Tulsa Family Safety Center Expands To Meet Demand

Tuesday, May 17th 2016, 5:23 pm
By: Joseph Holloway

Tulsa Family Safety Center can now help more victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. 

The Center transformed what used to be a booking area and holding cell into a place for people in need.

Executive Director Suzann Stewart said, "They need to feel safe, they need to feel protected and this is the place where they can do that."

It's hard to believe the new facility used to be a holding cell for criminals.

"There were concrete benches with medical rings. There was a wall with a urinal behind it," Stewart said. "Pretty nasty. Some leaks, bad ceiling tiles."

The center will now use the facility to offer legal services to domestic violence and sexual assault victims, along with additional offices. Stewart says it comes at a time when the center is quickly running out of room.

"Three hundred fifty to 400 new people every single month coming in to file for emergency protective orders and receive services to get them out of their violent situation," Stewart said.

But she said it's about much more than the new look of the facility -- it's about the lives that will be changed here.

"Our goal is that they walk a little straighter, they hold their head up a little higher."

The center teamed up with private donors and received a grant from the city to pay for the project.

In 2015, the Family Safety Center reached near capacity in the number of clients served - 4,100 first time clients, 1,600 returning clients and 2,000 children - causing a need to expand the existing space.

Since moving to the current location in 2013, the number of first time clients served has increased 98 percent. 

The was the booking room and holding cell area in the City of Tulsa Police Department prior to the opening of David L Moss Criminal Justice Center.