Domestic disputes have been reported to Cook Islands Police nearly every weekend since the coronavirus constraints on movement were put in place.
Countries in tighter lockdown like France, Cyprus and Singapore have reported 30 per cent upsurges in domestic violence. Canada, Germany, the US and UK report increased demand for emergency shelters.
And the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre received more than 400 calls in the first two weeks of April.
Punanga Tauturu Inc counselling centre coordinator Rebeka Buchanan said the Covid-19 lockdown has been a challenging time, trying to quickly adapt to Ministry of Health rules.
The counselling service resorted to just emailing, online chat, and phone counselling to minimise direct contact.
The stress on people at this time was not just job losses or alcohol abuse, but a combination of things – worsened by behaviour children learned from their parents.
“The process actually started way before, in our childhood,” she said.
“Children will learn their type of behaviour from firstly the parents, caregivers, and those close to them. If adults shout, behave violently, exclude or discriminate, children will learn this type of behaviour.
“If adults treat others with kindness, respect and patience, children will follow their example. If mothers and fathers treat each other with love and respect, this is what their children will learn and most likely 'replay' in their adult relationships.”
She said the research on violence, especially domestic violence, revealed children learnt how males and females “ought” to behave. Some people didn’t know violence against women was a crime, others’ behaviour was exacerbated by alcohol.
“Given the fact that Covid-19 can have a huge impact on our people in the Cook Islands, it is necessary to have precautionary measures implemented everywhere including the bars, to remain vigilant.”