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23 March 2015

Samoa has taken the lead in the establishment of a pioneering project in the region addressing the reintegration of criminal deportees or ‘returnees’ from New Zealand, Australia and the United States of America.

The Samoa Returnees Charitable Trust (SRCT) operates on the premise that returnees are free citizens who deserve equal rights and a decent quality of life through secure livelihoods, access to basic services and freedom from discrimination.

Working towards that goal, this morning the Returnees Trust officially launched the ‘Safe Man Safe Family-Samoa’ pilot programme at Mulinuu, with support from the Ministry of Justice.

The week-long pilot programme, with the theme “Challenge Family Violence”, will take the form of a series of counseling workshops, coordinated by the Returnees Trust and the Safe Men Safe Family Champions of New Zealand.

‘Safe Man Safe Family’ encourages commitment to counseling and creates awareness of unacceptable behaviours while providing the necessary skills to prevent crime through education, especially for fathers, brothers and young men who are the main perpetrators of violence.

The launch was blessed by Samoa National Council of Churches Secretary and Chairman of SRCT Reverend Maauga Motu and Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, who is also the Patron of SRCT, delivered the keynote address and officially launched the program.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the financial assistance from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“Thank you for identifying the Trust as the beneficiary of your mission funding as well as recognizing the value of our proactive approach to providing mechanisms to increasing community safety through crime preventive programs,” said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister also added that community safety has always been Samoa’s priority and these particular programs are part and parcel of the Returnees rehabilitation and resettlement back into the mainstream and traditional society.

The Samoa Returnees Trust is recognized across the Pacific as a template and the only operational service in Australasia with respect to this kind of involvement

 Photo Caption: From left –  Samoa National Council of Churches Secretary and Chairman of SRCT, Reverend Maauga Motu; SRCT Adviser for the Board, Vaaimalo Ben Toilolo; UNESCO Director in APIA, Mr Etienne Clement; Director of SRCT, Vernon J. Mackenzie; Honourable Prime Minister, Susuga Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and Training Facilitator from New Zealand Safe Men Safe Family, Alaimalo Lua Maynard.

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