Domestic Violence Awareness

By Assistant Chief Jack Austin Jr.
October 1, 2021

It’s October, and fall is finally here. The leaves are changing, football season has officially begun, and soon we’ll be purchasing Halloween candy for our kids and grandkids. While October is full of a lot of fun, it also brings to light a serious issue – Domestic Violence Awareness.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), American Indian and Alaska Native women experience assault and domestic violence at much higher rates than women of any other ethnicity. The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Victim Services provides a variety of programs for victims of domestic violence, including Project EMPOWER, Victim Assistance Formula Grant, Project SERV, Project HOUSE, Essential Life Skills, and Tribal Set-a-Side.

Project EMPOWER is a tribal government grant that provides advocacy, short-term rental and utility assistance, limited transportation, home visits, safety planning and healing circles to domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking victims.

The Project SERV program provides transitional housing, legal assistance, and other services for six to 24 months. It’s an Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) rural sexual assault, domestic and dating violence and stalking program the Nation has adopted.

Project HOUSE facilitates a Coordinated Community Response (CCR), whose goal is to effectively support underserved Native American victims fleeing sexual assault, domestic and dating violence and/or stalking. Eligible program participants are provided with transitional housing assistance, which includes rent and utility financial support. The program also assists with costs related to relocation and transitional housing for six to 24 months.

The Victim Assistance Formula Grant program provides comprehensive, culturally competent, direct services to victims of crime and their families. Services include: case management, needs assessment, development of individualized service plans, counseling, assessment of eligibility for other programs, safety planning, referrals and ongoing follow-up to ensure the victims’ needs are met.

Another program the Choctaw Nation provides is Essential Life Skills, which provides parenting and budgeting skills, interviewing techniques, resume and leadership skills to crime victims of all ages. The Essential Life Skills program also provides monthly life group sessions.

The final program on the list is VOCA Set-Aside, a supplement to existing victim services and other support programs. It provides educational services and utility assistance to crime victims who want to attend a short-term educational institution.

Our employees work very hard to assist our people daily to overcome difficult situations. If you know of any employees that work in any of the areas listed, let them know how much you appreciate their servant’s heart to serve our people.

Most importantly, if you or someone you know is in a domestic violence situation and is in need of assistance, please call (800) 522-6179.