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Reported domestic ‘violent’ incidents on the rise: Police

Monday 23 January 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Crime, National

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Reported domestic ‘violent’ incidents on the rise: Police
Te Punanga Ora’anga Matutu’s (Te POM) coordinator Daryl Gregory. Picture:23011208 / LOSIRENE LACANIVALU

The number of reported incidents of domestic violence were lower in 2022 than the previous two years, says Cook Islands Police.

Police recorded 281 complaints classified as domestic violence in 2022.

Despite the number being lower than 2020 and 2021, Police said they were significantly high enough to remain an ongoing concern.

According to police, the actual number of violent incidents was 74 – over 26 per cent of the total complaints – involving physical contact or assaults.

In comparison, in the year 2020 and 2021, the two Covid-19 pandemic years, reflected an overall increase in domestic violence incidents.

However those of a violent nature were of a smaller share of the total.

Police said: “For example, in 2021, 24 per cent of the reported 344 incidents were classified as violent. And in 2020, 23 per cent of the reported 318 incidents involved physical violence.”

Police said reported domestic incidents cover a range of relationship disputes and conflicts, which are mostly non-violent.

Those of a more physical nature vary from 10-30 per cent of the monthly incidents. Despite this smaller portion, it is the consistent level of domestic cases that are a concern, police say.

Police respond to all complaints of domestic violence although a majority of these disputes are not pursued through to prosecution, and conviction, due to various reasons.

The incidents can be complex with multiple triggers and causes, including alcohol, financial problems, relationship jealousy, and land and property arguments, police add.

Police say despite the efforts behind awareness campaigns, violence in and around the home environment continues to occupy a priority. Police Service is assisted by other stakeholder agencies, including the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Te Marae Ora.

Daryl Gregory, the coordinator of the men’s counselling service – Te Punanga Ora’anga Matutu’s (Te POM) – in an earlier interview said police were attending the call outs but there needed to be therapeutic intervention.

“We need to reassess and teach the value of women and children in our community, and discuss how we value women.”

He said many blamed alcohol, “but alcohol is not the cause because most men go home drunk but they don’t cause problems”.

“The person committing the violence has a problem, they have to take personal responsibility, and they can’t say ‘oh I was drunk’.”

He said those with this problem needed to build an attitude such as: “When I am drunk, I am unsafe and when I am unsafe, I need to make sure my family is safe.”

“You may say alcohol is the problem, but it’s not. Until we accept personal responsibility for our behaviours, we cannot blame something else,” he said.

Gregory said people needed to change their perception and look at the values they live by and ask: “How does my family know I love them? How do I show them? How do I speak to my partner and children?”

“We need to teach, educate, and train our young people about relationships, what the foundations of a good relationship are, and how our faith plays a part in this. What is God saying to me?

“I go to church on Sunday and Praise the Lord and on Monday I beat my wife up. How does that work?” he questioned,

He added these things needed to be looked at, adding they are developing a programme to educate people and get the community to start talking.

For men’s counselling service visit their website at www.tepom.co.ck or phone 74811.

  • Additional reporting Police Media

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