Wyandotte Nation Receives DOJ Grant to Help Crime Victims
A local tribe receives a portion of more than $97 million in funding released for Native American Community Policing and Victim Services across the country.
Crime victims in Wyandotte, Oklahoma will soon have one on one help navigating the criminal justice system.
“As law enforcement we go out and take the reports. We’re empathetic with our victims and try to give them as much information as we can. But at the time of the crime they’re very vulnerable, and it’s better to have someone that is totally devoted to the attention that they need,” says Wyandotte Police Chief Ken Murphy.
The new police advocate will help victims connect with available services like transportation to go to court, assistance obtaining a protective order in a domestic violence case, or receiving monetary compensation for medical costs in a DUI accident.
Murphy says, “Sometimes in rural areas they’re hesitant to go to the courthouse or hesitant to work with some folks. And we think this will be a more personalized and individualized service and may allow some victims to access some service that normally wouldn’t.”
Like the Police Department, the tribe’s Department of Family Services also received grant funding for an advocate. But their director Kate Randall will focus specifically on protecting victims of domestic violence.
“Domestic violence isn’t just a singular incident, it’s an insidious problem,” she says.
Locally, Randall says about 30% of residents at the Community Crisis Center are Native American, compared to 39% of domestic violence victims nationally.
“In a women’s lifetime there’s one in four women who will be affected as well as one in seven men. So the statistics are really 85% women and 15% men. So we want to be able to provide help to any and every person in our area here.”