Thursday, January 31, 2008

Lawmakers want to prevent more domestic violence tragedies

Photo from The Honolulu Advertiser. Health Committee chair Rep. Josh Green M.D. and vice chair Rep. John Mizuno

"Domestic violence will not be tolerated," said Rep. Maile Shimabukuro yesterday at the beginning of a hearing to address the recent rash of domestic violence tragedies, including the shocking deaths of Janel Tupuola and Cyrus Belt, and to discuss ways to prevent future deaths.

The Honolulu Advertiser and the Star-Bulletin both printed articles in today's morning paper. Robert Shikina from the Bulletin writes about a new bill that will be presented by Rep. Josh Green and require parents to be clean and free of drugs 60 days before getting their child back.

The Advertiser's Dan Nakaso delves more into the questioning of the Department of Human Services' handling of the Cyrus Belt case.

What didn't they report? Here are some of my notes of what wasn't mentioned in detail in the media:
  • Lawmakers and representatives from The Hawaii Coalition Against Domestic Violence emphasized the need to empower those who may be at risk of becoming a domestic violence victim, particularly women involved in abusive relationships.

  • The issues with the Cyrus and Tupuola cases are not the same, said a representative from the domestic violence coalition. When it comes to intimate partner violence, multiple instances of violent behavior toward a victim lead to fatal events.

  • Intimate partner violence is not about the physical abuse, according to the Coalition. That is only one tactic that the abuser uses to assert and maintain control over their partner. Other tactics include money, children and insults.

  • Rep. John Mizuno pushed the empowerment issue. He said that victims of abuse need to have better access to more information. Victims of intimate partner violence, especially low-income families, need to know which organizations can provide help and who they should call. When victims decide to leave an abusive relationship they may need aid in paying the first months rent, transportation to work, etc.

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