Domestic Violence Intervention Services, Inc. (DVIS) started in 1976, when an abuse victim helped organize a task force to provide telephone crisis counseling for victims of abuse. Within just three years, the Tulsa Task Force for Battered Women grew from a telephone crisis line to an agency addressing the full scope of family violence.
In the beginning, women in danger were sheltered in safe homes until the first DVIS shelter for battered women was opened in May 1981. The original shelter could house up to 25 women and children, but by the mid-80s, the existing shelter was not sufficient to meet the demand for emergency shelter services. Thanks to many volunteers and generous community support, a capital campaign was launched in 1985 to build a new shelter, one of the largest in the country, and one of the few built specifically for domestic violence victims. DVIS’ current 50-bed shelter opened in July 1986 and now houses almost 1,000 women and children each year.
In 2000, DVIS completed a one-year capital campaign that raised the funds to purchase a new home for the administrative and outpatient counseling offices. The campaign enabled DVIS to purchase and renovate an apartment complex that allowed Sojourner’s Inn, our transitional living program, to double in size and house up to 48 women and children. The new administrative office and Sojourner’s Inn opened their doors in summer 2001.
Over the years, DVIS has become a different and much larger organization. Many other major cities have just one agency that serves both domestic violence and sexual assault victims, and now Tulsa is following the same course. On January 10, 2005, DVIS announced the unification of DVIS and Call Rape to serve survivors of domestic and sexual violence in our community. At the request of the Tulsa Area United Way, DVIS merged with Call Rape to increase the efficiency and quality of services offered. The addition of sexual assault services to DVIS’ continuum of care furthers our goal of stopping violence in the community.
Because of the breadth of our services, DVIS has become a national model for violence prevention and intervention.