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Utah domestic violence shelter reports case increase during summer

Posted at 5:17 PM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-21 19:17:51-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah domestic violence shelter says they see more survivors of domestic abuse trying to leave dangerous situations and seeking resources during the summer.

Hannah Swenson is a proud cat mom, but the 23-year-old is also speaking out about her experience as a survivor of sexual abuse.

"I got married when I was 19," Swenson said. "It was just a constant battle of him touching me and being inappropriate and again at the time I think it didn’t really hit me that it was abuse."

The Utah Domestic Violence coalition reports that one in three Utah women experience some form of domestic violence or sexual abuse and some shelters say in the summer, they see those cases increase even more.

"Anytime circumstances change, stressors change, whether that be kids are home or kids are not home or warmer temperatures or cooler temperatures," explained Ashley Berry, who serves as the residential services director for Peace House, "I think there are all sorts of changes of what might be a trigger or something that might cause someone to feel added stress that may increase those things."

Those "triggers" could look like children spending more time inside the home with hot temperatures.

"It’s always about one person trying to get power and control over another," Berry said. "We have seen cases where kids cause an increase of noise at home so maybe if the noise level in the home is something that increases stress."

No matter what the case may be, shelter workers want survivors to come forward and get resources.

"Regardless of how busy or how full of shelter is there’s always help available we don’t turn people away from safety because we’re full," Berry explained.

As someone who experienced domestic abuse herself, Swenson said seeking out help is the first step in discovering your own true happiness.

"I would encourage anyone to reach out because it gets easier and your life can get better after abuse," she said. "It doesn’t have to be the thing that defines you and you deserve to be happy and you can find happiness and get away from those unhealthy situations."

Domestic violence victim resources (free, 24/7, confidential):

  • Utah Domestic Violence Coalition:
    • Hotline: 1-800-897-LINK (5465)
    • Online help: udvc.org
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
  • If you or someone else is in immediate danger, or in an emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately.