Domestic violence advocates highlight changes to get victims help

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – Domestic Violence advocates are highlighting the services available to victims after another incident led to a woman’s death Wednesday morning. They note protective orders have been made easier for victims to get, but they often need additional help which services provide. 

Executive Director Jenn Oxborrow of the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition notes that since 2000 more than 40 percent of all homicides in our state have been domestic violence related.

The most dangerous times for a victim is when they try to leave their abuser because they’re often losing power they had over the person. She believes that’s what happened in Millcreek on Wednesday.

“This is a case where an abusive partner had lost control and was seeking ultimate control,” said Oxborrow.

The victim, in that case, had filed for a temporary separation.

Oxborrow said many victims don’t try to get legal protection because they think it’s too hard, or won’t stop their abuser.

“Less than two percent of domestic violence homicide victims in Utah had an order of protection at the time of their murder,” said Oxborrow.

Advocates said studies have shown they do help and give a victim protections that are enforceable.

Erin Jemison is the Director of Public Policy for the YWCA of Utah. She notes protective orders are about a lot more than just a piece of paper.

“If that piece of paper doesn’t feel like the most effective tool I think a lot of the services that come along with getting that protective order is what we see that does work,” said Jemison.

Just last year Utah lawmakers made it easier for a person to obtain a protective order. A new law makes strangulation a felony, which could lead to victims getting help earlier.

Advocates note the trouble of getting an order often has to do with the trauma a victim is experiencing.

“They’re often trying to balance the struggles of finding a house, job, taking care of kids,” said Jamison. “So really it’s the assistance in getting the order.”

YWCA provides legal help for victims through their Family Justice Center. Jemison said unlike a crime, victims don’t need as much evidence to get a protective order. They will help them fill out the forms.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic violence you can contact The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition at 1-800-897-5465. They can also contact YWCA at (801) 537-8600.

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