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Cook Islands step up campaign to end violence against women

Saturday 26 November 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Court, Local, National

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Cook Islands step up campaign to end violence against women

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 sizzles.

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