20 Oct 2008

Calls in the Cook Islands for more help for victims of sexual abuse

5:54 am on 20 October 2008

There are calls in the Cook Islands for more to be done to help the victims and families of domestic and sexual abuse.

An average of eight child sex abuse cases are reported in the Cook Islands each year.

But Punanga Tauturu Inc or PTI, an ngo working with victims and families of domestic and sexual abuse, believes that 50 percent of cases go unreported to police.

The manager of the PTI, Kairangi Samuela, says delays in the court system and pressure from the family members are just some of the reasons why victims do not go to the police.

She also says the government needs to bring in legislation that helps the victims of violence in the long term.

"There is a lack of support and concrete policy procedure in place with government that effectively addresses victim support and there is a lot of reliance on the community and related ngos to provide support. There is still a lot of focus on the perpetrator, an assumption that when we punish the perpetrator, everything will be ok and the victim is satisfied (but) you know there is no follow on support from there and how do we carry on supporting the victim."

Kairangi Samuela says they are currently working with the government to address these issues.