ST. GEORGE (ABC4 News) – Eleven people in Washington County have been arrested for domestic violence in the past five days, facing charges that include assault, interfering with emergency calls, trespassing, and criminal mischief, according to police.
Police reports show that two of these domestic violence incidents happened in front of children and three arrests involved intoxication. Officers say these situations are especially dangerous when they’re alcohol-fueled, and as New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day celebrations are around the corner, police say they need to be ready for anything.
Law enforcement in Southern Utah told ABC4 News domestic violence calls have increased in recent weeks, months, and years, confirming that these types of arrests tend to spike around the holidays. Police say that without intervention, these situations tend to get worse over time, and although officers try to deescalate ever incident, sometimes they become the abuser’s — or victim’s — next target.
“The victim oftentimes has strong feelings for the person that’s abusing them or has committed a crime against them,” St. George Police Capt. Mike Giles said. “While they want the help in stabilizing the situation, our involvement is sometimes looked at negatively or we become the focus of aggression on both sides because of what we’re required to do by law.”
Capt. Giles said his department handles domestic violence calls on a daily basis: any time of the week, any time of the year. Police say that some victims may not come forward during the holidays out of pressure to keep the family together. While family tension, finances, and alcohol may exacerbate existing violence this time of year, law enforcement experts say they do not cause it; rather, abusers have an ongoing relationship of control and manipulation over victims.
With a risk of domestic violence coupled with drinking on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, law enforcement say they want to keep victims safe and suggest that victims go to a public event rather than isolating themselves with abusers, removing alcohol and drugs from the home, and making an emergency kit with clothes, cash, and supplies if they need to leave their home quickly.
Free and confidential help and support for victims and survivors of domestic or intimate partner violence is available 24/7: 1-800-897-LINK (5465) or udvc.org. If you or someone else is in immediate danger, or in an emergency, please call 911 immediately.
(Source: The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition) Domestic violence service providers in Utah offer free support and services to individuals and families affected by domestic violence. These services may include shelter, support, 24-hour crisis line, temporary housing, advocacy and referral programs, counseling, and transportation.
- Canyon Creek Crisis Center; 435-865-7443; Iron, Beaver, and Garfield Counties located in Cedar City
- CAPSA (Community Abuse Prevention Services Agency); 435-753-2500 Cache and Rich Counties located in Logan
- Center for Women and Children in Crisis; 801-377-5500; Utah and Juab Counties located in Provo
- Colleen Quigley Crisis Center; 435-637-6589; Carbon and Emery located in Price
- DOVE Center; 435-628-0458; Washington and Kane Counties located in St. George
- New Hope Crisis Center; 1-877-732-5600; Box Elder County located in Brigham City
- New Horizons Crisis Center; 1-800-343-6302; Sevier, Millard, Piute, Sanpete, and Wayne Counties located in Richfield
- Pathways; 1-800-833-5515; Tooele County located in Tooele
- Peace House; 435-647-9161; Summit and Wasatch Counties located in Park City
- Safe Harbor; 801-444-9161; Davis County
- Seekhaven; 1-888-421-1100; Grand County located in Moab
- South Valley Sanctuary; 801-255-1095; Salt Lake County located in West Jordan
- Women’s Crisis Center; 435-781-0613; Uintah, Duchesne, and Daggett Counties located in Vernal
- YCC (Your Community Connection); 801-392-7273; Weber and Morgan Ogden/Northern Utah
- YWCA Women in Jeopardy; 801-537-8600; Salt Lake County located in Salt Lake City
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