Utah Organizations Work to Stop Sexual Violence

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah)  – Studies in Utah indicate that one in three women will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime and that one in eight women and one in 50 men will experience rape.
 
The costs resulting from sexual violence during a one-year period totaled nearly $5 billion, or approximately $1,700 per Utah resident. The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) recently awarded nearly $550,000 to 21 agencies across the state to implement primary prevention activities for sexual violence.
 
“Primary prevention aims to stop violence before it starts by addressing root causes, risk and protective factors, and instilling skills in young people that prepare them for healthy, positive relationships and interactions throughout their lives,” said Megan Waters, violence prevention specialist with the UDOH. 
 
The one-time, one-year funding was appropriated during the 2016 Utah General Legislative Session to the UDOH from the Utah Department of Workforce Services’ Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program. This funding, in combination with the state’s current Rape Prevention and Education Program funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has made it possible to extend the availability of sexual violence prevention programming to 28 of the 29 counties in Utah.
 
Agencies receiving the TANF funding include: 
One example of how the funding is making a difference is through the Safe Dates program. Safe Dates is an evidence-based program designed to help teens recognize the difference between caring, supportive relationships and controlling, manipulative, or abusive ones. “For many of our teens, violence and abuse are unfortunately a part of their everyday lives,” said LeAnn Saldivar, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Salt Lake. “This funding is critical in helping our teens learn healthy and safe relationship skills; habits that they will carry with them into adulthood.” 
 
The funded projects will bring primary prevention programs to underserved communities at high risk for sexual violence, including rural and frontier areas, tribal members, and LGBTQ+ communities. In addition, the funding supports the mandatory child sexual abuse prevention education that school districts must implement.
 
To learn more about the funded projects or for information on sexual violence prevention, visit www.health.utah.gov/vipp.

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