Friday, December 12, 2008

Domestic Violence Briefing

"When she refused to go with him, he pulled a gun from his pocket and shot her. He then shot her three more times." -- Domestic Violence Strategic Plan Executive Summary.

Not all domestic violence cases end this way. But too many of them have. This year alone intimate domestic violence can be blamed for fourteen deaths, including victims, children and perpetrators.

In 2005, the Legislature directed the Department of Health to develop a five year plan (2007-2012) to reduce the incidences of domestic violence. The DOH selected the Hawaii Coalition Against Domestic Violence (HSCADV) to create a planning committee to develop the plan. The planning committee today briefed lawmakers on the goals, objectives, hindrances and progress of the Domestic Violence Strategic Plan.

The plan seeks to achieve three key goals: greater community awareness about domestic violence; ensure batterers are held accountable; ensure easy access to services and safety.

One of the committee's main concerns is the lack of sufficient training for police and other groups that would most likely be first responders to a domestic violence report. The Honolulu Police Department used to devote an entire day to domestic violence training at the Police Academy. Today, new recruits spend roughly 45 minutes familiarizing themselves with probable domestic violence incidences and how to deal with them. this is not enough time. In surveys and interviews, victims have repeatedly complained about the way local police officers have handled incidences. Many of them are unable to immediately recognize the signs of intimate partner violence or lack procedural knowledge, such as not talking to the batterer in front of children.
Eight Plan Measures
1.) Increased awareness about domestic violence within targeted communities
2.) Increased access for school-aged children in skill building and prevention education about domestic violence
3.) Increased access to services for victims on each island.
4.) Increased accountability and opportunity for batterers to develop new skills
5.) Increased leadership and collaboration among agencies to address domestic violence
6.) Increased use of reliable data to educate and inform the general community and policy makers about domestic violence
7.) Increased training about domestic violence
8.) Increased resources supporting domestic violence prevention and intervention activities
Photo: Print ad in Mixed Martial Arts magazine, "Real men keep it in the ring"; "You love your daughter, you would do anything for her, start by respecting her mother".

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