Domestic violence on the increase, Younger couples concern counsellors

Thursday February 16, 2017 Written by Published in Crime
Domestic violence on the increase, Younger couples concern counsellors

There has been rise in the number of younger Rarotonga couples suffering domestic violence problems over the last two years.

Punanga Tauturu (PTI) coordinator Rebeka Buchanan says the rise has been recorded among couples aged from 22 to 35. 

And she is eager to gain an insight into what exactly is contributing to domestic violence problems in the younger age groups.

“My theory is that our coping mechanisms have become less tolerant. But other contributing factors could be drugs, water pollution and chemicals, and we still need more investigation and research.”

Over the 2016-2017 year there has also been a rise in the number of people seeking counselling at Punanga Tauturu.

And while much has been said about alcohol as a strong factor in domestic violence, Buchanan says it is a contributing factor, but not a major one.

“Some cases happen without the alcohol.”    

Buchanan said power and control were major contributing factors to domestic violence. 

“There is a lot of anger associated with these factors: historical anger at things from the past, people who are unhappy, sexual violence inflicted on one from a young age…all these can trigger emotions.

“These emotions are real and are overwhelming for someone who has had no counselling on how to deal with them or has no positive outlet (for their feelings).” Alcohol empowered a person’s emotions for a short time and made them feel in control. But sadly, it was their loved ones who were exposed to the resulting emotional abuse and anger, Buchanan said.

When dealing with domestic violence matters, the High Court did its best to make decisions based on the information disclosed to them.

“If sentencing is just based on the law, then it should be a straightforward judgment of guilty if a law has been broken. But with domestic violence, there are a number of social factors at play. 

“And we must also understand that the Justices of Peace are not lawyers.

“JPs have to try to understand the information presented in court, such as the high risk factors involved, the frequency of the assaults, and which family members are being affected.

There were many areas of concern involved in formulating a court judgment and in imposing various types of conditions, such as community services and counseling, Buchanan said.

“Counselling provides a monitoring tool for couples to work on issues that are causing major relationship problems, to avoid future problems and worse - appearing in court again.

“But I can say there has been a great improvement in passing down judgments since even five years ago.”         - LL

1 comment

  • Comment Link Rima Williams Thursday, 16 February 2017 14:47 posted by Rima Williams

    These offenders need Living without violence program. Our people are ignorant and continuing doing the only way they know how. Ask us for help and support.

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