The Citizen Potawatomi Nation House of Hope is expanding its service area.

Lincoln, Oklahoma and Seminole Counties are now being served through the program, which was already operation in Pottawatomie and Cleveland counties.

As a domestic violence program, our main focus is to help as many women and men as possible who find themselves in an unhealthy or abusive relationship. With the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reporting more than 20,000 phone calls being placed to domestic violence hotlines daily, and our state of Oklahoma being ranked No. 4 in the nation for the high rate of women killed by men in single victim/single offender homicides, we could see that there was an abundant need for services in our area. The question then became, “How can we reach additional individuals in our state who were looking for a way out of the abuse or needing assistance starting over with a life free of abuse?”

Due to the lack of funding and social services throughout several neighboring counties, we decided to expand our program’s service area to include Oklahoma, Lincoln and Seminole counties, in addition to the program’s already set county service area of Pottawatomie and Cleveland. In simpler terms, any individual — Native or non-Native, woman or man — experiencing intimate partner violence in the above-mentioned counties are able to call our program for assistance. That being said, if an individual calls our program and does not fit our criteria, we still do all that we can to assist that individual, including providing resources for them to call and safety planning when needed.

Along with our domestic violence program, in September of 2017, we opened a local shelter available for women and children fleeing situations of intimate partner violence. There is no set service area for our shelter, meaning individuals may have resided in any city, county or state.

With statistics on domestic violence being unfortunately as prominent as they are, it is a great possibility that there is someone in your life who is experiencing or has experienced abuse at the hands of an intimate partner. Sometimes, all it takes to save a life is to be knowledgeable of the resources that exist, which many times can act as the guiding light at the end of the tunnel in a survivor’s story. Knowing all the answers when someone comes to you with a problem is not always necessary — sometimes simply extending your hand and offering support is more than sufficient. We encourage you to reach out and provide that support whenever possible.

As always, if you or someone you know is experiencing intimate partner violence, sexual assault, or stalking and would like more information, please contact House of Hope at (405) 878-4673 or visit us online at facebook.com/cpnhouseofhope.