Ann Patterson Dooley Family Safety CenterOklahoma
The Ann Patterson Dooley Family Safety Center provides a single location where victims and survivors of intimate partner violence and their families can quickly and confidentially get information and obtain services. Disciplines represented among the center's onsite partners include advocacy, civil legal, retired senior volunteer program, prosecution, law enforcement (police and sheriff), and faith-based organizations.
To provide one location that effectively combines civil, criminal, health, and social services for victims of intimate partner violence. The single location offers confidential services based on individual needs or circumstances.
Making the Idea a Reality
In October 2003, nonprofit leaders and public officials in the Tulsa community learned of a new model, the San Diego Justice Center, for providing services to victims and survivors of intimate partner violence. On July 21, 2004, the U.S. Department of Justice, through the President's Family Justice Center Initiative, awarded more than $20 million to 15 communities across the United States to help them prevent and respond to violence against women. The City of Tulsa, through the Mayor's office, was one of these communities.
Most clients at the Ann Patterson Dooley Family Safety Center seek emergency protective orders and help with filling out paperwork and filing petitions with the court. The center offers a remote docket using a camera so judges can view and speak to victims in real time. If judges grant the order, then the center's advocates help victims file it with the court clerk and obtain their own copies. The process duplicates the courthouse process, without the client going to the courthouse.
Often, victims must bring their children with them while seeking services. The Family Safety Center provides a playroom for the children while their parents are completing paperwork and receiving services. Additionally, an onsite forensic nurse is available to check for injuries and take photographs with the victim's permission. The nurse provides medical information and informs victims of other potential health issues they need to address. Another significant service is funded by a local philanthropista chaplain is onsite for victims who have spiritual needs.
The center began seeing clients in late February 2005. By May 31, it had served more than 600 clients and filed almost 500 emergency protective orders.
Benefits to Victims
- Assistance with emergency protective orders.
- Assistance with law enforcement reports.
- Chaplain services.
- Children's play area.
- Civil legal assistance and advice.
- Consultation with district attorney staff.
- Counseling referral for adults.
- Forensic medical services.
- Interpretation services.
- Referral for children.
- Referral for immigration services.
- Referral to a safe, confidential emergency shelter.
- Safety and prevention education.
Benefits to Criminal Justice
- Reduces the number of intimate partner violence cases that go unreported in Tulsa County.
- Helps to ensure that perpetrators are prosecuted.
- Reduces perpetrator recidivism.
- Offers resources that encourage victims to return for the full hearing.
Intimate partner violence is a public safety issue and needs to be supported in part with tax dollars. This crime knows no boundaries; victims and perpetrators may come from any age group, education level, culture, class, or socioeconomic status. The center plans to become a public trust authority, which will require city and county approval.