Ms. Hawaii Joins Forces
to Prevent Child Abuse in Maui County
Ms. Hawaii Flecha Tovar has joined forces with the Friends of the Children's Justice Center of Maui . Together we can broaden our efforts to bring awareness of the struggles of the children of abuse and neglect in our state and to prevent child abuse in Maui County. This collaboration shows the true character of Ms. Hawaii for making her focus on children who are sometimes forgotten or fall through the cracks. A big MAHALO goes out to her for making a difference in the lives of our children in need. The Friends are most appreciative to her for reaching out to us to help us fulfill our mission.
What to do if your child is a victim
If you live on Maui and suspect that your child has been abused, there is a chance that he may have been. He/She will be looking to you for support and protection.
There are steps you can take to support your child emotionally and physically here on Maui. As hard as it may seem, try to stay calm. Talk to your child in a gentle, evenhanded and non-judgmental manner.
Even though your child was not at fault, he/she may feel somehow that she was to blame. Reassure them this was not the case, and that they did the absolute best thing in telling you.
Always report incidents or suspicions of sexual abuse. Resist any urges to "work it out" on your own, for two very important reasons:
Abuse victims tend to work through their trauma more successfully if they feel that they are listened to, and protected by, a "safe" adult. They will heal more quickly if they know this person will fight for them. Victims can easily be re-victimized - and further traumatized - if their stories are ignored or discredited by someone close to them.
If the abuser does not get help and is not held accountable, he will likely continue to abuse others.
Call Dept. of Human Services-Child Welfare Services (also known as Child Protective Service) at 1-800-491-3991 or the police department, at 244-6400 on Maui, as soon as possible. An abuse report must be made in the state where it occurs.
The goals of child welfare agencies are to protect children, to preserve families and to prevent further abuse. The law requires that they look into each report of abuse, decide whether services are needed, and arrange protection services and family treatment when necessary.
Sometimes criminal charges must be filed, depending on the severity of the abuse.
You may give the information anonymously.