Domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence, is a serious problem in Maui County.
Recently, the Maui Police Department released statistics documenting a total of 1,108 incidents of abuse from Jan. 1 to March 31 of this year.
Among those incidents of abuse were nine for "Felony Abuse of Family-Strangulation" and 104 for "Abuse of Family-Physical with Injury."
Senior Contributing Writer
Maui Domestic Violence Task Force Coordinator
This report follows on the heels of the "MPD Report on Intimate Partner Violence for 2011" that showed a 37 percent increase in such incidents over 2010.
This violence not only affects adults--it can also have a devastating impact on the children who hear and observe it.
With most cases of domestic violence going unreported to the police, it is safe to assume that the problem is much larger than the numbers suggest.
Yet, many of these cries for help in our community are not going unanswered. Advocates and service providers such as Parents and Children Together (PACT), Maui Family Support Services (MFSS) and Women Helping Women (WHW) give hope to those who are suffering from domestic violence.
WHW can provide counseling and life-saving emergency shelter. PACT can assist a victim in obtaining a temporary restraining order (TRO) against an abuser and offers classes on family strengthening. MFSS helps men understand their role in the family and teaches parenting skills.
For the past three years, I have served as the Domestic Violence Task Force coordinator for the Island of Maui. There are three task forces on Maui. They meet monthly in Central Maui, West Maui and Hana.
These task forces, along with others on each of the islands, have been working at the grass-roots level to implement a statewide program called "Navigating a Course for Peace."
The Maui task forces have initiated real change, passing Act 206 to prevent employment discrimination against victims of domestic violence, increasing awareness among healthcare workers about domestic violence and reaching out to young people with positive messages about how we can treat each other without aggressive behavior.
Unfortunately, funding for the task forces has been significantly reduced. However, you can still become involved, because even though the funding has been cut, the task forces will continue.
For West Maui, call 661-7111. For East Maui, call 248-8444. For Central Maui, call PACT at 244-2330. Tell them you want to become involved in the effort to end domestic violence on Maui.