Resources available to help domestic violence victims

Posted at 8:06 PM, Dec 21, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-21 22:10:09-05

SALT LAKE CITY - A deadly officer-involved shooting in Taylorsville was followed hours later by a police standoff in West Valley City on Thursday. Police say both incidents stemmed from episodes of domestic violence.

Domestic violence advocates say the number of incidents increases during this time of the year, but many of those victims don't report the violence or leave the dangerous situation.

"There's a lot of stressors that can aggravate new incidents of domestic violence," said Claudia McDonald, a victims' advocate. "Fear paralyzes, fear stops people even when resources are there."

McDonald says there are more resources for domestic violence victims than ever, but the key to getting out of a violent situation is that the victim is willing to leave. In addition to helping those who have already escaped, McDonald works to make sure everyone is aware of places - like the South Valley Sanctuary, the Family Justice Center and local police departments - they can go to for help.

"And what we do is try to hold their hands through that fear and help them manage the obstacles they have to overcome to be able to leave their abuser," McDonald said.

Those resources are always available, even on Christmas and other holidays.