Chapter 08 - Prevention and Treatment of Domestic Violence

Chapter 08 - Prevention and Treatment of Domestic Violence

47.0801 Creation of an American Samoan advisory council on domestic and family violence - Purpose - Required report.


(a) There is hereby created the American Samoa advisory council on domestic and family violence.

(b) The purpose of the advisory council is to increase the awareness and understanding of domestic and family violence and its consequences and to reduce the incidence of domestic and family violence within the Territory by:

(1) Promoting effective strategies for identification of the existence of domestic or family violence and intervention by public and private agencies serving persons who are victims of domestic or family violence;

(3) Facilitating communication between public and private agencies that provide programs for victims of domestic and family violence and programs of intervention for perpetrators;

(4) Providing assistance to public and private agencies to develop statewide procedures and community education, including procedures for reviewing fatalities in local communities;

(5) Developing a comprehensive and coordinated plan of data collection concerning domestic and family violence for courts, prosecutors, law enforcement officers, health care practitioners, and other state agencies, in consultation with each other and in a manner that protects the identity of victims of domestic and family violence; and

(6) Promoting the organization of local councils on domestic and family violence and providing assistance and support to established local councils.

(c) The advisory council shall report to the Governor, the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate.

47.0802 Composition and qualification of members.


(a) The American Samoa advisory council on domestic and family violence consists of five members. The Governor shall appoint the members of the advisory council after consulting with public and private agencies that provide programs for victims of domestic or family violence, advocates for victims, and persons who have demonstrated expertise and experience in providing services to victims of domestic and family violence and their children.

(b) The membership of the advisory council must include as many relevant disciplines as practicable. The Governor shall appoint persons to the advisory council to provide significant representation by victims of domestic and family violence.

47.0803 Duties of Department of Public Health.


(a) The Department of Public Health shall make available to practitioners and health care facilities a written notice of the rights of victims and remedies and services available to victims of domestic or family violence in accordance with subsection(c).

(b) A practitioner who becomes aware that a patient is a victim of domestic or family violence shall provide to the patient and every health care facility shall make available to all patients the notice provided pursuant to subsection(a).

(c) The notice to victims of domestic or family violence must be substantially as follows:

"If you are the victim of domestic or family violence and you believe that law enforcement protection is needed for your physical safety, you have the right to request that an officer assist in providing for your safety, including asking for an emergency order for protection. You may also request that the officer assist you in obtaining your essential personal effects and locating and taking you to a safe place including but not limited to a designated meeting place for a shelter, a family member?s or a friend?s residence, or a similar place of safety. If you are in need of medical treatment, you have the right to request that the officer assist you in obtaining medical treatment. You may request a copy of the report at no cost from the law enforcement department. You may ask the prosecuting attorney to file a criminal complaint. You also have the right to file a petition in the High Court requesting an order for protection from domestic or family violence which could include any of the following orders:

(1) An order enjoining your abuser from threatening to commit or committing further acts of domestic or family violence;

(2) An order granting you possession and use of the automobile and other essential personal effects;

(3) An order granting you custody of your child or children;

(4) An order denying your abuser visitation;

(5) An order specifying arrangements for visitation, including requiring supervised visitation; and

(6) An order requiring your abuser to pay certain costs and fees, such as rent or mortgage payments, child support payments, medical expenses, expenses for shelter, court costs, and attorney?s fees.

The forms you need to obtain an order for protection are available from the Department f Human and Social Services or the Office of the Attorney General. The resources are available in this community for information relating to domestic and family violence, treatment of injuries, and places of safety and shelters. You also have the right to seek reimbursement for losses suffered as a result of the abuse, including medical and moving expenses, loss of earnings or support, and other expenses for injuries sustained and damage to your property. This can be done without an attorney in small claims court if the total amount claimed is less than $3,000".

(d) The written notice:

(1) Must not include the addresses of shelters, unless the location is public knowledge.

(2) Must be provided in Samoan and English or in the native language of the victim, if practicable.

47.0804 Duties of Department of Public Safety.


(a) The Department of Public Safety shall establish or make available:

(1) Programs of education and counseling for offenders who are also victims of domestic or family violence; and

(2) Programs of intervention for perpetrators convicted of crimes involving domestic or family violence.

(b) The Director shall adopt rules or regulations requiring initial training and continuing education for employees of the correctional institutions concerning domestic and family violence. A new employee must receive the initial training during the orientation of the employee to the institution.

(c) The Department of Public Safety shall develop or adopt and put into effect written policies and procedures concerning:

(1) The effective response to cases involving domestic and family violence.

(2) Enforcement of American Samoa statutes concerning domestic and family violence.

(3) Protection and safety of the victims of domestic violence and other family and household members.

(4) Coordination with hospitals and programs for victims of domestic or family violence.