As we head into the fifth month of my Presidents Initiative I feel that much progress has been made in regards to domestic violence. I want to thank each one of my Commissioners who have worked so hard during the legislative session and helped in getting key pieces of domestic violence legislation passed.
With all of UAC’s activity and focus on driving awareness of domestic violence in our state, I have personally found that many victims have come forward and have asked me for help. I want to make sure that if this happens to you, that you have the proper resources to advise victims and get them the help that they need.
First off, understand that we, as commissioners are not equipped to solve the issues at hand. We can listen, sympathize and encourage victims to make brave choices that will help get them out of harm’s way but we cannot fix the problem. If victims reach out to you they should be connected with trained professionals as soon as possible. The following is a list of resources that you can use to refer victims to get help.
- Local Law Enforcement Victims’ Advocates– Most Police Agencies and Sheriff Departments have victims’ advocates that are trained in handling domestic violence. A Victims Advocate provides free emotional support, crisis intervention, guidance through the legal system, and other resources for victims of sexual assault/rape, domestic violence, stalking, and other violent crimes. You don’t have to file a police report to take advantage of their help.
- Domestic Violence Hotlines– There are National & State DV Hotlines setup to help assist victims 24/7. The Hotlines are setup to help victims by listening to them and helping the victim gain a better understanding of their situation as well as assisting victims in making a Safety Plan to get out of their relationship and help them to find local resources.
Utah Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-897-LINK (5465)
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233
Love Is Respect Dating and Domestic Violence Hotline 1-866-331-9474
- You should also encourage victims to reach out to their immediate family, close friends and clergy and begin to build a support network.
- If there is a time that you feel that a victim is in immediate danger, do not hesitate to call 911. You should tell law enforcement that you suspect domestic violence and that you fear for the safety of the victim. Request that officers conduct a “Welfare Check’.
We as commissioners have a significant role to play in stopping this human rights crisis. I commend you for everything that you have done up to this point and I look forward to many victories and successes in the future. There is no room for Domestic Violence in our communities and I ask you once again to join me in saying ‘NOT ON MY WATCH!’