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Domestic violence crisis calls are on the rise, Maui advocates warn

Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 6:36 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 28, 2021 at 6:55 PM HST
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WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Advocates for domestic violence victims on Maui say crisis calls are up this year.

They are hoping more awareness will bring the community together to help end cycles of abuse.

On average, more than 10 million American men and women experience domestic violence each year.

In Hawaii, one in three women and one in four men have had some form of physical abuse by their partner.

“What we’re seeing is more strangulation, more suicide attempts, those types of cases,” said Women Helping Women executive director, Sanoe Kaaihue.

Women Helping Women is a non-profit agency on Maui that provides safety and support to survivors of domestic violence.

Kaaihue said the number of crisis calls to their 24-hour emergency hotline are up 46% this year compared to last year. They are also helping more victims obtain restraining orders.

“We do see a lot more of the Native Hawaiian population that’s coming forward to seek services,” Kaaihue said.

Kaaihue believes the increases are due to added stresses brought on by the pandemic.

“It’s happening here in our community,” said Kelli Maltezo, chair of the Lanai Domestic Violence Taskforce.

The small island of Lanai with a population of just over 3,000 people held its first Men’s March Against Domestic Violence this week.

Maltezo said the first step is awareness, then it’s taking action.

“We as an entire community need to address this. It’s not just the role of the police department. It’s not just the role of the social workers and social services, it’s not just the role of Women Helping Women, it’s a community as a whole,” Maltezo said.

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