K.I. SAWYER, Mich. (WLUC) - An open house was held Thursday for the opening of the K.I. Sawyer Blueprint for Safety Offices. The facility, which is part of the Blueprint for Safety Domestic Violence Project, will be staffed by Women’s Center advocates and law enforcement personnel.
"It's a collaboration between the prosecutor’s office, law enforcement, Joshua One-Seven, and the Women's Center to help bring services out here to the survivors of domestic and sexual violence," said Women’s Center Sexual Assault Program Coordinator, Michelle Fortunato.
Officials say there are two reasons the facility was put in the area: the high domestic violence crime rate, and because it can be difficult for survivors in the area to travel to Marquette for help. In fact, the crime rate was what officials used to write the grant that helped them secure the building for this purpose.
"The Forsyth Township jurisdiction had approximately 23 percent of our domestic violence cases in 2017 and the population of Forsyth Township makes up about 8 percent of the county population. So, 8 percent of the population was accounting for about 23 percent of our cases, and that was in 2017 and that was the data that we used to base the data we used for our grant," said Marquette County Prosecuting Attorney, Matt Wiese.
Domestic violence survivors can expect the same services through this new facility as the services offered at the Women's Center in Marquette. An officer will also be available for survivors to talk to and file reports with.
"We can work with all survivors: men, women, and children of domestic and sexual violence. We can help with housing resources, we can help find any type of resource you need to get you to a safe place," added Fortunato.
Wiese added that after a long time of planning and cooperation from many agencies, he's hopeful the new facility will have a positive impact on the community.
"We have a great community, but we also need to have the best possible response we can have for survivors of these crimes," Wiese said.
The new center will be staffed Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on the Women’s Center, visit their website.