23 Mar 2015

Cooks bill to modernise domestic violence law

6:51 am on 23 March 2015

The Cook Islands could see a radical change in the way domestic violence is dealt with if the Family Law Bill is passed in Parliament.

Dancers in the Cook Islands

Dancers in the Cook Islands Photo: RNZI / Megan Whelan

The Cook Islands News reports statistics show one in three Cook Island women from the age of 15 to 64 have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

The new bill aims to modernise family law in the areas of divorce, domestic and child support, parenting arrangements and the care and protection of children.

Changes would include the ability for the government to apply to the court for an order to place a child in their care if they believed that a child was, or was likely to be, in need of protection from an abusive home.

It would also enable the government to call a family meeting about a child, to give members the opportunity to determine whether a child was in need of care and protection.

The law would also allow anyone experiencing domestic abuse to apply for protection orders.