Page 7 - MidWeek Kauai - Oct 5, 2022
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 Community Plays Vital Role In Ending Domestic Violence
OCTOBER 5, 2022
     FROM PAGE 6
The center also developed its Hoʻoikaika ʻOhana pro- gram, which strives to help families find peace — a direct response to a growing need in the Native Hawaiian commu- nity. Held over a nine-month period, the program provides families with opportunities to mend relationships through cultural practices such as lei-making, planting and pounding kalo, and chanting and dancing hula.
 population, DVAC created its Teen Alert Program (TAP) 20 years ago.
     “We formed a hui to really help us develop the program that would meet the needs and reflect the cultural prac- tices and the cultural values of Native Hawaiian fami- lies,” says Kreidman of the DVAC program that was developed nearly a decade ago. “We try to enhance the agency’s work with new pro- grams when it appears that it would be in service to the community.”
Peace is the hopeful sign for Nanci Kreidman and Tanya Philip, manager of Domestic Violence Action Center’s Teen Alert Program. (Above left) Kreidman joins with First Circuit Chief Judge R. Mark Browning (above, right) in showing off their respective awards from Men’s March Against Violence. (Right) DVAC’s Rad Dad sign-waving event occurs annually on Father’s Day and attracts many enthusiastic families. PHOTOS COURTESY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACTION CENTER
Kreidman notes that more than 60% of domestic vio- lence survivors they’ ve met have also expressed the need for housing. In response, DVAC created programs that enable survivors and their children to live in safe and supportive spaces.
DVAC’s various services are free, with the exception of its legal services, which use a sliding fee scale. How- ever, the center does not turn anyone away who can’t pay.
“It’s a complicated cir- cumstance for a person to be in and there’s a lot of ambivalence about staying or leaving. As a community, we want to be as supportive as we can,” Kreidman con- tinues. “We have to extend compassion and patience to allow people to make the decisions that are right for them.”
In addition to answering phone calls from survivors, the center fields calls from local community organiza- tions, like food banks and homeless programs, that want to learn more about domestic violence in order to assist people.
Kreidman’s dedication has not gone unnoticed. She’s received various awards for work performed within the community — one of them being the Pat- sy T. Mink Giraffe Award, which is given to a com- munity stalwart who has demonstrated leadership in important issues.
DVAC takes its work very seriously — and for good reason because lives could be at stake. Individuals who call its hotline can do so anonymously and feel reas- sured that their calls are held in confidence. The location of the center itself is also kept under wraps for safety reasons and is only shared with clients.
“It just makes me feel so happy that we have been able to make a difference in people’s lives — and may- be saved people’s lives,” Kreidman says. “The work our staff does is life-altering and lifesaving, and that real- ly needs to be in sharp focus so that we can continue do- ing the important work that needs to be done.
In addition to becoming familiar with the signs of domestic violence, she en- courages the public to get involved by participating in community events, donating goods or adopting a family during the holidays.
Why do people stay in abusive relationships? Kreidman suggests that vic- tims may believe they have nowhere else to go, or that their partner will change, or perhaps they’ re afraid their abuser will become even more violent if they ever found out they were planning to end the relationship.
To keep the community informed, DVAC travels throughout the state to give presentations and provide training so that the greater public is aware of the signs of domestic abuse.
“I do know a lot of people who have been victims and it just confirms the importance of the work that we’ re doing at DVAC,” says Kreidman. “I realized that this is what I was meant to do in this lifetime and that I’m a messenger for others who can’t use their voice.”
Since the center began collecting data in 2000, its
“I have not been a victim of anything,” says Kreidman, who acknowledges that she’s among the lucky ones. “For me, it is a matter of moral and personal responsibil-
“As a community, if we give permission and listen with an open heart and don’t make judgments about oth- er people, we invite people to confide in us and we can help support them in making
“If we’ve got allies throughout the community positioned to recognize and identify domestic violence when it’s occurring, then we can all work in helping sup- port families,” says Kreid-
To learn more about DVAC, call the center’s hotline at 808-531-3771 or visit domesticviolenceac-
staff members have worked more than 41,000 hours on document preparation and in court proceedings, conduct- ed more than 89,000 risk assessments and complet- ed more than 98,000 safety plans.
ity to make our community a safe, thriving place for all
the difficult decisions about what kind of help they might need,” explains Kreidman.
“Domestic violence really is a pattern. It’s not one inci- dent or one kind of abuse,” she explains. “There’s a pat- tern of behavior that a person is subject to by their partner that’s centered around the power and control in the re- lationship.”
man. “We can’t solve this problem alone. We need the community working with us. Whether it’s law enforcement or health care, or clergy, or educators or businesses — everybody can play a role.”
up in October, Kreidman believes it’s important to remind everyone about the signs of abuse. These in- clude the obvious red flags of physical abuse, like bruises or broken bones, or an abrupt change in personality, such as when normally sociable people suddenly choose to isolate themselves.
ith Domestic Vi- olence Awareness month coming
She notes that survivors may feel ashamed to admit that they’ ve experienced do- mestic violence, so it’s vital to demonstrate compassion and understanding.

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