HONOLULU (KHON2) — Experts say domestic violence doesn’t discriminate.
“It’s something that occurs in greater frequency than anyone would imagine,” said Nanci Kreidman, Domestic Violence Action Center CEO.
It happens between former partners, those in relationships and within families. Earlier this year, two mothers were allegedly killed by their own sons and another beaten by her son with a metal pipe. Last month, a man was charged with murder for the fatal stabbing of his wife on the H-3 Freeway.
The Honolulu Prosecutor’s office said, it varies, but it processes up to 20 domestic violence cases a week.
“We have seen a lot of cases involving that kind of situation where there’s been adult children who are abusing or maybe violating restraining orders against their parents, in addition to intimate partner violence,” said Tiffany Kaeo, Division Chief of the Family Prosecution Division within the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office. “The gamut of family violence is here in our community.”
According to an intimate partner violence report by the Attorney General’s Office, on Oahu last year there were nearly 2,500 assault-type cases with nearly 1,400 between those in dating relationships and 620 among spouses.
The Prosecutor’s Office has taken steps to crack down on offenders. Over the years, there’s been an increase in penalties to hold abusers accountable and to protect victims.
“In the recent legislative session, it has now become a repeat offense crime. If someone’s convicted of a felony abuse, they could be subject to repeat offender sentencing, which means mandatory incarceration,” said Kaeo.
That’s on top of already existing laws.
“Over the years, we’ve added offenses such as strangulation, which historically was not a domestic violence offense. We’ve added abuse in the presence of a minor and we made that a felony offense, because of how domestic violence affects children,” Kaeo said.
The Honolulu Prosecutor’s office says it will look at ways to continue to address domestic violence in the community. Experts said victims may not have the means to speak out, so it takes the entire community to look out for one another.
“Everyone doesn’t have to be an expert, but everyone can be a source of support,” said Kreidman.
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To seek help or for more information on the Domestic Violence Action Center, click here.