Survivors come first at Cardinal Point

Canadian County’s family justice center has served 600-plus domestic violence survivors

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Cardinal Point’s family justice center staff is led by CEO Kristie Chandler (center), client services coordinator Jennifer Coulson (left) and navigator Amanda Hillyard. Cardinal Point has served more than 600 domestic violence survivors over the past 18 months. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

More than 600 domestic violence survivors have received over 1,700 services since Canadian County’s family justice center opened 18 months ago.

Cardinal Point’s tagline is “A Direction for Hope.”

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“When we’re on the path to healing, some of us go in different directions which are our own uniquely,” CEO Kristie Chandler said.

“We respect that. We just want to be a ‘stop’ and a direction for hope in anyone’s path who might be hurting in our community. That’s why we call this event ‘Honoring Hope’.”

Chandler comments came Oct. 4 as she addressed the audience at a domestic violence awareness luncheon hosted by Yukon’s Discovery Church, 900 E Main.

One of three family justice centers in Oklahoma, Cardinal Point brings together services in one central location through a collaborative effort.

Cardinal Point and its resource partners serve domestic violence survivors in a 5,100-square-foot space at the Canadian County Children’s Justice Center, 7905 E Highway 66 in El Reno.

“The work is hard,” Chandler said. “We lean on our community to keep us going.”

Guest speaker for the second annual luncheon was domestic violence survivor Sherrica Buckingham, an Oklahoma City police homicide detective (see related story).

“It doesn’t matter who you are, what kind of family you come from, how much money you have, or the people you know,” Chandler told the audience. “You just never know when something like domestic violence or another type of crime of abuse may touch somebody that you care about.”

District Attorney Mike Fields, chairman of Cardinal Point’s board of trustees, said the vision of Cardinal Point is to put survivors at the center of the system’s response to domestic violence and sexual assault.

Cardinal Point provides a hope-filled, victim-centered approach – which seeks the best interests of victims above all else.

“We are indeed the dreamers, the doers and those who have dared to imagine a different way,” Fields advised luncheon attendees. “In just a short time, we’ve transformed the way services are provided to survivors in Canadian County.

“Hope was the genesis of the vision and hope is the guiding principle that centers upon everything that we do.”

Fields explained how Cardinal Point guides survivors to the “outcome of their choosing” while inspiring, promoting, building, and sustaining hope in those they serve.

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A TRUE MISSION

Heidi Oliver, a 24-year domestic violence survivor, asked luncheon attendees to consider making a gift to support Canadian County’s family justice center.

Cardinal Point board member Heidi Oliver, a 24-year domestic violence survivor, asks “Honoring Hope” luncheon attendees to consider making a gift to support the Canadian County family justice center. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

Oliver, the secretary-treasurer of Cardinal Point’s board of trustees, was silent for many years about her abuse experience.

“I found my true mission, to help those in our community – who might be our neighbor – in their time of hurt and their time of need,” she told the audience.

“Helping those in Canadian County who are victims of domestic violence is a very strong passion of mine.”

Oliver wants to make more people aware of resources available through Cardinal Point.

“You could have friends or people in your office who you work with that could be the next victim,” she said.

CEO Chandler leads Cardinal Point’s day-to-day operations. Also on staff are client services coordinator Jennifer Coulson and navigator Amanda Hillyard.

Other board members are Canadian County Commissioner Dave Anderson (vice-chair), domestic violence professional Jacqueline Steyn and Undersheriff Kevin Ward.

Cardinal Point’s resource partners are Intervention and Crisis Advocacy Network (ICAN), the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office, Legal Aid of Oklahoma, The Canadian County Children’s Justice Center, the District Attorney’s Office, and SafeCare.

Also at Oct. 4th Honoring Hope luncheon, Lori Jones of Haven of Hope pet rescue was presented Cardinal Point’s Compass Award for providing a safe place to help hurting animals.

For more information, visit www.cardinalpointok.org or call (405) 776-0990.

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