WEST JORDAN (ABC4 News) – We’ve all been spending more time at home during the Covid-19 pandemic and for many Utah women that means more time isolated with an abusive partner but now Salt Lake County is stepping in to help.

Another ugly side effect of the pandemic is the rise of domestic violence cases in Utah.

“We see 21% more domestic violence cases handled by Salt Lake County prosecutors,” Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson said Wednesday. “We’re seeing 25% more calls to the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition and we’re seeing nearly 30% more in calls to our local public safety dispatchers.”

Mayor Wilson announced that Salt Lake County is giving $220,000 of CARES Act money to the YWCA and South Valley Services to support survivors of domestic abuse, people like 57 year old Rebecca Thomas who told ABC4 News she that two and a half years ago she was attacked, sexually assaulted and robbed, a traumatic incident that left her without a place to live.

“I was homeless on the street for about a year,” Thomas said. “During that time I had gone from domestic violence shelter to domestic violence shelter or couch surfing or jail. I mean, you name it….I was assaulted three more times during that year. I had a lot of issues. I was a hot mess.”

Rebecca says she suffered from mental health and substance abuse problems and without a roof over her head, couldn’t start putting her life back together.

“Without housing, you can’t make your appointments, you can’t look for work,” she said. “Every night I was worried about where I’m going to lay my head and if this was going to happen to me again. You know I was scared. Nobody belongs out on the street, especially women.”

The counselors at South Valley Services found long-term housing for Rebecca and she says that security turned her life around. Now she volunteers at SVS to help other women who are in the same desperate situation she was two years ago.

“I am a success story and I am a survivor,” she said. “I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for housing.”

If you or someone you know is in an abusive situation, there is free, confidential help available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Just call the YWCA Crisis Line at 801-537-8600 or toll-free at 855-992-2752. Their website is: https://slcfamilyjusticecenter.org/

You can also contact South Valley Services anytime day or night at 801-255-1095 or go to their website: https://svsutah.org/

Home – South Valley ServicesSouth Valley Services is a domestic violence service provider in the Salt Lake Area. We provide safe shelter and services to men, women and children.svsutah.org

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Emily Florez
Rick Aaron, has more than 24 years of experience in television news as an anchor, reporter and producer. Originally from Mississippi, Rick graduated with honors from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies and began working at KTTV Fox 11 in Los Angeles.