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Counselling services offer their support

Monday 22 May 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Local, National


Counselling services offer  their support
Te Punanga Ora’anga Matutu’s (Te POM) coordinator Daryl Gregory. Picture:23011208 / LOSIRENE LACANIVALU

Cook Islands counselling services are offering support for initial assessment of victims and offenders in domestic violence matters.

Te Punanga Ora’anga Matutu (Te POM) coordinator Daryl Gregory believes that the Courts must give counselling services a chance to conduct the initial assessment of offenders and victims of domestic violence matters.

Punanga Tauturu Inc coordinator Rebeka Buchanan shared similar sentiments saying prison does not do much for offenders in such matters.

The coordinator’s comments come in regards to the recent sentencing of a father who was convicted for assaulting a female for the second time.

The man was warned by the court that if he appeared on a similar charge again, he would be facing a prison sentence.

He was then sentenced to 12 months’ probation supervision with the first three months for community services.

Gregory said: “I think they (the court) need to also give us the chance to do the initial assessment of the person, come up with a plan for them.”

He said at the moment they have to wait for Probation Services for a report adding sometimes probation might not refer the person to them.

“That could take months and then everything settles down. I think the court should refer them directly to us, so we can do the initial counselling and do a proper assessment.”

Gregory also said the laws that revolved around domestic violence needed to change as well.

He added that some men are shy to come forward for counselling while some are not interested “and don’t find it a big deal”.

Gregory said domestic violence is a community issue and everyone needed to work together.

Buchanan says prison doesn’t really give anything or help inmates who are sentenced in domestic violence matters.

She said it was only through counselling that the true colours of offenders are revealed and the reasons behind their behaviour is explained.

“It is important that they are referred to us for counselling.”