Advocates Of Victims Want Domestic Violence Court

HONOLULU -- About 525 domestic violence victims are helped each day in Hawaii, according to the National Census of Domestic Violence Services.

Some receive counseling, shelter, or legal support.

One state lawmaker met with some victims to see what more can be done.

Maria Styke and other advocates and victims testified before Rep. John Mizuno, asking for tougher laws to protect victims of domestic abuse.

"They need to be implemented and they already should've been implemented, and in effect," said Stykes.

One of the ideas being discussed is establishing a domestic violence court within the family court system.

"If there's a case with domestic violence history, it would be heard exclusively by a designated judge with a designated staff, people who are completely educated and knowledgeable about everything to do with domestic violence," said Dara Carlin, a domestic violence victim advocate.

Mizuno also wants to create a special task force that would help lawmakers write better policies regarding domestic violence.

On any given day in Hawaii, 253 domestic violence victims find refuge in emergency shelters or transitional housing according to the National Census of Domestic Violence Services. To help these victims, advocates want lawmakers to further strengthen the laws already in place.

"Hawaii has some of the best statutes for domestic violence in the nation, but the problem is that they're not being applied, maintained, and enforced," said Carlin.

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