There is never an expectation that survivors report to law enforcement, but The Friendship Center works closely with local law enforcement to promote safety and prevent future instances of violence in our community. TFC does not engage law enforcement without the explicit consent of our clients, but officers who respond to reports of domestic violence are trained to screen every victim using an assessment that gauges their risk for homicide based on known lethality factors. If a victim shows a high risk, the officer will call our 24/7 crisis line from the scene, giving the victim an option to speak directly with an advocate about our services and any immediate safety concerns they might have.
Our advocates have a particularly close working relationship with detectives who specialize in investigating domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking—the four crimes that communities receive federal resources to address through the Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA. As part of our work with local VAWA detectives, our advocates can help arrange both initial and follow-up reports of victimization at a client’s request. Officers can (and often do) come to our offices to take the report, but our advocates can also accompany clients to law enforcement offices depending on where they're most comfortable making a report.
Following a report, our advocates may continue working with law enforcement to stay apprised of the investigation; track a perpetrator's arrest, charge, or incarceration status; or assist a victim with obtaining a protective order. Officers can also contact TFC if they're concerned about someone who might be in a dangerous situation, or have information on a victim or offender that may help our advocates provide more comprehensive services.
Reporting a Crime
If you've experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, and aren't sure whether you want to make a report to law enforcement, The Friendship Center is here to help with free, 24/7, confidential services for survivors. Our advocates can help at any point to talk through options, offer support, and assist you in working with law enforcement if you choose to report a crime.
If you'd like to report a VAWA crime, you can do so by contacting local law enforcement (based on your location):
Helena Police Department VAWA Detective Steven Cornish 406.447.8828
Lewis and Clark County VAWA Detective Jess Metcalf 406.447.8245 (outside of Helena city limits)
East Helena Police Department 406.227.8686
Broadwater County Sheriff's Department 406.266.3441
Jefferson County Sheriff's Department 406.225.4075
The Friendship Center is just one of many organizations in our community working to ensure everyone is supported with care and dignity.