Less than a year after opening, Palomar, Oklahoma City's Family Justice Center, is in need of an even larger facility. Domestic violence victims have been able to find a wide spectrum of services there, but the goal is to offer even more.
Before the Family Justice Center opened, Palomar's founders expected to serve 5,000 clients a year. They have surpassed 6,000 in just 9 months, and there is still lots more work to be done.
“Our numbers have been increasing every month, steadily every single month since we’ve opened,” says CEO Kim Garrett.
Currently housed in office space donated by Midtown Renaissance, the plan was never to stay in the Walker Avenue building for long. Starting with 15 agencies, now there are more than 25 working alongside each other in the one-stop justice shop, leading to some cramped conditions.
Garrett says their plan is to build a new 72,000 square-foot facility and broaden their services even further. Right now, they are looking for a way to fund it.
In the meantime, victims are still getting much-needed legal, medical and financial help.
“It’s really exciting to see people come in in distress and leave feeling empowered,” says Garrett.
There are still many victims who are suffering in silence, though. As families prepare to gather for the holidays, Garrett says now is a good time to look for signs of abuse among your loved ones, and do not be afraid to speak up if you see something wrong.
“That’s really the key to prevention,” says Garrett, “creating a community where violence is not accepted and tolerated, and there’s offender accountability.”
Your help could mean the difference between life and death.
Garrett says, “Violence is predictable, and if it’s predictable, it’s preventable. It’s a matter of resources and priorities.”
If you or a loved one has been a victim of abuse, call the state hotline at 1(800) 522-SAFE(7233) or click here to connect with Palomar.