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Cook Islands[1] [print]

Last edited:  January 2006


Summary and Analysis


To the best of our knowledge, there is no established child welfare system in the Cook Islands.  Despite our best efforts, we were not able to connect with an individual or organization knowledgeable about child protection in the Cook Islands.  This may be because there seems to be a lack of any organization or agency that has the responsibility to oversee child welfare in this country.  Because there does not seem to be a specific organization that focuses on child protection, we tried to contact a variety of international organizations and related domestic organizations that may have some contact with abused children, such as domestic violence shelters.


The Cook Islands has not submitted a report to the United Nations on the status of its implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and thus our knowledge about the country is limited.  As the statute below indicates, child abuse is technically illegal in the Cook Islands and there is a fine for such activity.  However, it is unclear to what degree the Protection of Children Ordinance is actually enforced.  The Cook Islands comprises fifteen islands spread over 850,000 square miles (2.2 million square kilometers) of ocean in the middle of the South Pacific.  The population, the Cook Islands Maori, is indigenous. The total population of the Cook Islands is only around 15,000, and the country has been struggling with severe population loss do to a weakened economy.  Farming and agriculture, as well as tourism, are the main pillars of the economy. Perhaps partly because the population is so sparse and the country is dealing with a severe population loss that threatens its economy, child protection does not seem to be at the forefront of national issues.


Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)




Protection of Children Ordinance 1954, No. 2[2]

1. Short Title - This Ordinance may be cited as the Cook Islands Protection of Children Ordinance 1954.

2. Penalties for offences of guardians - Any person who, having the custody, control or charge of a child, being a boy under the age of fourteen years or being a girl under the age of sixteen years, willfully ill-treats, neglects, abandons, or exposes such child or causes or procures such child to be ill-treated, neglected, abandoned or exposed in a manner likely to cause such child unnecessary suffering or injury to its health is liable to imprisonment for one year or to a fine of one hundred pounds.

3. Application of fines inflicted - All fines inflicted under this Ordinance shall be paid into the Cook Islands Treasury and shall form part of the public revenues of the Cook Islands.


[The words "High Commissioner" were substituted for the words "Resident Commissioner of Rarotonga" by S.3(4) of the Cook Islands Amendment Act 1965.]


Additional Resources and Links


UNIFEM Pacific Office



Punanga Tauturu Incorporated



National Council of Women of New Zealand




[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] Protection of Children Ordinance 1954, No. 2 (Sept. 3, 1954) available at http://www.paclii.org/ck/legis/num_act/poco1954283 and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.


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