10 May 2006

Cook Islands police alleged to be too slow over sexual abuse cases

3:23 pm on 10 May 2006

The Cook Islands Women Counselling Centre says police are too slow to bring charges in sexual abuse cases.

The president of Punanga Tauturu, Angie Tuara, says they're raising concerns again because there's been no arrest in a case on Palmerston where the alleged offender admitted last year in a police statement that he had raped a then eight year old girl.

She says the man subsequently left the island but they've heard he's since returned and this causes issues in such a small place, because there's every chance the two will cross paths.

Ms Tuara says they don't know whether there's a lack of skills in police officers or it's an administrative problem but she believes there needs to be change.

"Although we'd like to say that we have a good working relationship with the police, it seems like if it's a sexually related case, we don't move very fast in these particular areas. If it's like criminal, now that offence would move faster in terms of progressing to court."

Ms Tuara says the police have also not confirmed whether allegations about another case on Rarotonga are true or not.