CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Service for domestic violence survivors expanding in Tooele

Dec 6, 2023, 5:00 PM | Updated: 7:42 pm

Shonie Christensen, domestic violence advocate and survivor, hugs Lindsey Boyer,...

Shonie Christensen, domestic violence advocate and survivor, hugs Lindsey Boyer, South Valley Services executive director, after a press event for Domestic Violence Awareness Month at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. Oct. 2 was declared Domestic Violence Awareness Day in Utah. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

TOOELE, Utah — According to a non-profit that answers domestic violence hotline calls, the number of people who need help is increasing. That said, their funding is going down.

Calls to the domestic violence hotline at South Valley Services have gone up 60% since police officers statewide started using lethality assessments.

“South Valley Services was actually the organization who brought the lethality assessment protocol to Utah with the implementation of the protocol statewide,” said Josie White, Development Director at South Valley Services. 

According to White, the most dangerous time for survivors is when they leave the relationship. 

“The South Valley Services staff will work with survivors to come up with an exit plan including exiting either into emergency shelter or safe and stable housing…”

Expanding services

According to White, between the non-profits Salt Lake shelters, Tooele shelters, and their Salt Lake resource center, about 2,800 domestic violence victims received help last year.

On Dec. 16,  South Valley Services will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new resource center in Tooele called the Pathways Resource Center.

White explained why the center is needed.

“Levels of domestic violence in Utah are huge,” said White. “One in three women, one in four men and one in two non-binary persons will experience domestic violence within their lifetime. So whether we know it or not, we all know somebody who’s been affected by domestic violence. What this also means is there’s a really high demand for shelter beds and services.”

White said the shelters are at capacity much of the time, but they still urge people to call. 

“There’s still options, we can work with a sister shelter to place them there. And we can also place people into emergency hotel stays…”

Pathways Resource Center

White explained the new center can support clients without them having to be placed in housing. 

“So, it’s where survivors can drop in and out for services, specifically case management services,” she explained. “What that means is if they need housing support or help developing a safety plan to exit an abusive relationship, they now have access to the same staff our shelter clients have without needing to stay in the shelter to access those services.”

How do people qualify for health services?

White explained that people don’t need to prove anything to get services.

“No part of the crime needs to be provided. If somebody needs services we are able to meet them. The only exclusion is that to stay in the shelter. Survivors typically have to use the salary assessment protocol.”

To find out more about services visit svsutah.org

Related: New domestic violence shelter coming to Tooele thanks to South Valley Services

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Service for domestic violence survivors expanding in Tooele