SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – According to the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition (UDVC), the Utah Domestic Violence LINKLine reported a sharp increase during the COVID-19 pandemic. Advocates also said that many victim service providers have reported that the average stay for a victim in a shelter or emergency housing has also seen a substantial increase. In May, ABC4 reported there had also been a spike in domestic violence homicides involving a firearm.
Breaking down the numbers, the Unified Police Department received 3,058 cases of domestic violence in 2020. The numbers appear lower in 2021 with 2,744 so far, but it may be because the City of Taylorsville parted ways with the department. Salt Lake City Police saw nearly 220 cases during both 2020 and 2021 year-to-date.
Liz Solis with the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition and Jenn Oxborrow, the executive director of Allies with Families joined ABC4’s Jason Nguyen for an IN FOCUS discussion. In part one, they discussed how the increase in calls have impacted their organizations, what they think may be behind the increase, how it impacts families and children, and how widespread the issue may be.
In part two, they talked about how a victim builds enough enough strength to leave an abusive relationship, how victims can take steps to open up to a loved one about their situation, what we know about unreported cases, whether survivors are staying in shelters longer than expected, and the strain on resources.
In part three, they analyzed the Gabby Petito case that’s garnered national attention for its focus on intimate partner violence, whether they think Moab Police officers could have done more during their response with her and Brian Laundrie, and whether they think there should be a change in the law to allow for better outcomes, and whether advocates are working on similar cases in Utah.
To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Solis and Oxborrow, click on the video at the top of the article.
Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.
Free and confidential help and support for victims and survivors of domestic or intimate partner violence is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-897-LINK (5465) or online at udvc.org If you or someone else is in immediate danger, or in an emergency, please call 9-1-1 immediately.