Crystal Police Partner with Domestic Violence Victim Advocacy Firm
With October serving as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Crystal police are highlighting a new partnership they’ve formed with a victims’ advocacy group.
The Minneapolis-based nonprofit Tubman is providing victims of domestic violence in Crystal with legal services and a safe place to spend the night.
The Crystal Police Department began partnering with Tubman early in 2023.
“Obviously we are not immune to [domestic violence] in this community” said Crystal Deputy Police Chief Brian Hubbard. “One of the things that continues to be mind-boggling to me is that you drive around our neighborhoods, you drive around in more affluent neighborhoods in the community that I previously worked in, and look at houses that on the outside seem all put together. And unfortunately, my partners and I have the opportunity to walk into a house that is far from put together in situations like this.”
When Crystal police encounter incidents of domestic violence, they connect the victim with the nonprofit.
According to Jennifer Dickinson, director of legal services at Tubman, the agency can provide a variety of services to victims.
If victims need a shelter for the night, the organization has a 90-bed shelter program in Maplewood.
The agency tries to “make sure that it’s safe [for victims], and if things go south at some point [they make sure victims] know they can always reach out and we’d be happy to help,” Dickinson said. “So developing that trust and relationship is really core to that piece.”
The agency also offers mental and clinical health services.
A network of more than 200 attorneys can help victims navigate the court system for legal requests such as a no-contact order or a divorce.
Building Relationships in Crystal
The partnership has allowed advocates at Tubman to build closer relationships with their clients.
“One of the things we’ve been doing is spending more time at the police department,” Dickinson said. “We have a core group of advocates that cover the cases in Crystal, and it’s really nice to be able to build that relationship with the clients we serve. As you know, domestic violence typically isn’t a one-time thing … it’s a cycle of violence. And often times there’s more than one case … It’s really about developing that trust, developing that rapport.”
By keeping regular office hours at the Crystal Police Department, Dickinson said advocates have also built new relationships with police.
“The officers have been really great about sending over reports or sending over information specific to a case,” Dickinson said. “All of those pieces are really great in terms of working together and helping us to do a better job overall.”
Crystal police are displaying purple lights on their buildings through October to show support for victims.
“I would urge, I would almost beg if I could, that if you or someone you know is in a situation that is unsafe, that you make sure that you reach out for some assistance,” Hubbard said. “It’s not just as easy as get out.”