By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – Providing life-changing services at Canadian County’s premier juvenile facility, Cardinal Point offers a welcoming, safe place where adult and youth domestic violence and sexual assault victims can go when they are hurting.
Cardinal Point, Oklahoma’s fourth family justice center, has since late January occupied a 5,000 square foot space inside the Canadian County Children’s Justice Center (CCJC) at 7905 E Highway 66.
“The CCJC is a highly regarded model of a multi-agency framework and it has been a ‘great fit’ for Cardinal Point as we implement a similar framework to specifically address the public safety and public health impact of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking,” Cardinal Point Director Kristie Chandler said.
“Our staff and partners have felt welcomed by the CCJC leadership and staff. We have the ability to cross refer and immediately respond to needs of people experiencing domestic violence.”
Cardinal Point has been joined by several partner agencies – Intervention and Crisis Advocacy Network (ICAN), Canadian County Sheriff’s Office, Legal Aid, and the District Attorney’s Office – inside Canadian County’s juvenile center.
Cardinal Point staff offers support and information about the services of each partner agency available on-site to every survivor who visits.
It is very important that survivors receive specialized advocacy services to address their individual experiences leading to a tailored safety plan, Chandler explained.
Domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and child abuse profoundly impact victims, their children and the community.
“These issues only rise to the level a community is willing to accept,” Chandler said. “Victims and survivors deserve to see this visible and tangible coordinated response designed to elevate support and accessibility to multiple resources in one place.”
LINKING TO ICAN
ICAN – the domestic violence and sexual assault service provider in Canadian County – offers an array of services that benefit survivors.
Cardinal Point’s “navigator” regularly links visitors to ICAN, the director explained.
And when survivors learn that law enforcement, Legal Aid and the DA’s Office are on-site, they have questions or concerns best addressed by these partners and the navigator “links them in.”
“Survivors also often have other needs related to permanent housing, food and clothing that we provide resource information for,” Chandler added.
Outreach and education are other services offered by Cardinal Point.
Staff has spent time with various groups and clubs to build awareness about the effects of domestic violence and sexual assault.
“Each time brave people have approached us with their own stories of survival,” Chandler related.
Cardinal Point will host an inaugural community luncheon Oct. 5 to help raise funds for its operations.
For its second operating year starting Oct. 1, Canadian County’s family justice center hopes to be awarded an Office on Violence Against Women grant.
For the first year, Cardinal Point was awarded a $213,229 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant and received $144,195 from a Canadian County budget allocation.
Unfortunately, VOCA recipients are facing deep cuts for the upcoming year and Cardinal Point’s VOCA award will be down to $128,000.
Cardinal Point will explore other funding opportunities and will add the annual fundraiser to its efforts.
Check the Cardinal Point website for more information about the Oct. 5th community luncheon.
Anyone interested in hosting a table at the luncheon or making a financial contribution should contact Chandler at (405) 776-0992 or Kristie@cardinalpointok.org.
Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of articles highlighting Cardinal Point, Canadian County’s new family justice center for domestic violence survivors. Read more about Cardinal Point’s Aug. 20th grand opening in an upcoming edition.