Tulsa public housing requiring domestic violence class

TULSA -- The Housing Authority of the City of Tulsa is reporting a decrease in overall crime at their properties. 

In 2016, there were 464 instances of crime reported. In 2017, there were 358. 

THA attributes part of the more than 20-percent decrease to domestic violence classes. 

A new director took over at THA and made it mandatory that everyone applying for public housing take a domestic violence class.

"With the client population we serve, extremely low income individuals, there tends to be a higher incidence of domestic violence because of the pressures of just day to day living and we want to make sure our residents have the resources necessary to deal with those," Arthur Wallace, Vice President of Affordable Housing, said. 

THA has teamed up with Domestic Violence Intervention Services or DVIS. Instructors let people in the class know domestic violence is not always physical, which is sometimes information they have never heard before. 

"Some in the crowd were surprised to hear that," Donna Mathews, Chief Operating Officer for DVIS, said. "Others in the crowd were able to give examples of exactly what that would be, meaning like stalking you, telling you you're worth nothing. A lot of emotional abuse can ever go on without even being hit and one of the people said, 'It kind of goes to your heart.'" 

Immediately after the training, a room in THA's building becomes a crisis center for anyone who needs to seek help.

THA said so far, 30 people have come forward because of the classes. 

They report at 22-percent decrease in crime on the properties between 2016 and 2017.

During that same time period, DVIS saw a 70-percent increase in people walking into their office to seek services. 

"We give a lot of the credit to this class, because these people need to hear about these services," Mathews said. "When they hear, they come and they ask for services."

DVIS and THA will help victims get through the abuse, even if that means relocating to another public housing complex to get away from the abuser. 

The classes are every Monday at 1:00 p.m.

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