Leaving an abusive relationship can be complicated and dangerous, expert says

Jan 9, 2023, 3:23 PM | Updated: 3:46 pm

The bill, S.B. 117 Domestic Violence Amendments, would streamline domestic violence reports, placin...

FILE: Purple flags are planted at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. The event was held by YWCA Utah to recognize the thousands of individuals in Utah who are impacted by domestic violence each year for the Stop the Violence Utah campaign. (Yukai Peng/Deseret News)

(Yukai Peng/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — As the Enoch community continues to reel from the killing of a family, experts advise that there are resources for those trying to get out of abusive situations.

Communications and Engagement Specialist with the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition, Kimmi Wolf, told Dave and Dujanovic that feeling unsafe is reason enough to leave a relationship. Abuse isn’t always physical, Wolf said. Leaving an abusive relationship is complicated and dangerous, the expert said.

“You think that domestic violence doesn’t get to a level of concern unless there’s physical violence or lethality and that’s just not true.”

Wolf said that domestic violence should be taken very seriously, especially when things begin to escalate.

The dangers of leaving an abusive relationship

While there are steps victims can take to involve law enforcement, Wolf said that doesn’t stop the risk of harm.

“There are orders of protection, but you know, if someone is going to do harm and especially if they are willing to also harm themselves, there are no legal consequences to their actions.”

Getting orders of protection, filing police reports and seeking resources from a shelter can offer some help. But Wolf said there are no guarantees.

“If someone is going to harm you, that needs to be taken seriously.”

Wolf said that the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence is when they try to leave the relationship. 

Enoch victim Tausha Haight had filed for divorce from her husband, suspect Michael Haight, just weeks before the killings.

Helping victims

State Sen. Todd Weiler is heading legislation that aims to require police to perform a lethality assessment whenever there is a situation with intimate partner violence.

Wolf said the assessment can be a good tool, but it isn’t a magic wand.

“The power of this tool is that when they indicate and help someone understand that they are in a potentially lethal situation, there is some place for this person to go,” Wold said, adding ” We can open this up throughout the state. But if we are not properly funding domestic violence programs, then there’s gonna be a bottleneck.

The lethality assessment can also provide validation for victims, Wolf said.

“We have to start with some validation and believing the victim and showing our concern. And concern by law enforcement and the training they receive is absolutely essential to helping a victim understand that they are in danger.”

The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition’s website offers resources to those looking for help. There are places across the state offering assistance to anyone who needs it. The coalition’s website also offers safety plan resources for those looking to leave an abusive situation.

Listen to the full segment below:


If you or someone you know is experiencing trouble linked to domestic violence, the following resources are available.

Utah Domestic Violence LINKLine
1-800-897-LINK (5465)
If LINKLine advocates experience an increased call volume, they will forward calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

StrongHearts Native Helpline

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Crime, Police + Courts

bodies found in West Jordan home...

Mark Jones

Woman barricades herself inside West Jordan home, then arrested

A woman has barricaded herself inside a West Jordan home, according to police.

24 hours ago

Thirty six year old Manuel Burciaga-Perea was extradited from Mexico City to Taylorsville, Utah aft...

Waverly Golden

Suspect in 2021 murder of radio host extradited to Utah from Mexico City

Thirty six year old Manuel Burciaga-Perea was extradited from Mexico City to Taylorsville, Utah after he fled the country following the murder of a popular Latina radio host Gabby Ramos in 2021. 

5 days ago

Lori Vallow Daybell stands and listens as the jury's verdict is read at the Ada County Courthouse i...


Lori Daybell’s defense team files for new murder trial

The legal team for convicted murderer Lori Vallow Daybell filed paperwork Thursday, citing three reasons for a new trial under Idaho law.

5 days ago

A car crashed into a home, killing a man Thursday, May 25,2023. (Jay Hancock/KSL TV)...

Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio and Shelby Lofton, KSL TV

Man killed in West Valley crash was visiting elderly neighbor

Neighbors told KSL TV this was a quiet neighborhood, until yesterday when it turned into chaos. Thursday night, a 15-year-old in a stolen car crashed into a house, killing a man.

5 days ago

North Ogden police are trying to determine why a vehicle left the roadway on 2600 North and ended u...

Mark Jones

Car leaves roadway in North Ogden, crashes onto residential property

North Ogden Police are trying to determine why a vehicle left the roadway at 2600 North on Friday and crashed into a residential property.

6 days ago

Unified Police say a 60-year-old man suffered a heart attack Friday, while driving in Kearns. He lo...

Mark Jones

Suffering a medical condition, driver crashes into Kearns home

A 60-year-old man lost control of his vehicle Friday afternoon after suffering a heart attack and crashed into several power boxes and a home in Kearns.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

close up of rose marvel saliva blooms in purple...

Shannon Cavalero

Drought Tolerant Perennials for Utah

The best drought tolerant plants for Utah can handle high elevations, alkaline soils, excessive exposure to wind, and use of secondary water.

Group of cheerful team members high fiving each other...

Visit Bear Lake

How To Plan a Business Retreat in Bear Lake This Spring

Are you wondering how to plan a business retreat this spring? Read our sample itinerary to plan a team getaway to Bear Lake.

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...

BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...

Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.

Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.

Leaving an abusive relationship can be complicated and dangerous, expert says