Violent crime cases have been appearing more frequently in court recently, with 15 out of 60 cases currently before the courts being violent crime against women.
Senior Justice of the Peace John Kenning commented to the High Court on Thursday that the amount of aggression cases appearing is concerning.
“Most people would say burglary is the most common crime here, but that is on tourists. One third of the cases I have before me are violent crime, and most of them are against women” said Kenning, “We have got to start looking after ourselves.”
He said of 20 violent crime cases in court, 14 were for assault on a female, five were common assault and one rape.
In sentencing those men who appeared in court charged with assault on a female, he said his “line in the sand” is placing them on a 12 month probation term, because, not only does it allow the state to monitor the offender, but also takes away one of the true perpetrators of violent crime: Alcohol.
Kennings’ comments come at the same time as a recent Family Health and Safety Study being released to the public by the Ministry of Health indicating that a quarter of Cook Islands women are affected by physical violence, and that alcohol is an undeniable factor in violent crime.
Recommendations to outcomes in the report included focusing on working with men to change their attitudes and behaviour; strengthening and expanding all support systems for women living with violence; helping our people, especially our youth, to understand the long term commitments interpersonal relationships entail, amongst others.