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Domestic violence advocates say child's death was preventable

Domestic violence can take a number of different forms -- and while abusers seldom kill their own children, they will harm or threaten to harm a child as a way of abusing the mother.

Sometimes, the child dies.

That's what experts believe happened in the case of a 7-year-old in Pauoa recently when his father, who was in a fierce custody battle and ugly divorce with the child's mother, stabbed the boy to death. The father then hung himself.

There are plenty of accusations to go around but no real answers as to how this case of domestic violence got this far. The father had accused the mother of drug abuse and successfully fought to keep her from taking their son on vacation with her.

For her part, the mother had thrown a counter-accusation at the father, saying that he was using crystal meth, a highly addictive drug that can make users prone to violence.

The father had already shown signs that he was less-than-stable when it came to holding his temper and behaving in a rational manner with his frustrations. His wife had accused him of leaving her bruised, and he'd taken a knife to their sofa to destroy it. He'd also gone on a rampage and destroyed most of the possessions in their home.

Statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) show that fathers are more likely than mothers to murder their children in a domestic violence situation. Most of the victims are younger than 5 and many of the deaths occur during divorces and custody battles. Men are also more likely to kill themselves after killing their children -- as if wiping out the entire family is the best or only viable solution they see to a situation where they're unable to continue in the role they've set for themselves as husband and father.

Whatever the reason, experts say that more careful monitoring is needed and early warning signs -- like a father destroying the household possessions or taking a knife to the furniture -- should be heeded as a sign of future instability that could lead to family violence and murder.

An attorney can provide you with more information on domestic violence issues, especially if you're going through a divorce or about to leave your abuser.

Source: Hawaii News Now, "After a boy's death at the hands of his father, questions -- but few answers," Chelsea Davis, Reporter, June 14, 2017

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