SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition submitted a funding request, to ensure that their services continue to help victims of domestic violence.
The group’s team provides over 100,000 nights of shelter to victims of domestic violence every year within the state. They answer more than 20,000 crisis calls each year as well, and serve 29 counties.
Jenn Oxborrow, the Executive Director of the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition said that their staff consists of only 13 people, and they are in need of more resources. The coalition submitted a funding request that will be heard by the Utah State Legislature’s Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee on Thursday.
The request is sponsored by Utah State Senator Allen Christensen (R-Ogden).
“We are not intending to use that funding to expand services, but rather to solidify those services and strengthen them, and make sure that people who are at the highest risk of intimate partner homicide are able to be served safely in their communities,” Oxborrow said.
Intimate partner homicide is an issue that the coalition says is a large concern in Utah, and some years has accounted for nearly half of all homicides that occurred in the state. In 2017, 48 lives were lost due to domestic violence related deaths in Utah.
Senator Todd Weiler (R-Woods Cross) and Democratic Rep. Angela Romero (D-Salt Lake City), spoke about SB27, a bill that redefines Utah’s definition of what can be called domestic violence. The new bill includes partners who engage in a consensual sexual relationship as people who can experience domestic violence, rather than just married couples.
Oxborrow also applauded HB125, sponsored by Rep. Brian S. King (D-Salt Lake City). If the bill is passed, individuals who witness a crime or emergency that results in serious harm of another person who don’t notify authorities could be charged with a class B misdemeanor.
“We think it’s a really important bill, because we hear from survivors all the time who know that people were witnessing the verbal assault,” Oxborrow said. “They’ve heard it, they live in the apartment next door, but no one’s ever called. That can have a real chilling effect on a victim of domestic violence when they know people are witnessing it and seeing it, they just aren’t stepping up.”
The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition hopes that the funding request, and the bills from the house and senate will help them ensure that, “high-risk survivors have access to lifesaving services.”
Free and confidential help and support for victims and survivors of domestic violence is available 24/7:
If you or someone else is in immediate danger, or in an emergency, please call 9-1-1 immediately.