26 Jun 2014

Kiribati police chief wants cultural change

4:19 pm on 26 June 2014

The police commissioner of Kiribati says the country needs cultural change rather than legislation to stop high rates of violence against women in the country.

Ioeru Tokantetaake's comments follows a spate of violent attacks in the past six months, with five women allegedly killed by their partner or former partner.

In a statement, Mr Tokantetaake says there are limits to what the law can do and he doubts a new bill that targets domestic violence can help.

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Photo: RNZ

"I personally think the Family Peace Act can do very little but the people themselves need cultural change and that cannot happen overnight. It may take 50 to 100 years. The Kiribati culture that people were brought up in and taught to strictly observe is the norm that women are generally expected to behave - with limited rights."

Ioeru Tokantetaake says the police cannot be everywhere to prevent or stop violence.

But he says Kiribati police are moving towards a more community-minded approach and that includes providing community education programmes, which mainly focus on the rights of women and children.