Domestic Violence Resource Center Partners with Police Department
In Oregon alone, state officials report that domestic and sexual violence programs answered nearly 135,000 calls in 2015, for domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and other issues. To tackle the problems, the Tigard Police Department has joined forces with the Hillsboro-based Domestic Violence Resource Center.
As a result of a successful collaboration last fall, a community advocate from the center now works at the Police Station, with the department. The collaboration will support domestic violence investigations or similar incidents. Both organizations hope to reduce barriers for victims accessing services.
The new advocate, Jeanne-Marie Ritter, has worked in victim advocacy services with law enforcement since 2013, in Florida and in Oregon since moving to the state in 2015. Her professional training focused on counseling and mental health services. “Everyone deserves a safe and nurturing home environment,” says Ritter. “Trauma creates lasting harm to victims, children, friends and family and communities.”
Law enforcement agencies know victims experience tremendous stress seeking help from authorities. Advocate-led contact with victims provides opportunities for contact outside of facilities and encourages victims to utilize services. Most communication between a victim’s advocate and clients is confidential.
Expanding Services in Tigard
The Hillsboro-based center offers advocacy, counseling, emergency shelter and transitional housing to victims of domestic violence. It also offers outreach and education to the community.
The organization provides guidance on obtaining protective orders, safety planning and counseling services to youth and adults. The center also operates the county’s only emergency confidential-location shelter for persons fleeing intimate partner violence. Client services cover care for a survivors’ pets and transitional housing.
Ritter notes domestic violence takes many forms, covered by different state and federal laws. The center mostly works on intimate partner violence, dating violence, family violence, stalking, sexual violence and elder abuse.
Ritter will serve the Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood areas as well as eastern Washington County. In addition to providing crisis intervention services and case management, she will do outreach to area agencies and organizations.