The Cook Islands Police Service marked White Ribbon Day in a collaborative effort with the Ministry of Internal Affairs (INTAFF) starting with a 7am Mass at the St Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral on Friday.
A simple ceremony in support of the international campaign to end violence against women followed at the National Headquarters in town.
Police and INTAFF engaged with the community to
highlight the awareness to end domestic violence providing free sausage
The White Ribbon Day and 16 days of Activism is an
international campaign to challenge and eliminate violence against women and
girls, said INTAFF’s Moana Manuela.
Every year the campaign runs from November 25 to
International Human Rights Day on December 10.
The theme for this year is “How can Men Change, Learn,
Give and Take Action” and the goal for this year is to involve as many men in
community groups or civil society, organisations/non-government organisations
and the private sector to work more collaboratively with Government agencies to
reduce and eliminate violence against women and girls.
Last month INTAFF conducted training workshops on
Family Protection and Support Act (FPSA) 2022 which included Police, Crown Law
Office, Ministry of Justice, Te Marae Ora, Corrective Services, Pa Enua police
officers and probation officers as well private sectors, civil society
organisation and non-government organisations.
The training was delivered by barrister Catherine
Evans, co-writer of the FSPA and Cook Islands Police Acts 2012, and amongst
other relevant pieces of legislations in relations to domestic violence.
Results from the 2014 Family Health and Safety Study
show that one in three women in the Cook Islands have experienced physical or
sexual violence by an intimate partner.
“To challenge violence against women and girls in the
Cook Islands; a focus on family positive messages will be supported in all
awareness raising activities during this period.
“The objectives of these activities are to provide an
avenue to highlight the dire need to have domestic violence statistics reduced,
to stop the cycle of abuse over generations, introduce a new generation of
survivors standing up for peace being educated in survival skills and being
very much aware of support services in the community,” said Manuela.
Promoting respectful relationships and gender equality
within the workplace to zero tolerance of violence against women and girls is
also a goal.
Te Marae Ora and civil society organisations or
non-government organisations have been recognised as the key to supporting
survivors and perpetrators to eliminate and reduce statistics through early intervention
and post intervention programmes.
“Family safety and
protection is paramount and this White Ribbon Awareness Campaign positively
steers us in the preventative direction,” said Manuela