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Domestic Violence Program Gets Financial Boost Through Grant

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

The fight against domestic violence is getting a major financial boost.

Tulsa's City Council just added three-quarters of $1 million to help victims.

It's all thanks to a major grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. It’s called the Rapid Intervention Team. And since the City of Tulsa was awarded the federal grant the first time in 2013 not one of the domestic violence victims they've worked with has died.

"It's a multi-pronged program where we're holding the offenders accountable, and we are able to keep the victim safer,” said Family Safety Center Executive Director Suzann Stewart.

The Family Safety Center is the umbrella agency for the rapid response team. It's a partnership with Tulsa police, the District Attorney's Office and Domestic Violence Intervention Services.

"Everyone was very concerned that, you know, we need to start looking at other sources of funds for this,” said Stewart.

Stewart says it's not common for a city to get this type of award three times.

That shows their crack-down on high-risk cases involving near-death injuries, strangulation, kidnapping or rape is working.

"We've been able to increase the amount of prosecutions we've had and the success we've had," said Director of Special Victims Unit Kenneth Elmore.

The district attorney's office says the number of convictions is up too, even in cases that are difficult to prosecute.

"A lot of times, victims don't want to cooperate,” said Elmore.

Whether they're scared, embarrassed or go back to their abuser, prosecutors still want justice.

“Our collaboration with police and providers is helping keep Tulsa safe,” said Elmore.

And the team wants victims safe. But ultimately, that can't happen if victims don't seek help.

The money will add an extra part-time assistant district attorney to the team. It also pays for training.

Oklahoma routinely ranks in the top ten for domestic violence rates.

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