Ask the Mayor: How Can I Get My Abusive Live-In ‘Girlfriend’ Out of My House?
Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his staff.
Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa at [email protected], 270-7855 or mail them to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793.
Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.
Q: I am a male homeowner with a live-in girlfriend. She has a home of her own but she stays with me because it’s closer to her work. Twice she has become verbally abusive to the point where I asked her to leave my house. She refused to go.
Last time I asked her to leave, she forced her way into my bedroom. I didn’t resist. I called the police. The dispatcher told me to wait outside until police arrived. Two officers responded. An officer spoke to each of us separately. The officer I spoke with told me I could not make her leave my house. She’s a guest. She doesn’t pay rent.
Because she resides in my home, the officer said she would have to be evicted in a process that takes months. He told me I could get a restraining order, another process that takes days. I asked about trespassing. He said she wasn’t trespassing.
Why won’t Maui police send an abusive partner to their own home before an issue escalates to physical violence?
A: It would be inappropriate for me to attempt to speculate on the situation you have briefly described, but it does sound like you should seek advice from one of the many local nonprofit agencies that specialize in domestic violence and family issues.
One in particular that is non-gender-based is the Domestic Violence Action Center (DVAC), which is dedicated to ending domestic violence and other forms of abuse. Though based on O‘ahu, its free legal help hotline at (808) 531-3771) is available to anyone who needs advice.
According to its mission statement, DVAC staff believe all persons should be treated with equality, dignity and fairness; it is the only agency in the state that accepts large numbers of high-risk divorce, temporary restraining orders, post-decree and paternity cases.
The cost of DVAC’s legal services is based on a sliding-fee scale.
Visit www.domesticviolenceactioncenter.org for more information.