestic violence.

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