The struggle against domestic violence: How to help, what to do

With many cases of domestic violence going unnoticed, KHON wanted to know what you should do if you or a loved one is caught in that situation.

The prosecutor’s office told KHON that if a victim of domestic abuse refuses to make an initial statement it would not be able to proceed with charges.

It can be a sensitive subject, but the expert KHON spoke with said that it’s important for anyone experiencing domestic abuse to seek help.

“It is important for people who are experiencing domestic violence to seek help and seek resources and that those around them support them through that process,” said training director with the Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (HSCADV), Michelle Rocca.

While experts say each situation is different it’s still important to sit down with loved ones affected by domestic violence and let them know they have support.

So if you know someone who is experiencing domestic violence, is it your place to contact authorities? Experts say it depends.

“I do think people are doing the best that they can to get their friends and loved ones to the help that they need,” said Rocca. “We would hope that people do contact the authorities when they feel that’s appropriate, but we also want to encourage that friends and family remain supportive if the victim chooses to come forward.”

While urging them to contact authorities is also encouraged, the final say should still lie with the victims themselves.

“It absolutely is their right to choose when and if to come forward about the domestic violence they’re experiencing,” said Rocca.

In the end, more support for a victim from friend and family can help.

“The more friends and family and community that can be available to be supportive in that process then that leads to better outcomes,” said Rocca.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse you can click here for more information.

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