Pawhuska, OK – The Osage Nation Family Violence Prevention Department (ONFVPD) and the Pawhuska Police Department have entered a partnership to work together to keep victims safe and hold offenders accountable.
According to Director Olivia Gray, “Chief Silva reached out to us regarding a victim of domestic violence on a case he was working on and our conversation progressed to bigger picture issues. I provided him with the draft of a protocol for law enforcement response to domestic violence and sexual assault. A few days later, Chief Silva invited our staff to attend a meeting with his officers to introduce them to the protocol and get moving on it.”
In 2017, ONFVPD developed a smaller version of the law enforcement protocol for domestic violence calls and distributed it to all law enforcement agencies on the Osage Reservation after being called to the scene of a few domestic violence situations by Osage County Sheriff’s Deputies. At that time, Mrs. Gray spoke to Sheriff Eddie Virden about collaborating on the development of a protocol. “Sheriff Virden just ended up asking me to write it and he would make sure it was followed by his deputies. I researched for over a month and finally sat down and started putting it down on paper.” Gray said.
The first draft of the protocol only addressed domestic violence. When the protocol was updated in late 2019, sexual assault and domestic violence by strangulation were added. According to Gray, “We have a grant that is specifically for sexual assault services that I don’t think a lot of people know about, and strangulation is always a cause for concern in the work that we do here.”
The 2020 protocol has been submitted for technical review and will then be submitted to the Office of Violence Against Women for approval. ONFVPD staff is hopeful that the protocol will be implemented in the next 30 days and that more law enforcement agencies located within the boundaries of the Osage Reservation will follow the lead of the Pawhuska Police Department.
In regards to the protocol, Chief Nick Silva said, “we are definitely excited about the partnership and the cooperation that we are going to have between the departments. This partnership will allow us to better serve and protect the victims in the community and the surrounding areas.”
For more information about the Osage Nation, please visit: https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/
For more information about the Osage Nation Family Violence Program, please visit: https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/what-we-do/counseling-center/domestic-violence