Domestic violence in Utah higher than national average

Posted at 4:50 PM, Jul 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-12 00:09:47-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- In the aftermath of a spate of domestic violence-related murders with ties to Utah, victim advocates are scrambling to get the word out about resources to help prevent killings.

They're also calling attention to Utah's high levels of domestic violence.

"We have a serious problem," said Jenn Oxborrow, a domestic violence program administrator with the Utah Division of Child and Family Services.

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Numbers provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that one in three women in Utah will experience domestic violence, compared to one in four nationwide, Oxborrow said.

A recent study by the Utah Department of Health found that approximately 32 percent of all homicides in the state were domestic violence-related. On average, there is a domestic violence-related murder every 33 days, and approximately three domestic violence-related suicides every month.

Read the study by the Utah Department of Health here:

With such high numbers, resources to provide help to victims are stretched thin. DCFS contracts with a number of shelters and non-profit groups. But the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition said in rural areas, the nearest shelter can be hundreds of miles away.

An analysis of shelters found that some counties have no shelters for abuse victims.

A map of domestic violence shelters in Utah. (Information provided by UDVC)

A map of domestic violence shelters in Utah. (Information provided by UDVC)

"We are looking at a domestic violence victim service that is at capacity and our funding for that system of care is very, very tight," said Oxborrow.

Despite the hurdles, victim advocates said they will do whatever it takes to provide help to those in need.

"There is help available," said UDVC's Kendra Wyckoff. "There are resources available statewide."

If you or someone you love is in a violent relationship, call 1-800-897-LINK (5465).

More information on how to help can be found from the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition.