About a dozen advocates and law enforcement officers on Thursday asked for ongoing funding to run domestic violence shelters and services across Utah.
They told members of the Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee why about $1.4 million in state funds should be split among the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition’s 13 programs each year.
“We are trying to make a difference,” said Julee Smith, executive director of Ogden’s YCC Family Crisis Center. “Utah is awesome. It is the best place to live. We want to make it the safest place to live. We need your help with that.”
Many of the advocates told lawmakers that they’ve seen an increase in the number of victims seeking services as more police use a questionnaire that ranks victims’ risk of harm and that helps connect them to victim advocates.
Police who spoke, like Logan Lt. Brad Franke, said the assessment helps officers articulate to victims the danger that they’re in.
“If a person’s having a heart attack, they deny it to the very end, until it’s very dangerous — and the same thing happens in our life with domestic violence,” said Franke, who is on the governing board of Citizens Against Physical & Sexual Abuse, or CAPSA.
After the meeting, the members learned that they were No. 16 on the committee’s priority list, said Jenn Oxborrow, Utah Domestic Violence Coalition’s executive director.
“The number is a little arbitrary at this point,” she said. “We don’t know if we’re above the cutoff line or below the cutoff line currently, and we won’t know until [Friday] how the order will change.”
The committee is scheduled to meet at 8 a.m. Friday.