Who can? Domestic violence panel says Yael Li-Ron can

LIHU‘E — Domestic violence on Kaua‘i just got a new enemy number one.

The Domestic Violence Prevention Task Force recently named a new coordinator, Yael Li-Ron, an information technology specialist for the YWCA of Kaua‘i.

The state Department of Health funds the task force, which is contracted with the YWCA to educate the public on issues of domestic violence. Its current campaign, “Who Can? You Can,” encourages men and teenage boys to consider alternatives to violence in a campaign to be implemented statewide.

Li-Ron was introduced to task force members at a meeting Thursday. She said she was looking forward to working with the task force and plans to be active in subcommittees.

The outgoing interim co-coordinators are Barbara Brings, who remains a committee member, and Linda Pizzitola, who continues as the YWCA Clinical Group Facilitator for the Alternatives to Violence Program.

As a former community education coordinator for a rape crisis center on the Mainland, Li-Ron said she is looking forward to discussing ideas and supporting the committees, where she said the real work gets done. The YWCA is redesigning its website to include links to local pages and multimedia content, and she expects Kaua‘i domestic violence awareness information to be included.

Li-Ron was a writer and editor of California newspapers including the Martinez News Gazette, Benica Herald, and Napa Valley Register, and was executive editor of PC World Magazine, PC World Communications, and PC/Computing magazines. She was also a writer and editor for The Garden Island from 2001 to 2003.

Li-Ron earned a BA in Linguistics from Bar-llan University, and a master’s degree in Instructional Technology from San Francisco State University. She has lived on Kaua‘i off an on for more than a decade.

The meeting included a review of a draft Work Plan and discussions on funding sources and outreach projects in preparation for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. Several members will be attending training workshops on O‘ahu next month.

Francis Dinnan and Jana Rothenberg were present from Kaua‘i Community College for a presentation on the past year’s work as representatives of KCC’s Preventing Violence Against Women Task Force. It was established last September and held community events to include the Clothesline Project, a poetry contest, Silent Witness, a candlelight vigil, an online community survey, MLK Day, and a mural project.

The two presented student-made videos on the “Walk-a-Mile in Her Shoes” event, a sexual assault awareness piece on cyber stalking called “I met him online”, and a domestic violence awareness video.

KCC will host the Clothesline Project again on Oct. 24-28, and the “Walk-a-Mile in Her Shoes” event will be held Apr. 13, 2012.

Stacy Wisiorowski, a licensed clinical social worker, Karin Stoll, DCSW & Associates, was present to address positive change for best practices and policies when working with victims of domestic violence. She described scenarios where women were returned to abusive environments when the shelter, the police or other parts of the system  could not protect them.

“Your hard work would be so much easier when it is supported by a structure in place in the community, and as a foundation for wonderful work,” said Wisiorowski. “The numbers are in place and when the call comes for support then it should actually have to do that.”

Linda Voss of Legal Aid Society was present to talk about improving the representation of victims with legal awareness training. She said victims are calling the day before their hearing to ask for help. At that point, the system is ill-prepared to do its best for them.

The Kaua‘i Domestic Violence Task Force will meet again on Sept. 29, 9:45 a.m. to noon at Queen Lili‘uokalani Children’s Center, 4530, Kali Road, Lihu‘e.

• Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or by emailing tlaventure@ thegardenisland.com.


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