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Candlelight vigil held for victims of domestic violence

LIHU‘E — Dr. Nikki Cristobal, keynote speaker at the annual YWCA of Kaua‘i candlelight vigil for victims of domestic violence, said on Thursday that she is holding a candle for victims of the recent Maui disaster and victims of the Israel conflict.

Disasters almost always lead to an increase in domestic violence, Cristobal said during the annual vigil that honored victims of domestic abuse at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church. YWCA of Kaua‘i Shelter Manager Emma White coordinated the event with the help of victims of domestic abuse.

The evening brought people together for an evening of reflection, support and solidarity, while remembering and honoring victims of domestic violence.

More than 50 people, mostly from the YWCA of Kaua‘i staff and its community partners in the fight against domestic violence, attended the event. Attendees included members of the Kauai County Council, the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney and Kaua‘i Police Department.

Recently, the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney announced the YWCA of Kaua‘i was a recipient of six grant awards through its Life’s Choices program Mental Health and Substance Abuse Community Program Grants. which cover the 2023-24 fiscal year. The award will support clinical services dedicated to adult/adolescent victims of domestic violence, or LGBTQ+ individuals.

The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney said in its award announcement on Oct. 13 that domestic violence victims and LGBTQ individuals face significant obstacles in accessing mental health care resulting in unmet needs and escalating crisis.

By hiring a dedicated domestic violence therapist and allotting time for current YWCA therapists to offer comprehensive, evidence-based mental health services for target populations, there will be additional opportunity for healing in a healthy and therapeutic environment.

Students from the Kaua‘i Community College Nursing Program showed up for hands-on experience in their domestic violence segment of education, which they will begin in the near future, by listening to survivor stories of courage and bravery.

White, who as shelter manager is on the frontline of domestic violence, said the YWCA Hot Line fielded more than 1,000 calls in 2022. White said victims of domestic violence are never alone, and the 24-hour hotline is available at 808-245-6362

The candlelight vigil was supported by St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, Moms Demand Action, Pouhana O Na Wahine, Gary Ellwood, Kaua‘i Community College nursing students, Kenji Burger, La Spezia Restaurant and Wine Bar, Emiko Meyers and Hollis Dana.

The event took place as part of a Week Without Violence in October, which has been recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Source: The Garden Island

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