Oklahoma is among the worst states when it comes to domestic violence statistics, including the rate of domestic violence as well as intimate partner homicides. In 2020, Oklahoma’s number of reported domestic violence incidents reached its highest point since 2000. The pandemic and subsequent economic circumstances continue to exacerbate certain escalating factors that often result in increased domestic violence.
Financial constraints often serve as a barrier to survivors when they contemplate leaving an abusive situation; abusers frequently exercise financial and economic control such that a survivor with the means to leave may not be able to access their own resources. Edmond seeks to alleviate a small part of that financial barrier by implementing a Family Violence Waiver policy. This is a concept borrowed from several other states (e.g., Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Mississippi) that act to waive the deposit typically required to start, restore, or transfer utility service.
City staff in conjunction with the YWCA and Palomar developed a form that survivors can provide to Utility Customer Service in lieu of their deposit. The form allows three options to verify that the applicant is a survivor of domestic violence but does not require any details or personal information relating to any abuse they have experienced.
A person seeking to have their deposit waived may do so by completing the Domestic Violence Waiver Form and submitting verification in one of the following ways:
By providing the completed form along with a protective order of an incident of such violence within thirty (30) days of the date of the order; or