At Ray of Hope Advocacy Center, we hear a lot of tough questions with complicated, deep answers or, unfortunately, no easy answer. Our agency works hard to ensure that the community understands our organization and the children we serve. Family violence is a complex issue and we’ve found that there are some common questions that people have about how we help kids and families impacted by trauma and abuse.
Are children at higher risk for abuse and neglect during the pandemic?
During times of crisis, like the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that the risk for family violence is increased. Isolation, financial concerns, job loss, and health issues can all be factors that increase stress or reduce our ability to deal with stress. When kids and families are isolated, it’s easy for kids in vulnerable situations to fall through the cracks. We count on community members like teachers, doctors, and neighbors to help create a safety net for kids and families.
We believe that as our community becomes more aware of the signs of abuse and becomes empowered to respond and report, the kids in our community will be safer.
If you see something, make a report. In Oklahoma, call the OKDHS Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-522-3511.
What types of child abuse does Ray of Hope see most often?
While Ray of Hope does not respond to every child abuse or neglect case in our community, we do respond to the most serious cases. Child sexual abuse victims represent more than half of the children we help and are the largest sector we serve. Children who have suffered physical abuse, witness to violence, neglect, and witness to drug activity are also often seen at Ray of Hope.
I’ve been hearing a lot about Child Trafficking. How do I keep my family safe?
Child Trafficking has been in the news, and it’s important for us to learn the risk factors and how to protect kids or vulnerable adults in our community. Significant risk factors include recent migration or relocation, substance use, mental health concerns, involvement with the juvenile justice or child welfare system, and being a runaway or homeless youth. Often, traffickers identify and exploit their victims’ vulnerabilities in order to create dependency.
If you or someone you know is the victim of human trafficking call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
What services are provided at Ray of Hope?
Following allegations of child abuse, Ray of Hope Advocacy Center’s on-site services include forensic interviews, forensic medical exams, multi-disciplinary team coordination, court preparation, community education and victim and child advocacy. We also refer children and families to outside agencies for mental health and other support services. We know that often the children that we see at Ray of Hope benefit from the amazing services that other area nonprofits can provide. When children don’t have access to adequate food and nutrition, we may refer them to Agape or Mary Martha Outreach. If families need after school support and mentoring, we might connect them with the Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers and Big Sisters or the Mutual Girls Club.
How are children referred to Ray of Hope?
Children are referred to Ray of Hope from local law enforcement and child protective services agencies following a child abuse disclosure or allegations of abuse. Any concerns of child abuse need to be reported to law enforcement or the OKDHS Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-522-3511.
What is the age range of children served at Ray of Hope?
Ray of Hope serves children from birth to 18 years old.
What is a forensic interview?
A forensic interview is a legally sound, developmentally appropriate way to elicit a child’s statement about a abuse or neglect allegations. A forensic interview is conducted at a child advocacy center, like Ray of Hope, by a trained specialist and video-recorded to reduce the need for further interviews. The entire process focuses on obtaining an objective statement necessary for child abuse prosecution while minimizing any additional trauma to the child victim.
How can I file for Crime Victims Compensation?
Oklahoma Crime Victims Compensation (OCVC) may be available if you or someone you love suffered a physical or psychological injury due to a violent crime that occurred anywhere in the state of Oklahoma. To file a report online visit Oklahoma Crime Victims Compensation. If you need assistance completing your application, call our office at 918.337.6177 and an advocate will be happy to assist you.
How can I get notification of the status of the offender in my child abuse, domestic violence or sexual assault case?
To register to receive notification of offender custody status changes and criminal case information please visit Oklahoma VINE. If you need assistance with your registration, call our office at 918.337.6177 and an advocate will be happy to assist you.
What service area does Ray of Hope cover?
Ray of Hope’s primary service area includes Washington, Nowata, and Osage Counties. We do serve children in southeast Kansas and other nearby areas as needed depending on what is in the best interest of the child and investigation.
What is Ray of Hope’s future?
We will always remain true to our mission and respond to survivors of child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. But we know to see a true decline in abuse, more and better prevention and treatment services need to be provided to break those cycles. We are working to train community members, educators, and child-serving organizations on child abuse prevention and response best practices.
If you have questions that we’ve missed, give us a call. We’d love to personally answer your questions or schedule a tour of our facility.