It’s October, which means Domestic Violence Awareness Month is here. COVID-19 is making the already high numbers of Domestic Violence rise beyond average in Oklahoma. Oklahoma is ranked sixth for the highest rate of physical intimate partner violence, and there are over 21,000 calls every 15 minutes to domestic violence hotlines, according to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence.
The state of Oklahoma has made great strides in ending domestic violence, such as implementing a felony domestic violence court and passing House Bill 3251. On May 18th, Governor Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 3251, adding four more domestic violence offenses to the state’s violent crimes list. The violations added are domestic abuse by strangulation, domestic assault with a dangerous weapon, domestic assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and domestic assault and battery with a deadly weapon. In February 2020, Oklahoma City began it’s Felony Domestic Violence Court. This Domestic Violence (DV) Court is the only court that will hear felony domestic violence cases and ensures follow-through on all felony domestic violence cases, aids victims, but most importantly, holds domestic violence perpetrators accountable. The court also moves felony cases quicker through the legal system and joins around two dozen courts like it in the United States.
But there is still more work to be done. In the United States, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime and report negative impacts such as injury, fear, safety concern, and needing services (CDC, 2017). Please join us this month in the fight to spread awareness about the dangers of domestic violence by sharing information, educating yourselves, and learn proper techniques for reporting abuse.
For more information about Family Builders, or if you need more resources, please call Family Builders at (405) 232-8226.