Professors Receive Grant for Intervention of Exposure to Domestic Violence

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BY VALLI KALEI KANUHA – The Safe Start Promising Approaches Project – a partnership between UH Mānoa and Family Peace Center (FPC), a program of Parents and Children Together (PACT), a multi-program family service agency based in Kalihi – recently received a $249,299 grant.

The grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice – Office of Juvenile and Deliquency Programs, is one of only ten awards nationally and the only project funded in Hawai‘i. Valli Kalei Kanuha, associate professor of sociology and Chuck L. Mueller, co-director of the Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy and professor of social and clinical psychology at UH Mānoa are co-principal investigators of the project.


The Safe Start Promising Approaches Project seeks to develop and support practice enhancements and innovations to prevent and reduce the impact of children’s exposure to violence in their homes and communities. It is now well-documented that children are deeply harmed by exposure to violence against their mothers, yet many domestic abuse programs have minimal resources devoted specifically to children’s therapeutic services. In the state of Hawaiʻi, domestic violence services were cut by over 30% in 2009 such that in the City and County of Honolulu, PACT Family Peace Center (PACT-FPC) is now the only agency providing these crucial services for children.

UH Mānoa and PACT-FPC will collaborate on the design of a practice innovation that incorporates cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) into Haupoa, PACT-FPC’s existing intervention for children exposed to domestic violence. The project will also include partnerships with child welfare, criminal justice, mental health and other social service agencies in the state.