Family Safety Center, DVIS Available To Help Tulsans Feeling “Trapped” During Pandemic

Wednesday, April 8th 2020, 1:13 pm

The Family Safety Center said this is a "dangerous time" for some Tulsa County families and the center wants people to know, they are ready to answer your call for help.

The main lounge and the waiting area at the Family Safety Center are empty while the center is closed to the public, but some employees are still there.

"Do not come to the Family Center. Call us,” Family Safety Center Executive Director Suzann Stewart said.

Stewart said there are still advocates, attorneys, mental health professionals, law enforcement and a nurse on site.

"We're deeply concerned about the stresses that families that are already under stress are experiencing right now,” Stewart said.

She said the office is seeing a decrease in the need to help people with protective orders, but wants everyone to know, you can still get one.

Stewart said if you are dealing with stalking or harassment, call a police non-emergency number. If you're a victim of physical assault or rape, call 911. She said an officer can contact a judge about a protective order, and the Family Safety Center will take it from there.

"Sometimes abusers will convince their victims that it's not safe for them to leave. They can't leave because of the stay at home orders, or things like that,” Stewart said. “But there are ways that we can help, and you don't have to stay."

Domestic Violence Intervention Services, or “DVIS” is still offering its services, but with fewer employees.

The non-profit organization said there is a plan to help people if the shelter gets too full.

At the Family Safety Center, anyone who needs to document a physical abuse injury can do that with a forensic nurse, like Janet Chappell, over video chat.

"It concerns me. People are housed together. There's a lot of anxiety right now. So, you wonder, are tempers going to flare? Is abuse going to go up?” Chappell said.

To reach the Family Safety Center call (918)742-7480.

The 24-hour crisis line for DVIS is (918) 7HELP-ME. That's (918) 743-5763.

If you feel overwhelmed and don't know what agency or organization can help meet your needs, you can call 211.

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