HONOLULU — The Maui Sexual Assault Center was honored by the State House of Representatives along with ten other supporting agencies as part of ‘The Hawaii Coalition Against Sexual Assault’ for the vital services they provide to sexual assault victims in the State of Hawai’i on Tuesday April 1, 2014. During a special floor presentation the members of the House voted to honor the coalition by unanimously passing House Resolution 218, which our Maui State Representative Mele Carroll, Chair of the House Committee on Human Services co-introduced. House Resolution 218 officially recognizes the coalition by “Commending The Hawaii Coalition Against Sexual Assault And Supporting Agencies For The Vital Services They Render To Sexual Assault Victims In The State Of Hawaii.”
hawaii’s first Sex Abuse Treatment Center (SATC) was established in 1976 at Kapiolani Women & Children’s Medical Center on Oahu. Since then, centers have opened to serve each neighbor island and branch of the military. SATCs have made great strides in social and personal justice in effecting a turnabout in social attitudes and provision of services with respect to sexual crimes.
For Maui County, Child & Family Service (CFS) is the provider of critical sex assault support services to victims, and their families, for the lifetime of a case: from initial disclosure and forensic interview with detectives, through forensic examination and ongoing clinical therapy. CFS has been offering these services through the SASS (Sex Assault Support Services) program since 2001. In December 2013, they changed the name of the program from SASS to the Maui Sexual Assault Center. The name change is a small part of a larger campaign to increase awareness of its sex assault services and bring attention to the issue.
The Maui Sexual Assault Center is working hard to make sure the entire county receives services. Significant gains were made in expanding services to the island of Molokai in October 2013; for the first time ever, there is a designated sex assault hotline, crisis services and clinical therapy that are provided to victims of sex assault free of charge through funding from the Attorney General. Maui Police Department (MPD) and Molokai General Hospital have been strong partners to CFS in securing these services; MPD provided the funding needed for a SANE (sex assault nurse examiner) training. Molokai General provided several midwives to attend and receive this training. MPD has also trained its Molokai detective to perform sex assault forensic interviews. Victims of sex assault can now remain on Molokai for forensic interview, exam, crisis services and ongoing support; transport to the Island of Maui for services is no longer required.
While there is not a current center on the island of Lanai, when there are victims needing services, a therapist from Maui will travel to Lanai to provide support services in person. Residents of Lanai can call the toll free hotline to initiate services or receive support.
Nicole Hokoana, Director of Maui County Programs was present at Tuesdays Floor Session to represent the Maui Sex Assault Center. When asked to describe the program Hokoana stated “Our staff are highly trained and experienced. We work closely with members of the criminal justice system to ensure that victims receive sensitive and timely support. We provide many options for crisis intervention and treatment. The Maui Sexual Assault Center is the PLACE victims and their families can come to. “
State House Representative Mele Carroll, whose district covers islands of Lanai, Molokai and the Paia, Hana side of Maui, is the introducer of House Bill 2034, a bill that removes the statute of limitations for criminal and civil actions arising from sexual assault in the first, second degrees and/or continuous sexual assault of a minor under the age of fourteen years. This bill is also part of the Women’s Legislative Caucus package.
“I am thankful for the services that the Maui Sexual Assault Center is providing to all of Maui Nui” said Rep. Mele Carroll. “Surviving sexual assault is traumatic enough, then to have to jump through hoops just to get services makes it even harder for victims to come forward. With this center having crisis hotlines for each island and ways to easily provide services it gives hope to the victims in my district. It gives me hope that the victims won’t be silenced and that they’ll come forward to report the abuse, get the services they need to recover from the emotional and physical pain they have suffered and obtain the justice they deserve.”
The 24 hour crisis hotlines for Maui County are: Maui Island (808) 873-8624, Molokai (808) 553-5522 and Lanai 1-866-443-5702. Along with providing the hotlines, crisis intervention and treatment services, the Maui Sexual Assault Center also reaches out to the residents of Maui County by conducting in-service trainings, attending community events, sending out newsletters, and providing prevention and education services to children and youth to raise awareness and teach them how to stay safe.”