Domestic violence on rise in Utah, U of U professor explains why

Jul 26, 2023, 8:00 PM | Updated: Jul 27, 2023, 9:55 am

The Magna Police Department is investigating an alleged kidnapping that led to a chase from Magna t...

The Magna Police Department is investigating an alleged kidnapping that led to a chase from Magna to Provo. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Domestic violence is a troubling situation around Utah, and unfortunately, it’s on the rise, according to a University of Utah professor.

Domestic violence statistics gathered by KSL.com found that 22 people were killed in the first six months of the year as a result of domestic violence.

Professor Sonia Salari, with the Department of Family and Consumer Studies at the University of Utah, joined KSL NewsRadio to discuss the ongoing problem.


In her findings, Salari said that statistics nationwide are showing the murder-suicide rate is increasing.

“This is something that I think is maybe possibly somewhat expected, given what happened over the pandemic,” she said. “With regard to people increasing their gun access. So that is one of the things that I think is important to consider because gun access does lead to more fatality. It also provides an opportunity to kill someone from a distance and also kill more people than other methods typically do.”

Other indicators to domestic violence in Utah

Salari said people who have lived through suicide attempts have been studied. In her findings, she said those people don’t take time to think about the consequences of their actions.

“The decisions are made fairly quickly,” Salari said. “And so, people are spurt of the moment making a decision to harm themselves. And then, the majority of them wish they had not done that.”

Salari is asked how to sidestep conflicting values between owning a firearm and the consequences that could come with it?

“It’s ironic that people actually do think they’re safer with the gun,” Salari said. “So, they are perceiving that there’s gonna be a threat from an outside source.”

According to national research, Salari said there are roughly 350 cases where a homeowner shot their gun in a justifiable situation where they were being attacked.

“So, the chances of that scenario happening are much less than something else going on in your household,” she said. “Where either a person turns a gun on themselves or someone in their household, a family member turns the gun on them. So that is what makes it actually more dangerous to have a gun in the household.” 

KSL at Night can be heard weeknights from 7 to 9 p.m. 

Assistance available:

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship there is help available here in Utah and nationwide.

  • YWCA’s Women in Jeopardy program: 801-537-8600
  • Utah statewide Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-897-LINK (5465) and udvc.org
  • 24-hour Salt Lake victim advocate hotline: 801-580-7969
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233

We want to hear from you.

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

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Domestic violence on rise in Utah, U of U professor explains why