Maui service providers sound the alarm as calls to domestic violence hotline spike
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui service providers are bracing for a spike in domestic violence cases, saying families impacted by the devastating wildfires are facing incredible stressors.
At the State Capitol on Friday, community advocates waved signs to take a stand against domestic violence and have their voices heard.
Sanoe Kaaihue was among those who attended. She’s the executive director of Women Helping Women in Wailuku, which is working is to end domestic violence and empower women and children.
The nonprofit runs Maui County’s only 24-hour emergency hotline for domestic violence.
In the two months since the Maui wildfires devastated Lahaina, Kaaihue says calls to their hotline have shot up. Typically around this time of year, the hotline gets 150 to 250 calls per month.
Since the devastating wildfires, it’s been getting 300 additional calls per month.
“That’s quite a bit from where we are normally during this time of the year,” said Kaaihue.
“Their current need is housing and for many of them too they are looking for support for the trauma part, for the PTSD they’ve suffered,” she added.
Kaaihue says Maui County sees nearly 800 temporary restraining orders each year and because of the wildfires, they are bracing for more domestic violence.
That’s what has happened during other disasters, including during the COVID lockdowns.
“For many of the advocates and the programs that are in Maui County, we are waiting for that other shoe to drop. We know that it’s coming,” said Kaaihue.
She says with families displaced, lost jobs and income, kids not in school and existing abuse, there’s tremendous stress.
“You’ve got a whole host of other problems that are adding to this one thing and so you keep stacking that up and so eventually something has got to give,” she said.
“Unfortunately, it comes in the form of severe abuse.”
Kaaihue says providers have been talking to FEMA and the Red Cross about available services. She wants victims to know that they are not alone and that help is available.
For help, you can call the 24-hour hotline: (808) 579-9581.
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