Tulsa's Family Safety Center Moves To Downtown Police Station
Oklahoma ranks third in the nation in the number of women murdered by men. Nearly two-thirds of those cases are crimes committed inside the family.
A local organization is hoping a change in location will help break the circle of violence.
Suzanne Stewart is hoping that a place better known for dealing with crime will now be thought of as a secure center for providing hope.
After seven years at its location at 30th and Harvard, Tulsa's Family Safety Center is moving to the ground floor of the downtown police station.
"It wasn't about the physical environment but the emotional environment," Family Safety Center Director Suzanne Stewart said.
The organization has been helping out more than 2,000 women and children a year, in a cramped and worn-out building.
But thanks to a donated space from the police department...
"They did firearm testing; they also had the drug lab," Stewart said.
...and nearly 3 years of hard work, they have a brand new 11,000-square foot facility that is surrounded by law enforcement.
"We just want to make sure people have the best access to the best services," Stewart said.
The center will provide forensic and medical examinations on sight for the first time - that can be used to gain protective orders.
The new center is twice the size of their old one, so they can hire additional advocates, attorneys and councilors.
There are also showers, dedicated children's areas and places to get away -- not to mention it's rent free.
The old holding area gives you an idea of what the safety center used to look like before it was remodeled, grimy paint, dingy floors, poor lighting, even the scratches on the doors from old inmates.
The transformation is almost complete, and the furnishings are still being put in, It's an accommodating, hopeful and inviting place for women and children in desperate situations.
"There's an opportunity to get out of the situation that there in," Stewart said.
One in five of Oklahoma's reported domestic violence cases occur in Tulsa County.
Stewart hopes to see that number drop, thanks to the new opportunity.
"When they leave, they've walked this pathway to a more hopeful life," she said.
The center hopes to be up and running sometime this week, but it will still be helping people out in the meantime. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, you can call 911 or the crisis hotline at 918-743-5763.