Absentee Shawnee Tribe creates new program to help Oklahomans who are victims of elder abuse

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SHAWNEE, Okla. (KFOR) – The Absentee Shawnee Tribe’s Domestic Violence Department has a new program to assist Oklahomans who are victims of elder abuse.

Tribal Victim Services enhances resources for victims by providing legal assistance and case management services.

The program covers Pottawatomie, Oklahoma, and Cleveland counties.

“We have proudly partnered with the Oklahoma Indian Legal Services (OILS) to provide direct legal representation for anyone over the age of 50 whose legal needs are directly related the victimization of elder abuse and includes such things as protective orders, power of attorney, divorce, and custody,” said Wendy Stafford, Cultural Outreach Coordinator for the Absentee Shawnee Tribe’s Domestic Violence Department.

Stafford tells KFOR that the services are open to any race, not just Native Americans- although that is their target population.

The program also provides culturally-specific activities such as talking circles, smudging and sweat lodges for those who are victims of elder abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, childhood sexual and physical abuse as well as to those who have lost loved ones to homicide.

Tribal Victim Services also hopes to increase community understanding of elder abuse through outreach and education.

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