The Pryor Times

December 10, 2013

Safenet director advocate of the year

Staff Writer
Susan Wagoner

PRYOR, OK — Safenet Services in Pryor is home to the 2013 Advocate of the Year for the State of Oklahoma with Director Pam. For security reasons, Pam rarely uses her last name. And she would certainly rather run the spotlight than be in one.

Nominated for the award by Pryor Police Domestic Violence Officer Corporal Sioux Greninger, Pam was honored at a ceremony in Oklahoma City in October.

“It’s the biggest honor I’ve received, second to motherhood,” she said.

The Sixth Annual Excellence in Action Against Domestic Violence Awards, hosted at the capitol, is a joint venture involving Attorney General Scott Pruitt, the District Attorneys Council, Verizon Wireless, the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and the YWCA.

Pam said while the honor bears her name, her success is a team effort.

“I can’t do a third of what I do without my assistant Maggie, and certainly not without the help and support of Sioux Greninger,” she said. “However, it is certainly a privilege to be named.”

The center, located on North Coo-Y-Yah Street in Pryor, is a satellite office of the chief location in Claremore which includes a domestic abuse shelter.

Serving both Rogers and Mayes Counties, the satellite office is funded through the Rogers County location. Funding remains a challenge.

“It’s a constant struggle with the funding environment,” Pam said, adding that she recently got word that more cuts are coming, forcing her to reduce the hours of her assistant.

Though the money continues to decrease, the need for the services continues to increase.

Safenet Services is the only certified domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking agency in Rogers and Mayes County. In 2012, the agency assisted with the filing of 285 protective orders and spent 915 hours of protective order court assistance.

“We absolutely have a problem with domestic violence in Mayes County,” Pam said. In 2011, the homicide rate among females murdered by males ranked Oklahoma third in the United States.

Pam said domestic violence robs victims of the safety they should have in their own home.

“Safety is a basic human right, no one has the right to take it from you.” she said. “The family unit is the basic building block of our society.”

She referred to a prison study in Pennsylvania that revealed 94 percent of incarcerated adult males were raised as either victims or witnesses to violence in the home. Not 94 percent of those jailed for domestic violence, but 94 percent of the total male prison population.

“We have to work with both victims and offenders,” Pam said, adding that currently there is no offender program, but she hopes to add one in the future.

“We have to do what we can to support victims and hold offenders accountable,” she said.

Even facing budget cuts, Pam has a vision for the future of Safenet in Mayes County.

She hopes to be able to acquire a duplex or another option that would provide two living units to be used as emergency shelter locations.

Pam said in addition to pressing financial needs, the agency needs legal help as well.

“We need legal representation for our clients,” she said. “Legal Aid is available and we use them, but they are just completely overloaded. We need legal help for these women.”

The center offers counseling and consultation, therapeutic group sessions, special sessions, safety planning, supervised visitation and exchanges and volunteer programs.

Safenet also oversees the Second Impressions Resale Boutique at 409 S. Mill St. There is also a location in Claremore. Proceeds from the shops benefit Safenet’s domestic violence shelter. Hours are Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Pam is completely devoted to those seeking help to stop the cycle of abuse and change their lives.

“I’m willing to do anything that’s legal and moral to help someone escape abuse,” Pam said.

That kind of commitment is no doubt the reason Pam was selected for the award.

To contact Safenet, call the crisis line at 888-372-9400 or 918-825-0190.