Concerns over child left alone outside bar

Wednesday 14 April 2021 | Written by Alana Musselle | Published in Local, National


Concerns over child left alone outside bar

An organisation dedicated to keeping women and children safe, members of the public and police are concerned with an incident outside a bar in Avarua where a sleeping infant was left alone in a locked car.

On Saturday night a person walking past the car spotted the infant and raised the alarm. When the couple was found inside the bar, a woman said she needed to leave the child for just a short period of time to pick up her partner who was in the bar.   

Cook Islands News understands that while no charges were made in relation to the incident, a warning was issued. It was not clear for what length of time the infant was alone in the car.

The person who found the child was highly concerned, as were many members of the public who voiced their concerns over social media. They were upset over the way alcohol culture in the country often puts our children in dangerous and unsafe situations.

Police spokesperson Trevor Pitt said “clearly it’s not acceptable as there are risks that could result in tragedy”.

“But without these full explanations, people should refrain from being judgmental,” Pitt said.

Punanga Tauturu’s Rebeka Buchanan said she is very concerned with the incident and hopes the police will refer it to Internal Affairs “to be involved in the monitoring of this case and in further talking to the parents”.

Punanga Tauturu, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the elimination of abuse and violence against women and children, has dealt with similar instances in which individuals unable to protect themselves have been left alone in dangerous situations.

“Prevention is better than cure,” said Buchanan, highlighting the importance of awareness within the community of serious matters such as these.

“It is about having adults supervising their children, or ensuring that the children are with a responsible adult. These are common sense issues, and safety of your children must be the top priority.”