LIHU‘E — There are not enough services on Kaua‘i for victims of domestic violence, according to concerned program leaders.
YWCA of Kaua‘i Executive Director Renae Hamilton-Cambeilh said one of the biggest barriers for victims in domestic-violence situations is the lack of affordable housing.
“There are resources we can help survivors tap into, (such as) assistance with deposit, rents, utilities when housing is secured,” Hamilton-Cambeilh said. “Along their journey, the other resources often needed but not readily available are legal assistance, child care and monetary resources to make it on their own.”
Hamilton-Cambeilh said the housing crisis really bogs down a survivor’s process to make changes and be free from domestic violence long-term.
“Catholic Charities is a great partner to assist with moving and/or not losing secured housing,” Hamilton-Cambeilh said. “Legal Aid is also a good resource, and often they are really busy and not able to help all who need it.”
The 15th annual Domestic Violence Counts Report Hawai‘i Summary found that, on Sept. 10, 2020, statewide there were 839 adult and child victims of domestic violence who received lifesaving services, including 281 victims who found refuge in emergency shelters, transitional housing or other housing, and 558 victims who received non-residential assistance and services, including counseling, legal advocacy, children’s support groups and more.
According to the report, victims made 90 requests for services — including emergency shelter, housing, transportation, child care, legal representation, and more — that could not be provided because programs lacked the resources to meet victims’ needs. Approximately 52% of these unmet requests were for housing and emergency shelter.
On that same day on Kaua‘i, the YWCA served 20 domestic-violence victims, 16 were at the shelter, and only four received non-residential assistance and services, she said.
“DV victims can initiate contact through the 24-hour hotline or by contacting the main office. Trained advocates work with the client to identify areas of need and what the priority is. For us, their safety is the first priority.
“We can provide emergency shelter, food, clothing, etc. We also have on-site counseling services, TRO (temporary restraining order) assistance, and assistance with case management. Counseling services and case-management services can continue after survivors leave the shelter. Survivors who do not need emergency housing can also access the TRO, counseling and case-management services,” she said.
Hamilton-Cambeilh said YWCA has many partners, including government, nonprofits and community groups that help us in this work.
“Our island community is small and there is not a lot of duplication of services, so staff often have an established relationship with service partners and can connect DV survivors and their families to the appropriate resources,” Hamilton-Cambeilh said.
“If we did a point-in-time count today (Monday), there are four adults and one child at the shelter, the staff answered 10 hotline calls by 4 p.m. today, (and) from those calls we anticipate two more families to need emergency shelter services.”
The Kauai Office of the Prosecuting Attorney’s Victim Assistance program for the period of Jan. 1 to Mar. 31, 2021 served 434 victims, with 205 of them victims of domestic violence. That is 47% of the victims served.
“It’s clear statewide that more resources are needed so survivors and their families can successfully make lasting change in their lives,” Hamilton-Cambeilh said.
“Each individual situation is unique. These individuals and their families need our compassion and non-judgmental support. If we can truly grasp the complex issues these families face, it will help stop victim-blaming. These families are courageous and facing many challenges. They are truly inspiring.”
The hotline number is 808-245-6363 for anyone who might need assistance.
From Jan. 1 to Mar. 31, 2021, Kaua‘i programs served:
• 51 people for assistance with crime-victim compensation;
• 120 people with information about the criminal-justice process;
• 13 people with information about victim rights, how to obtain notifications, etc.;
• 37 people were referred to other victim-service programs;
• Two people were referred to other services, supports and resources (includes legal, medical, faith-based organizations, address confidentiality programs, etc.);
• 17 people were helped with crisis intervention (includes safety planning);
• 69 people were assisted with individual counseling;
• 463 notifications of criminal-justice events were recorded;
• 21 people were assisted with victim-impact statements;
• 25 people were given assistance with restitution;
• 39 people were given emergency justice-related assistance (includes information regarding protective orders);
• 70 people were helped with prosecution interview advocacy/accompaniment;
• 55 people were helped with criminal-justice advocacy/accompaniment.