SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — The Biden Administration announced Monday it is giving $200 million to support services for survivors of domestic violence, and some of that money is coming to Utah.
Locally, the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition said it could use some of that money since donations have been down more than 30% during the pandemic.
The non-profit added much of the money it receives goes toward education, childcare, helping with legal representation, and housing.
The board members ABC4 spoke to said domestic violence cases and deaths are on the rise during the pandemic.
They called this rise a shadow pandemic.
As we previously reported, three people died this weekend in Utah, and police suspect they all could be linked to domestic violence.
During the pandemic, domestic violence cases and deaths have increased dramatically.
“It certainly is a preventable situation that our society needs more help with, I think,” said Dr. Sonia Salari.
Salari is a professor at the University of Utah and a board member with the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition.
Deaths linked to domestic violence have risen almost 50% from 2019 to 2020 in Utah.
Around the country, domestic violence cases have increased a little more than 8% since the pandemic began, but that number could be higher due to the fact some cases go unreported.
Salari said society needs to step up its effort to help those dealing with domestic violence.
“The wrong thing to say is ‘Why don’t you just leave?'” said Salari. “The right thing to say would be ‘I believe you. I’m here for you in case you want to talk.'”
Money is a vital resource for the UDVC.
Jana Fulmer, a board member for the UDVC, said donations have been down more than 30% during the Covid-19 pandemic, and now with the Biden Administration giving $200 million to support services of domestic violence, this will not just help survivor and victims, but the community.
“Any little bit of financial assistance goes almost directly to that or towards research and awareness,” said Fulmer.
In Utah, one in three experience domestic or sexual violence in their lifetime.
That number for men is one in seven.
Those stats are according to the UDVC.
“This can happen to anyone,” said Fulmer. “There is not one demographic or socioeconomic group or race where they are more vulnerable. We are all vulnerable to this.”
The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition does not know how much money it will receive out of the $200 million from Biden. However, the state awarded more than $3 million to statewide sexual assault and interpersonal violence prevention.