Protection For Domestic Violence Victims Could Expand With Proposed State Bill

Thursday, February 25th 2021, 9:44 pm

One house bill that passed committee this week would make it easier for domestic violence victims to get help as soon as officers get on scene. The bill was written by a Tulsa state representative.

Domestic Violence Intervention Services, or DVIS, said if victims can talk to them as soon as a crime has been committed, it's likely that murders could be prevented.

For state representative Denise Brewer, domestic violence hits home. She grew up in an abusive home, and said she was sexually abused as well.

“I learned I was on my own," said Brewer.

Brewer said she is trying to make it easier for victims to get help by introducing House Bill 1658.

Right now, when police officers get to domestic violence scenes, they may give victims a card with a hotline number on it, but this bill takes it a step further. It asks law enforcement to call domestic violence hotlines and hand the phone to victims, in the hopes the victim will be willing to accept help.

"Give the phone to the victim and DVIS can talk to them and do their magic," said Brewer.

DVIS CEO Tracey Lyall said one of the biggest ways to prevent domestic violence related homicides is by early intervention.

“It’s really important, that connection helps at the scene of the crime," said Lyall.

A recent report from the Violence Policy Center shows Oklahoma ranked third in the nation in women killed and 97 percent of those women knew their killer.

“Preventing homicides is why it's so important," said Lyall.

Brewer’s bill passed out of committee and will be heard in the full legislature. She hopes it becomes law and hopes it will save lives.

"It makes me feel so good," Brewer said. "I know how desperate I was for rescue.”

DVIS said they have a 24-hour hotline anybody can call, even just to get information. That number is 918.7HELP.ME (918.743.5763)

They also have a texting service that runs 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. seven days a week. Text SAFE to 207-777.