25 Mar 2015

New Cooks bill will recognise domestic violence

11:59 am on 25 March 2015

An advocate for the new Family Law Bill in the Cook Islands says the legislation, which recognises domestic violence, is much needed.

A family health survey done last year by the UN and the Ministry of Health showed one in three Cook Islands women, aged from 15 to 64, had experienced physical or sexual violence.

Kairangi Samuela was with the Punanga Tauturu Counselling Centre which had pushed for a law change.

She says domestic violence incidents are currently treated as assault.

The biggest thing for us was the domestic violence provision. There was no domestic violence provision recognised under the Crime's Act or anywhere else. So that was a big issue for us was to get domestic violence recognised under law somewhere.

The secretary of internal affairs, Bredina Drollet, says the bill would now allow for more than just physical abuse to be prosecuted.

Cook Islands Parliament

Cook Islands Parliament Photo: Supplied