Domestic violence soars

Friday October 20, 2017 Written by Published in Crime

Domestic violence in the Cook Islands is following the same trend as youth offending and has reached an all-time high.

 

Cook Islands Police Service recently issued a statement showing the domestic violence incidents in September were three times higher than in August.

Cook Islands Police Service media liaison officer Trevor Pitt said 19 incidents were reported to police last month- a major increase on the six reported in August.

“Police officers are responding to far too many incidents of domestic violence - a wide range of disputes between couples and families that almost always involve alcohol,” he said.

Despite police attempts to educate people on the effects of alcohol abuse and violence against women, several incidents were occurring every week, Pitt said.

“The more serious incidents involve physical assault and this month is also looking bad, especially for women suffering at the hands of violent partners.”

A woman’s screams were heard by frightened and concerned neighbours in Tupapa on Sunday night, resulting in calls to police.

Officers called to the scene found the woman had been assaulted by her partner. The man was arrested and spent the night in police holding cells. 

Pitt said the man, a Samoan national, appeared in the Avarua criminal court yesterday, where he was charged with assault with intent to injure. No plea was entered and the defendant was bailed and will reappear in court next month.

“Last week, another man was arrested after police were called to assist an Avatiu woman.

“She reported her partner was intoxicated and was threatening her with a hammer.

“When police arrived, they found he had fled the scene but caught up with the man and he was arrested and placed in the lock-up, and charged with assault on a female,” Pitt said.

Police have said that alcohol is a major concern and a contributing factor in most domestic violence incidents and have asked for the community’s help in addressing the issue.

“Domestic violence needs to be overcome by the whole community and victims need the collective support of everyone, not just the police service.” Pitt said.

He said there were procedures in place to protect victims and deter defendants from re-offending.

“The Cook Islands police have “a no drop” policy when bringing (these) matters before the court,” Pitt said.

This meant that victims or complainants were unable to withdraw a domestic violence charge once it was laid and the perpetrator had to undergo counselling, he said.

“The justice system and legal measures must also play a determining role in helping to change the cultural mindsets of offenders, and the general public.”        

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