Funds enhance and expand community response to domestic violence
October 15, 2012 – Salt Lake Area Family Justice Center Director Asha Parekh and Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank today announced a $900,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women.
“This grant will allow the Salt Lake Area Family Justice Center to expand our services within the community, and continue helping domestic violence survivors gain access to resources,” said Asha Parekh, Director of the Salt Lake Area Family Justice Center.
The grant represents an almost 50% increase over prior funding received and will enhance a coordinated community response to domestic violence in the Salt Lake area, building on strong existing collaborations among governmental and nonprofit service providers. It will also significantly strengthen victim safety and increase offender accountability.
This grant will address domestic violence by improving the quality and quantity of integrated services available for victims of domestic violence at the Salt Lake Area Family Justice Center and increasing activities in response to domestic violence-related offenses, including arrests of protective order violators. Specifically, the additional funds will enable the following in various Salt Lake County jurisdictions:
- Overtime pay for police detectives, which will allow them more time to make more timely arrests when protective orders are violated.
- A prosecuting attorney for Salt Lake County’s District Attorney’s Office to develop a collaborative project with the courts, District Attorney’s Office, and the Department of Corrections to increase offender accountability at the third district level.
- Strengthen the Salt Lake City Police Department’s work with victims of domestic violence.
“Since June of this year, Domestic Violence detectives have been housed at the YWCA Center for Families, leading to better investigative outcomes and collaboration with the courts and social service providers,” said Chris Burbank, Salt Lake City Police Chief. “It only makes sense that we work together to not only facilitate the judicial and recovery process for victims of domestic violence, but in some small way to ease their burden and demonstrate the support of the community.”
The announcement of this grant kicks off the YWCA’s 18th annual Week Without Violence, October 14-20, 2012. Week Without Violence is a public awareness campaign featuring a series of events designed to educate, to encourage thoughtful conversation, and to renew the search for solutions to the problems of violence in families and communities. Free events and activities will be offered during the week. For more information please visit www.ywca.com.
About Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a significant and serious problem in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County and the state of Utah.
- According to the Utah Department of Health, Utah women experience over 169,000 intimate partner-related physical assaults and rapes each year (Utah Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey, 2008).
- In an incidence and prevalence study of domestic violence in Utah, more than one in three women reported that they have been a victim of some sort of domestic violence (The Face of Domestic Violence in Utah, Dan Jones and Associates, Inc., 2005).
- While the overall homicide rate in Utah has dropped in the last several years, the rate of domestic homicides has increased. In 2011 there were 45 homicides in Utah, 26 (57%) were the result of domestic violence (Salt Lake Tribune, January 2, 2012).
- Since 2000, domestic violence-related homicides have accounted for 40% of all adult homicides in Utah (No More Secrets: Utah Domestic and Sexual Violence Report 2010).
- In addition to homicides, last year 3,751 domestic violence criminal charges were filed in district courts statewide, 1,903 of those were filed in Salt Lake County (Utah Domestic Violence Council Report, 2011).
About the Salt Lake Area Family Justice Center
Since opening in May 2007, the Salt Lake Area Family Justice Center has served 3,691 individual victims and survivors of family violence. Of these, 2,001 returned for additional follow-up services – resulting in 14,755 visits since the FJC opened its doors five years ago. Ninety percent of victims were from Salt Lake County; only 53% of them came from Salt Lake City. In the last fiscal year alone there were 700 visitors with 427 returning for services, totaling 3,861 visits.
In June 2012, the Salt Lake Area Family Justice Center moved into its new home within the YWCA’s Center for Families. Women and men from anywhere in Salt Lake County who are suffering in abusive relationships can enter the secure, private space of the FJC and find safety, a warm welcome, an opportunity to choose confidential services that meet their needs, and practical support for the challenges they face. Fourteen community partners now work together in the FJC to offer an array of integrated services including: crisis intervention; emergency shelter options; referrals for medical care; safety planning; resources to help children; short-term therapy; domestic violence police reports; protective orders; criminal prosecution; temporary public benefits; career counseling, job training and employment opportunities; educational assistance; financial planning workshops; and other specialized services. For more information call 801.236.3370 Monday through Friday.
About the YWCA
The YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. For more than 100 years the YWCA has reached out to women and their families with friendship, life-changing programs, and opportunities to learn, lead, and influence the world around them. The YWCA’s enduring belief is that better lives for women – all women – will lead to stronger families and communities.
Since opening the first domestic violence shelter in Utah in 1976, the YWCA has developed an integrated range of programs focused on the problem of family violence. Today the YWCA is Utah’s oldest, largest, and most comprehensive provider of shelter, transitional housing, supportive services, and education for women and children who have experienced abuse and violence at home.