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Linda D. Axley

2017 Volunteer for Victims Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards
Watch the tribute video

Linda D. Axley | Volunteer for Victims Award
Help in Crisis
Tahlequah, Oklahoma

Linda Axley has effected permanent changes in Tahlequah and the State of Oklahoma during her 37 years of victim advocacy work with Help In Crisis. At the start of her career as an intern psychologist for the Cherokee County Health Department, Ms. Axley began organizing work in the community to develop resources for domestic violence and sexual assault victims in the area. This included recruiting volunteers, arranging training, and finding funding to sustain these new programs, including a crisis line that started in her own home. 

As a result of Ms. Axley’s leadership, a group of committed community members came together over their mutual concerns, organized, raised funds, and offered their own homes as safe spaces to house women and children in crisis. In December 1980, Help In Crisis, Inc., was officially incorporated. Today, the program offers 24-hour access to shelter, crisis intervention, and rape response and advocacy services for over 300 people a year. Many of the recipients are Cherokee tribal citizens, and approximately 75-percent of the victims served are children under the age 12 years old. 

Over the course of almost four decades, Ms. Axley’s work has resulted in over 10,000 people escaping abuse and reaching safety. She also created a permanent shift in the attitudes and awareness of communities in and around Tahlequah, Oklahoma and the surrounding three rural counties about the prevalence and impact of domestic and sexual assault. Ms. Axley brought together the three primary groups of the Tahlequah community: Northeastern State University, the Cherokee Nation, and local city or county government, to support victims of domestic and sexual violence. She also participated in the early development of the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, which offers a platform for all Oklahoma shelters to work together.

2017 National Crime Victims' Service Awards Tribute Video

Watch this video to learn more about Linda D. Axley, 2017 recipient of the Volunteer for Victims Award.