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Hawaii Domestic Violence Laws

Hawaii's domestic violence laws were originally enacted to deter spousal abuse. However, these laws also protect other family or household members. The term domestic violence encompasses any violent act committed by one family or household member against another that results in physical abuse. The chart below outlines Hawaii's main domestic violence statute and indicates who qualifies as a family or household member in Hawaii.

Code Section

Hawaii Revised Statutes section 709-906: Abuse of Family or Household Members

What's Prohibited?

Physically abusing a family or household member, or refusing to comply with the lawful order of a police officer who reasonably believes that there was physical abuse or harm inflicted by an offender upon a family or household member.

Who Qualifies as a "Family or Household Member?"


A family or household member can only be:
  • Spouses (or reciprocal beneficiaries)
  • Former spouses (or reciprocal beneficiaries)
  • People in a dating relationship
  • People who have a child in common
  • Parents
  • Children
  • People related by consanguinity, or
  • People who reside together (or who formerly resided together)

Police Officers Who Respond to Domestic Violence Calls

Hawaii's domestic violence laws also outline how a police officer should proceed when responding to a report of domestic violence if he has reasonable grounds to believe that there was physical abuse or harm inflicted by one family or household member against another. The police officer can make inquires of both the suspected abuser and victim.

Then, if the officer believes that there is probable danger of further domestic violence, the suspected offender will be ordered to leave the premises and won't be allowed to contact the victim for 48 hours. If the person who is ordered to leave either refuses to leave the premises or initiates contact with the abused person then he will be arrested in order to prevent additional domestic abuse.

Protective Orders

Every state provides for some form of protection order for domestic violence survivors. In some states these orders are called restraining orders, but in Hawaii they are referred to as protective orders. There are both short and long-term protective orders, and while the court can decide to include whichever provisions that it likes in the order, they commonly prohibit the abuser from contacting the victim, require the abuser to stay a certain distance from the victim, and require the abuser to move out of the shared residence. Protective orders can't guarantee that further abuse won't occur, but they do allow the victim to have the abuser arrested if the terms of the protective order are violated.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Hawaii's domestic violence laws contact a local criminal defense lawyer.

If you've been the victim of domestic violence there is help available for you. During an emergency dial 911 and when you're safe contact the Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

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