Domestic Violence Advocate awards were presented at the Pottawatomie Courthouse Friday morning.
The awards were presented by the Lincoln/Pottawatomie County Coordinator Community Response team. The team, which consists of representatives from Project Safe and other advocacy groups, law enforcement officers and representatives from the District Attorney’s offices, works together to help victims of domestic violence.
“Once a year, we honor our domestic violence advocate of the year, and law enforcement officer of the year,” Mechelle King, executive director of Project Safe, said.
Tim Donaldson, Lincoln County sheriff, was named the Lincoln County law enforcement officer of the year. Mary and Kim Battle of Chosen House in Lincoln County were named the Lincoln County Domestic Violence Advocates of the year.
Lori Ball of the Pottawatomie County District Attorney’s office was named the Domestic Violence Advocate of the Year for Pottawatomie County. Tecumseh Assistant Police Chief J.R. Kidney was named Law Enforcement Officer of the year.
Guest speaker King shared statistics with the audience.
“Every 22 minutes in the state of Oklahoma a domestic violence call is made to law enforcement officers,” King said.
She added that the state of Oklahoma had dropped from the top 10 states for domestic violence. Oklahoma is now 17th in the nation, with 83 domestic violence fatalities in 2011.
She added that the average number of fatalities hovers around 80 for Oklahoma, so this was less an indication of the state, and more of an indication of rising domestic violence cases elsewhere.
She encouraged anyone who knows a victim of domestic violence, or who is a victim of domestic violence, to seek help from law enforcement, or from Project Safe.
“We want to make sure victims make the transition to survivors,” King said.
At the end of the presentation, 83 balloons were released in remembrance of the 83 domestic violence fatalities in 2011.