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Domestic Violence Action Center, HI

The Domestic Violence Action Center (DVAC) is committed to ending domestic violence and other forms of abuse in the State of Hawaii through leadership, prevention, legal services, individual and systemic advocacy, and social change work. Pulama I Ka Ohana (PIKO, “Cherish the Family”) is a DVAC program that focuses on children and parent survivors of domestic violence on the island of Oahu, as they experience, witness, or heal from trauma. The program accompanies survivors and their children on their path to safety and healing.  PIKO services creatively combine trauma-informed models with cultural practices from our local context—Native Hawaiian, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, COFA, and other cultures to best serve diverse island families.

The program goals include alleviating trauma, fostering safety and self-sufficiency, and assisting families to rebuild relationships negatively impacted by violence and abuse. To meet these goals, PIKO Family Assistance Counselors and attorneys provide individual and family services. Each survivor in the PIKO program receives personalized assistance with: domestic violence education, risk assessment and safety planning, crisis support, client advocacy, survivor support groups (for adults, teens, and children), therapy (individual and family), play therapy (for children), court accompaniment, legal representation, and referrals to other community services.

PIKO support groups are safe, confidential, and comfortable way for survivors and their children to learn, heal, and grow together. From toddler to teens, groups teach, promote, and foster healthy parent-child relationships, incorporating expressive and creative arts, and cultural activities into lessons. Parents at group benefit from domestic violence education, strengthening positive parenting and communication skills, and develop valuable self-care techniques.

PIKO staff and external evaluators track changes in the safety, knowledge, confidence, behavior, social connections, stress management, communication, and coping skills of children and their parents.


  • To date, PIKO formed 36 support groups, including cultural and linguistically based groups. This includes over 500 group meetings for 315 adult survivors and 495 children.

  • Provided advocacy services to over 350 adult survivors and over 600 children.

  • Provided training to over 900 community members and agencies.

Qualitative Research Findings

From 2017 to 2020 participant changes in attitude, behavior, knowledge, skills, and satisfication with the program was tracked by a self-administered survey. Below are some results from participants who completed the 21-week program.

  • 56% of participants reported “very true” and 86% of participants reported that it was “very or somewhat true” for them when asked,” I am able to move toward achieving my goals as a parent”

  • 52% of participants reported, “I am able to take action for my family”

  • 68% of participants reported, “I am comfortable talking with my children about things that matter to us”

  • 79% of participants reported, “I feel hopeful about the relationship between me and my children”

  • 70% of participants reported that they understand the impacts that domestic violence has had on my children

  • 58% reported, “very true,” while 29% reported, “somewhat true” when asked, “I have the tools and information to plan for my child’s safety”

  • 51% of participants reported “very true” while 33% participants reported “somewhat true” when asked, “I feel confident as a parent”

  • 80% of participants reported that they were overall satisfied with the PIKO programs ability to meet their needs.

Survivor Voices:

“The first few sessions, we just cried and cried. I was in tears all the time, all the groups. But, I heard about others (in the group) taking control and ending their abuse… I felt braver.”

“There was validation for my concerns. [From the first group], you’re not alone.”

“PIKO gave me a sense of community and sense of purpose. I had a reason to live for my kids.”

“When they see that mommy can do it that means they can do it. Being a role model to my children helps them be strong.”


A video from PIKO interviewing families in the program is available on Youtube here:

A video from PIKO Filipina group is available on Youtube here

Please click here to view PIKO’s informational poster

For more information visit or contact Ella Mojica, Ohana Family Services Manager at: