Abuse survivor says domestic violence program with Honolulu Police "invaluable"
Katherine Aikau, whose husband murdered their son then hung himself in 2017, says this is a program that fills a big need in the community.
As the finger pointing between the Honolulu Police Department and the Domestic Violence Action Center continues over who dropped the ball, a high profile abuse survivor speaks out. Katherine Aikau, whose husband murdered their son then hung himself in 2017, says this is a program that fills a big need in the community.
This little boy is a victim of domestic violence. Police say 7-year-old Reef Aikau died at the hands of his father, Gerald Aikau, in 2017.
The signs were there, says his mother, Katherine Aikau. She shows us photos that she says are the result of one of Gerald's violent episodes on October 23, 2016.
"There's a big knife right here," she points to the photo of their two-story Manoa home. "We had a big sectional couch. He had knifed it. He took a baseball bat to our big screen TV. The whole place was destroyed."
Katherine says he also hit her for most of their eight-year marriage.
"That's one of the examples where Gerald had punched me in the eye," she tells KITV4.
After that 2016 incident, she called police, but says they didn't tell her where she could get help.
A friend told her about the Domestic Violence Action Center, or DVAC. The non-profit agency works with police, sending a staffer- called an advocate- to domestic violence calls.
"Without that advocate on scene, the victim doesn't know about DVAC! I had never heard of DVAC!" she explains.
Two months ago, DVAC told police it wouldn't work with them anymore because officers weren't calling advocates to come to the scene. On Wednesday, Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said it was DVAC's fault for not communicating with them.
Aikau says the system is broken and must be fixed. "I'm frustrated with police, family courts, judges."
Until police and DVAC can work out a solution, Katherine can only urge abuse victims to help themselves. "Call DVAC," she urges. "Even if an advocate doesn't show up, there's so many resources and so many of us who care about you. And we've been through it. You're not alone."
Katherine says she'll keep pushing for a resolution, because she doesn't want another mother to know the pain of losing her child.
If you or someone you know needs help, contact the Domestic Violence Action Center at https://domesticviolenceactioncenter.org/
Oahu helpline: (808) 531-3771
Toll free helpline: (800) 690-6200