For the past 40 years, the month of April has been recognized as National Child Abuse Prevention Month to increase awareness about the importance of child and family well-being and educate communities about the signs of child abuse and how to prevent it. This cause is especially important to Commit to Keiki and is the reason why family violence prevention is one of our top three priorities.
The current trends in family violence in Hawai‘i are alarming. The COVID-19 pandemic created the perfect storm for rising rates in family violence, and we are still seeing the effects of that three years later. Here are the stats:
- In 2020, Child and Family Services reported a 300% increase in calls to their crisis hotline.
- Research indicates that child maltreatment occurs in 30% to 60% of families where spousal abuse takes place. Even if children are not maltreated, they may experience harmful emotional consequences from the violence they witness.
- Children under the age of 1 are more than twice as likely as older children to be victims of child abuse and neglect.
- Over the last year, the Domestic Violence Action Center has experienced a 240% increase in contacts with women experiencing violence at home.
It is no secret that children who are exposed to family violence in their home, what is supposed to be their safe space, are at greater risk for learning difficulties, attachment issues, long-term adverse health effects, substance abuse, and more. We remain committed to raising awareness of this issue and the need for more state investments that support our youngest keiki and their families. If our keiki are happy, healthy and raised in safe and loving homes, they will have a much greater chance of becoming thriving members of society.