Committee on the Rights of the Child: Cook Islands

Session 059 (2012)

(21 February 2012, CRC/C/COK/CO/1, Concluding observations on initial report, paras. 35 and 36)

"The Committee notes the legal review undertaken by the State party of the Education Act that aims at banning all forms of corporal punishment in schools. The Committee also notes with appreciation the State party’s efforts to combat domestic violence, including through the legal review of the Crimes Act and Family law Bill that, among others, aim to provide wider protection for child victims of domestic violence. However, the Committee expresses its concern about:

a) the prevalence of violence against children including corporal punishment used in all settings and especially in the home, where it remains lawful;

b) the fact that cases of domestic violence against children do not receive the adequate treatment from the police;

c) the fact that child victims of violence are not aware of reporting procedures and thus many such cases go unreported.

"Recalling its general comments Nos. 8 (2006) on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment and 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, the Committee recommends that the State party:

a) prohibit corporal punishment in all settings including in the family, schools and in institutions for children; in this regard the State party is urged to accelerate the adoption of the Education Amendment Bill;

b) introduce public education, on the harmful effects of corporal punishment, with a view to changing the general attitude towards this practice, and promote positive, non-violent, participatory forms of child-rearing and education as an alternative to corporal punishment;

c) extend application of the existing ‘no drop’ policy in the State party, to child victims of domestic violence so that prosecution of such cases will proceed despite the victims’ non-cooperation;

d) strengthen the Police Domestic Violence Unit, by providing adequate human, technical and financial resources to fulfil its role effectively, and strengthen child rights training for law enforcement personnel, in order to ensure that they can provide adequate support to child victims;

e) take all necessary measures to ensure that child victims of violence are aware of the reporting procedures so as to encourage them to report cases of domestic violence to the authorities;

f) cooperate with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on violence against children and seek technical assistance, inter alia, from UNICEF and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)."

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