OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Native Hawaiians at increased risk of intimate partner violence during COVID-19 according to new report

HONOLULU (October 20,2020) – A new report that highlights the increased risk of Native Hawaiians to intimate partner violence during COVID-19 is part of a coordinated initiative aimed at raising awareness
about domestic violence during the pandemic.

“This report furthers our ongoing effort to better understand how Native Hawaiians are being
impacted by COVID-19,” said OHA CEO Sylvia Hussey. “This critical information assists
OHA and other policy makers in developing responses that consider the specific and unique
needs of our communities.”

Native Hawaiians At-Risk of Intimate Partner Violence During COVID-19 was produced by the
Native Hawaiian COVID-19 Research Hui, a collaboration between the Office of Hawaiian
Affairs, Kamehameha Schools, and Liliʻuokalani Trust, and in collaboration with the Domestic
Violence Action Center (DVAC).

According to the report, while intimate partner violence is generally under reported, Hawaiʻi’s
DVAC saw a 46 percent increase in contacts between March and October 2020, indicating a rise
in the need for domestic violence services, a trend echoed globally. Due to stay-at-home orders
and quarantine mandates, domestic violence survivors have been forced to stay in the home or
remain in close proximity to their abusers more frequently and thus are exposed to added risk of
stress and abuse, the report says.

The report precedes a 30-minute documentary called Hostage at Home that will introduce
viewers to the realities of domestic violence from COVID-19 and show that government, health
care, and community organizations have all seen impacts. Airing at 9:30 p.m., October 21 on
KHON, the show will explore how stay-at-home directives have resulted in increased risk and
danger for island families. Hostage at Home was produced by the Domestic Violence Action
Center, with support from Hawaiʻi Government Employees Association, Queen’s Health
Systems, Bronster Fujichaku Robbins, and the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Health.

“There are clear and present dangers for those in our Native Hawaiian community who are living
with an abusive partner. The isolation and the uncertainty felt in island families now creates risks
that we must be aware of. The collaboration among organizations that developed this IPV report
is contributing to community awareness,” says Nanci Kreidman, executive director of DVAC.

“We want survivors to know that the Domestic Violence Action Center is open, and can be
reached by telephone, text or chat. Community allies working together is the spirit of aloha we
honor.”

Throughout the past decade, Native Hawaiian adults reported greater rates of intimate partner
violence, both physical and sexual, than the rest of the population of Hawai‘i. As such, there is a
heightened concern for this community during the pandemic. The pandemic has exacerbated preexisting conditions that contribute to a high incidence rate among Native Hawaiians, which
include limited access to culturally based medical and mental health care, increased economic
stresses, experiences of historical trauma, and racialized structures of inequality linked to
legacies of colonization and imperialism.

The intersections of other social issues such as homelessness and poverty also compound the risk
of intimate partner violence in Hawai‘i. Native Hawaiians who are pregnant or of youth status
also reported higher rates of intimate partner violence. That said, domestic violence is not solely
a Native Hawaiian concern as Pacific Islander communities and Caucasian communities
in Hawai‘i also reported high incidence rates.

The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the conditions that increase the risks of intimate
partner violence, be it income inequality, lack of educational opportunities, or limited access to
quality healthcare. To combat this trend, building upon existing protective factors such as
cultural resiliency, social support, and community cohesion can reduce the overall intimate
partner violence rate, particularly among the Native Hawaiian community.

Native Hawaiians At-Risk of Intimate Partner Violence During COVID-19 is the second
publication co-produced by the Native Hawaiian COVID-19 Research Hui, a collaboration
between Liliʻuokalani Trust, OHA and Kamehameha Schools. The goal of the collaboration is to
gather and provide data that explore the ways Native Hawaiians have been impacted by the
pandemic and the systemic conditions that place our communities at greater risk and inform
pathways for moving forward to create a new normal.

In May, the hui released the COVID-19 Impacts on Native Hawaiian Businesses Issue Brief that
detailed the challenges, needs of potential of Native Hawaiian businesses during the pandemic.
That report can be viewed at https://sites.google.com/ksbe.edu/nh-covid19/native-hawaiianbusinesses.

In June, the hui began an ongoing survey to assess local perceptions of what Hawaiʻi’s economy
should look like after the pandemic. To participate in the Hawaiʻi’s Economy: Visions of a Better
Normal Survey, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HIEconomicVisions or
https://www.oha.org/economicvisions.

More information about the Native Hawaiian COVID-19 Research Hui and its projects can be
found at https://sites.google.com/ksbe.edu/nh-covid19/home.

For the full report on intimate partner violence, please visit the Native Hawaiian COVID-19
Research Hui website.

If you, or someone you know, would like to know more about resources available to those
experiencing intimate partner violence, available sources include the following:

• Domestic Violence Action Center: Oahu helpline at 808-531-3771, toll-free helpline at 1-
800-690-6200, or text 605-956-5680
• Women Helping Women (Maui): 808-579-9581
• Child & Family Service Hawaii: 808-841-0822 (Oʻahu), 808-959-8864 (East Hawaiʻi
Island), 808-322-7233 (West Hawaiʻi Island), 808-245-6362 (Kauaʻi YWCA), or 808-
567-6888 (Molokaʻi)

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