Editorial | Our View Editorial: Keep on tackling domestic abuse Oct. 31, 2019 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Domestic violence has as many complications as there are people who strike up a relationship. Each person in the couple brings with them his or her personal history — which can be lacking in the experience of forming a healthy relationship. Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. Domestic violence has as many complications as there are people who strike up a relationship. Each person in the couple brings with them his or her personal history — which can be lacking in the experience of forming a healthy relationship. Intervention becomes complex, the victim of abuse often unprepared for the upheaval of making a break from the abuser. And so domestic violence remains a perennial scourge, but one that requires ongoing victim outreach and expanded options for a safe haven. As Domestic Violence Awareness Month was winding down, the Sunday Honolulu Star-Advertiser included writer Rosemarie Bernardo’s depiction of survivors’ road to recovery — which can be a long, painful and incomplete process. And not all do survive. The murder-suicide scenario has played out tragically in 37 cases of intimate-partner violence since 1991, according to state Health Department statistics. And yet, despite general awareness of the risk, there can be cases of repeat offenses: Former police officer Ryan Konishi, for example, was charged Oct. 23 with misdemeanor abuse of a family or household member. Just two months ago, Konishi in August had pleaded guilty to multiple counts of abuse involving a different victim dating to March 2017, plus to subsequent charges of abuse and harassment of that victim. He has resigned from the Honolulu Police Department, but there should have been a way to curb multiple offenses and ensure some early intervention. Further, the case underscores that renewed attempts must be made to tighten up protections for victims, things the Legislature should consider when it convenes in January. The Domestic Violence Action Center (DVAC) has drawn up some proposals that are already being worked through for possible introduction, said Marci Lopes, the center’s deputy director. Among those she outlined: >> Limiting the continuances for hearings on requested temporary restraining orders. The needless prolonging of the process can discourage victims from securing the protection they need. >> Extending the period of time when younger victims can retain their protection orders — which currently lapse when the victim turns 18. >> Reforming the statute on abuse to strengthen the penalties aimed at prevention, so that anger-management programs and other rehabilitative consequences for the offender can be mandated in more cases. Prevention is also an element of social policy on abuse that needs much more attention. DVAC runs a youth intervention program called Teen Alert Program 808 (tap808.org), teaching school classes and community groups on the formation of healthy relationships. The problem for many youths is that they are raised in abusive families and have no model for positive relationships, said the program’s manager, Mary Frances Canta. Some of the outreach goes to girls as young as middle school; the hope is also to develop curriculum for young boys, too, she said. Additionally, the crisis of domestic violence is one that renders many women and children suddenly homeless — one reason for the hesitation to leave a partner who may be the breadwinner, said Angelina Mercado, executive director of the Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. This emphasizes the need for more “safe houses,” such as the one in Makiki formerly run by the prosecutor’s office, for which the city is seeking a management partner. Above all, however, what these victims need is the community’s support and counsel in overcoming their trauma. That’s essential if they are to work toward securing the safety, dignity and self-sufficiency everyone deserves. Previous Story Editorial: Ala Wai harbor needs fresh start Next Story Name in the News: William Aila Jr.