City leaders working to reduce domestic violence deaths with Family Justice Center

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Over the past five years, 20 percent of the murders in Oklahoma City have involved men killing their wives or girlfriends, according to police.

OCPD officers have responded to about 33,000 domestic violence calls in the last year.

One of those led police to Laura Brooks’ apartment.

The devoted mother of four was found dead.

Her boyfriend is accused of beating the 27-year-old to death.

"It just hurts my heart to know she suffered like she did," her brother Benjamin Brooks told NewsChannel 4 back in July. "I just wish she would have reached out to more people."

Preventing deaths like Laura’s is why dozens of Oklahoma City leaders gathered at the Civic Center Tuesday morning.

They are working to build a Family Justice Center.

"The Family Justice Center will move important agencies that already exist in our community in one location, so victims of crime can get the best services in one location," said Kim Garrett, the Family Justice Center Project Director.

Right now, victims sometimes have to go through 30 separate agencies to find the help they need.

"For some victims, often times, that is a barrier to accessing resources, and they go back," Garrett said.

The center’s purpose is to also prevent children from being scarred by violence and potentially becoming criminals themselves.

"If you look at the issues that are driving our jail population, our prison population and the level of violence in our community, it all goes back to the family and where these kids start," said David Prater, Oklahoma County District Attorney.

Already existing family justice centers have proved to be a success in other cities.

The one in San Diego reportedly has reduced domestic related homicides by 95 percent.

Leaders in Oklahoma City believe one in our state would save lives.

"This is where we need to be right now to really address the issues," Prater said.

There is no word on when a family justice center would be created in Oklahoma City.

Organizers are working to raise money to get one started.

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