Story by: Sydnee Gonzalez
In Utah, one out of every three women will experience domestic violence at some point in their lifetime.
Since 2000, 42% of adult homicides in the Beehive State were domestic-violence related.
A firearm was a weapon in 59% of these cases.
These were among the chilling statistics recited during the global Week Without Violence campaign sponsored by YWCA annually, which pushes to end gender-based violence and increase support for survivors.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened the issue, with the pandemic’s aftermath compounding the obstacles domestic violence survivors face.
“The reality is that in many cases, the pandemic has exacerbated some of the fears and anxieties and uncertainties that are attached to leaving an abusive situation,” Maddie Gardner, YWCA Utah’s marketing and communications manager, said. “For some individuals, staying at home is not an option for them because home is unsafe.”
Although the YWCA has seen a similar number of individuals coming in for services, Gardner said those individuals now need more services, such as unemployment help.
Meanwhile, the YWCA has a reduced capacity to meet those services needs, especially crisis shelter. This is due both to a heightened difficulty in transitioning individuals out safely and a reduction in availability as facilities align with safety protocols, said Gardner.
She hailed the Salt Lake Area Family Justice Center, where professionals can take a holistic approach to identifying the needs and providing assistance to anyone who walks through the doors or calls.
On top of providing safe, confidential free services for domestic violence survivors, the Salt Lake Area Family Justice Center also offers resources for victims of sexual assault, stalking and elder abuse.
Individuals who find themselves in a violent or abusive environment can call the YWCA’s confidential, 24-hour hotline at 801-537-8600 (the toll-free number is 855-992-2752) or can visit Salt Lake Area Family Justice Center at 310 E 300 S in Salt Lake City from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
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