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SALT LAKE CITY — It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but for others, it’s a time of stress — especially for those in abusive relationships.
Advocates say this time can be tough, but they want victims across the state to know there is help always, including over the holidays.
“For a lot of people during the holiday season, there’s this perception that we might not be open or that if we call, no one is going to answer,” said Josie White, of South Valley Services.
At the shelter in Salt Lake County, victims who come with nothing but the clothes on their back are able to pick out clothing and other items they need at the “boutique” as they get back on their feet.
It’s one of the many services that South Valley and other shelters are standing by to provide this time of year.
“There’s so much additional guilt around the holidays and the perception that they just have to get this particular wonderful for their families,” said Kimmi Wolf of the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition.
Wolf said UDVC does tend to see an uptick in reports after the holidays.
“When we see an increase in police reports, that’s actually going to be a positive thing. We want people to reach out. We know it’s happening,” Wolf said.
In July, a new state law went into effect which directs law enforcement agencies to conduct a lethality assessment when they respond to these types of calls. The assessment is then looked at by the Department of Public Safety.
“The police officers, when they’re on the scene, they’re not just looking for the actual physical altercation,” Wolf said. “They’re asking so much more. They’re asking for a three-dimensional picture of what that victim is going through.”
Resources are not just available for victims, but for family and friends of anyone looking to help and wanting to be prepared.
“If you see something, don’t be afraid to say something,” White said. “Make sure the potential victim and abuser are separated when you say something just to avoid conflict or escalating that conflict.”
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-897-LINK (5465). For a list of different shelters across the state, click here.
If you have experienced sexual violence, you can access help and resources by calling Utah’s 24-hour Sexual Violence Help Line at 1-801-736-4356 (English) or 1-801-924-0860 (Spanish). You can also call the Rape Recovery Center office line during office hours at 801-467-7282 or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 for free, confidential counseling.
Domestic violence resources
Help for people in abusive relationships can be found by contacting: