Protecting Survivors Of Domestic Violence
By Nanci Kreidman, chief executive officer, Domestic Violence Action Center
Every day is an important day in the life of a survivor of domestic violence. If they are lucky enough to find us at the Domestic Violence Action Center (DVAC), their odds for safety, protection of their rights and the future of our children are much better.
Consider this woman. In October, the court awarded one of our clients sole custody of her 7-year-old daughter after a paternity trial. Despite being the child’s primary caretaker all her life, the mother had originally lost custody of her daughter by default judgment back in March when she failed to appear at her hearing, and the father subsequently showed up with police at her residence and absconded to the Big Island with their daughter, who had never been away from her mom before.
DVAC legal staff was able to reverse the court’s initial decision, largely because of diligence in their investigation. The staff discovered that the father failed a recent drug test following a probation hearing.
Every day DVAC is providing specialized, unduplicated program services in our community. So far this fiscal year, DVAC has opened 289 legal cases, made 333 court appearances, assisted with the completion of 5,004 safety plans and 3,369 risk assessments and received 2,688 calls on its help line. DVAC staff had telephone contact with 16,081 callers on the agency caseload and from others in the community. The Teen Alert Program spoke with 4,235 students, educators and service providers at 33 public schools and 15 private schools throughout the state.
DVAC is a key part of the community continuum of services. Domestic violence crosses social strata, race, age and geography. It is a grave and costly problem that impacts health, personal competence and the workplace.
This is a problem that demands cross-sector cooperation, and with imaginative partnerships the pathway to peace for island families is much more likely.
Funding stability is key to DVAC. With public and private support, events, grants and individual contributions, the agency will remain robust and meet the crucial needs of survivors. Won’t you join us?
For more information, call 534-0040 or visit stoptheviolence.org.