Our children in danger

Thursday July 02, 2020 Written by Published in Local

Minister asks: We are a Christian nation, so why do our children suffer such violence? 

Children are the group most at risk of having their rights violated in Cook Islands, an international watchdog says.

The Human Rights Measurement Initiative, which tracks the human rights performance for more than 200 countries, says children are more vulnerable to violence here than in most other Pacific countries.

Other vulnerable groups include LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, and women.

Rebeka Buchanan is the coordinator of the Punanga Tauturu counselling group, working to protect women and children. She confirmed the report’s findings.

Policies to reduce violence were not effectively implemented, she said.

“We are aware of violence against these group of people and we are also aware there might be cases where such violence is not reported.

“We need to raise awareness to ensure people from these vulnerable groups know their rights.”

Internal Affairs Minister Vaine Mokoroa agreed not all cases were reported to police, especially violence against children, the disabled and the elderly.

“I do agree that the picture is painting a grim reflection of how unsafe or less safe are these groups in the Cook Islands especially the data on our children.

Mokoroa urged caution around reading too much into the data.

“But straightaway, one can see that this graph is saying that the Cook Islands children are more highly prone to be abused and or assaulted, whether minor, grievous or fatal – this is what this picture is painting for us,” Mokoroa said.

“Even persons with disabilities as well as women and/or girls are also shown to be less safe as well.”

Danny Tixier, manager of the Creative Centre, said people with disability were more likely to be subjected to physical and other abuse.

“I think people with disability are the most vulnerable group because first they cannot defend themselves, secondly they don’t have the intellect to know what is going wrong, and thirdly they may be physically unable to stop the harm and such abuses to them,” Tixier said.

He said there was not enough support for people from these vulnerable groups to report such matters and seek refuge.

According to the statistics, the LGBTQI community is less vulnerable to violence in the Cook Islands.

But Te Tiare Association’s Valentino Wichman says violence against their community is always a concern for them as it should be for the rest of the nation.

“Anecdotally I agree with the report (statistics). However it will be good to get the latest official data on domestic violence rates in the country for our community to verify the reports results,” Wichman said.

“Te Tiare has always talked about respecting each other and being kind and loving. We do not condone domestic violence in any way or form.”

Minister Mokoroa said there are several factors that could be the contributing to these scores complied by Human Rights Measurement Initiative. “Perhaps culture would be one of those. Our social-economic status could also be a contributing factor.

“Our country is highly recognised as having a strong Christian base faith. The question then arises whether our Christian learning has some bearing on promoting a peaceful, happy family within the community”.

4 comments

  • Comment Link Tu Edwards Sunday, 05 July 2020 09:38 posted by Tu Edwards

    I'd say that getting the latest data on what's happening in our country would be the best way to analyze the situation on these issues. I do feel that most of our communities are practicing the "Love" however those ignorant few out there who thinks they're "The Man" after getting bulked up on alcohol or drugs needs to be educated on this issue.

  • Comment Link The One Friday, 03 July 2020 06:31 posted by The One

    The simple answer is Christianity was bought to our nation by Europeans it does not belong to our nation and its has got nothing to do with our way of life or even to do with our culture.Our way of life was with our Ancestors Somehow our ancestors was brainwashed by Europeans thats how Christianity became into existence in our nation in the 1800 by the 1820 it became established and commercialized and to this day its one of the worlds money making business. Thats why theirs violence in our nation because we are living the European way of life.

  • Comment Link Debi Futter-Puati Thursday, 02 July 2020 22:34 posted by Debi Futter-Puati

    Can I remind people that the 2009 Akavaine and MSM SGS report showed that 46% of 15-24 year olds had experienced sexual violence in the previous 6 months to the survey!? That’s HALF of that community who had been violated. Alongside 2012 SGS Youth survey indicating a quarter of our youth have been sexually abused... boys and girls.. Oh and then the Te ATA o Te Ngakau: Shadows of the Heart Family Health Study (2014) showed that almost half of all women in the southern group had experienced physical, or sexual partner violence.. What a sad indictment for the Cook Islands.

  • Comment Link Tangi Crummer-Adams Thursday, 02 July 2020 20:52 posted by Tangi Crummer-Adams

    These findings are dated, the research was posted a few years ago.

    Numbers in the Pacific exceed 1million. This is a terrible indictment of a supposed to be Christian country.

    Corporal / violence is viewed as a given, this mindset must be changed.
    Religious leaders should highlight such changes from their pulpits and every opportunity offered them.

    Our Lord and Saviour showed that we must love and care for all our family members, respect and guide them back to Him. Violence was not an option by our Lord and Saviour.

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