Seminole Nation Domestic Violence breaks ground for safe house

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SHAWNEE, Okla. – The Seminole Nation broke ground April 20 for the new tribal domestic violence safe house. The Domestic Violence Program was established by the Seminole Nation in November 2007 and is funded through federal funds through the Department of Justice with the Office of Violence Against Women. The shelter project came about in the beginning of 2008 when both a concerned tribal member and the domestic violence staff recognized a need for a Native American safe house.

Statistics show that Native Americans have the highest rate of violent crime victimization at a rate of 3.5 times higher than non-Natives. Native Americans also have the highest rate for stalking, domestic violence and sexual assault. The Native Alliance Against Violence, the new tribal domestic violence coalition, reports that American Indian and Alaskan Native women suffer rates of domestic violence higher than any other segment of the population in the United States. Estimates show that one in three American Indian women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

Currently, the Seminole Nation Domestic Violence Program offers services in victim advocacy, court advocacy, referral assistance, community education, shelter placement assistance, emergency transportation, housing assistance, utility assistance and transitional living assistance. Recognizing that domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence does not affect only one type of person, the Seminole Nation Domestic Violence Program offers its services to Native victims as well as those who are non-Native.

The emergency shelter services will provide a confidential, safe and secure environment, where victims along with their children can focus on a life free from abuse. The funds raised for the construction of the shelter have come from community donations, fundraising events and various Seminole Nation programs as well as the Seminole Nation tribal bands.

To contribute to the ongoing shelter project, contact Seminole Nation Domestic Violence Program Director Heather Napier at (405) 382-3762. Office hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and is located at the Mekesukey Mission in Seminole.