Supporting Survivors

Wednesday - August 17, 2011 Share

By Marsha Bolson, Board Member,
Domestic Violence Action Center

For survivors of domestic violence, the first step on the path to safety is often the most difficult. In our 21 years at the Domestic Violence Action Center (DVAC), we’ve supported numerous people of different races, socio-economic backgrounds and genders through this challenging process. Our work begins with the very first phone call and continues until the final appearance in court. Leaving a relationship safely involves many steps and a great deal of community support. There continues to be a need for new partners and new strategies to disseminate information about domestic violence.

In a report recently released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), recommendations were made to improve preventive health services. One vital service focuses on the importance of screening and counseling in health care settings to detect and prevent domestic violence. IOM’s recommendation underscores the need to view domestic violence as a women’s health issue one that must be addressed comprehensively.

DVAC’s Consortium for Health, Safety & Support was held on July 2, 2011 at the Maili Beach Park Carnival and Expo. Photo courtesy DVAC

With support from the Office on Women’s Health, we formed the Consortium for Health Safety and Support, an effort to strengthen community-driven solutions to the problem of domestic violence. The work is taking place on the Leeward coast with Filipino and Hawaiian communities.

Hawaii’s health care industry also has begun focusing greater attention on the issue of domestic violence as a health concern for its patients. DVAC is working with the Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence to assist Kaiser Permanente in the implementation of a program modeled after the Family Violence Prevention Program of Kaiser Permanente Northern California. The work under development will involve the entire Kaiser Permanente system in Hawaii. The Queen’s Medical Center also is continuing, as well, to explore innovative ways to bring the issue into focus for its staff, programs and departments.

Collaborations like these will make all the difference to survivors and sustain DVAC’s work in bringing peace to Island families. To learn more about DVAC’s services and programs, please call 5313771 or visit

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