10 May 2006

Cook Islands Women's group questions police inaction over alleged sexual abuse cases

1:31 pm on 10 May 2006

A Cook Islands group is again questioning why there's been no progress in police investigations into the alleged sexual abuse of two girls.

In one of the cases, the police obtained a statement last year from the alleged culprit on the island of Palmerston, admitting that he raped the then eight year old girl, but despite the length of time that's passed, there's not been an arrest.

Angie Tuara, who's the president of the Womens counselling centre, known as Punanga Tauturu, says the lack of progress is extremely concerning, especially when they've already raised concerns with the police.

Ms Tuara says she is speaking out because the alleged abuser has returned to Palmerston.

"He left the island after what he'd done and now we're told he's gone back on the island and the victim is still there, and it's such a small island with a very small population. Really hard to comprehend how they can avoid each other. So, that's a real concern and given that this is a young child, it just sounds even worse for us."

Ms Tuara says they have concerns about another case on Rarotonga because the police haven't confirmed whether the allegations are true or not.

The deputy police commissioner, Ma'ara Tetava, says he's yet to be briefed on the cases so could not comment at this point.