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YWCA opens new shelter


Deb Stanaland, chief support services officer, in the Game Room at the new YWCA Thelma Gaylord Emergency Shelter, 9-15-15. - MARK HANCOCK
  • Mark Hancock
  • Deb Stanaland, chief support services officer, in the Game Room at the new YWCA Thelma Gaylord Emergency Shelter, 9-15-15.

The only certified shelter for battered women and their children in Oklahoma City has opened a new location.

The YWCA Thelma Gaylord Emergency Shelter will use its new 27,000-square-foot facility to expand its domestic violence and sexual assault services to women in the metro.

In OKC, about 120 domestic violence cases are turned over to detectives each week.

“Our new shelter is for battered women and women with children in order to escape devastating domestic violence situations in their homes,” said Deb Stanaland, chief support services officer for YWCA Oklahoma City. “We are continuing to offer the same services that we have offered for a very long time, and we will be able to expand those to more than double our capacity.”

At the previous location, YWCA OKC could house 55 women at a time, but the shelter was reaching capacity most of the time, Stanaland said. The new shelter will offer 120 women and their children a safe place to stay for 30 to 45 days.

Oklahoma ranked third in the nation for the number of women killed by men in 2013 and 2014, Stanaland said.

“The Oklahoma [Domestic Violence] Fatality Review Board did a 10-year study, and they discovered that of individuals in single homicide incidents, 98 percent of those never did seek services,” she said. “So we know that our services for domestic violence work.”

The shelter offers services like counseling, medical treatment and exams and economic empowerment programs at no cost to clients staying at the shelter.

Domestic violence and sexual assault counseling is available for adults, and parent-child interaction therapy is available for children.

Specially trained nurses administer rape and sexual assault exams and can address related medical needs in the clinic.

Once a week, The Healing Hands Foundation, an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization and a service site of Community Heath Center, Inc., sends nurse practitioners to attend to clients’ minor medical needs.

Last year, YWCA OKC helped provide a safe place to stay for a little more than 1,200 women, Stanaland said. The shelter provided 11,357 safe nights, and staff administered over 400 rape exams.

Encompassing all of its services, the shelter served more than 3,000 clients in person and almost 21,000 more clients through the crisis hotlines, outreach programs and prevention education.

These services are made necessary by the nation’s statistics.

One in four women in our society is a victim of domestic assault, Stanaland said, and one in three girls is sexually abused by the age of 18.

Stanaland said the Thelma Gaylord Emergency Shelter was funded by about $15 million raised by a council of six individuals who reached out to businesses, organizations and individuals in the community.

Print Headline: Hopeful shelter, The YWCA Thelma Gaylord Emergency Shelter provides a safe haven for women and their children.

This story was updated online on Oct. 21 to correct a typo in the information box. — Ed.

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