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Advice, resources for handling domestic violence

Article Published 01/13/2014

Domestic Violence (also known as Intimate Partner Violence) occurs when one partner exhibits a pattern of dominating or controlling behavior over another, and can include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Without intervention, domestic violence tends to escalate.
Domestic violence does not discriminate and can be found among every culture, economic status, race, educational background, or religion. Layton City is no exception. In the last year, over 650 victims of domestic violence were assisted by the Layton Victim Services program.
Domestic Violence touches all of our lives in some way. We have all had a family member, friend, coworker, or neighbor that was involved in an abusive relationship. We may, or may not have been aware of the situation.
Some victims of domestic violence may be extremely secretive, even reclusive, trying to avoid friends and family. Others may be caught up in such a volatile situation that everyone around them is aware. Friends and family are often left wondering why a victim returns to a potentially dangerous situation and what they can do to help.
Recognizing the signs of abuse is the first step to assisting a victim of domestic violence.  One common sign is the existence of bruises or other unexplained injuries; however, many victims of abuse will cover up or make excuses for injuries.  Other signs include isolation, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.  
If you suspect someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, communicate your concern and offer your support.  Listen to the victim without passing judgment. Demanding that a victim leave her/his abuser does not help the situation and can leave a victim feeling even more alone or persecuted.
Provide information and education about services available to assist the victim and if possible, refer her/him to a victim advocate. An advocate can assist a victim with creating a safety plan whether she/he chooses to remain in the relationship or leaves. A victim advocate can assist a victim with obtaining a protective order or civil stalking injunction, or simply provide education and information to help a victim in making the best decision for her.  
There is no cost and victims or other concerned individuals may contact an advocate anonymously.    
If you, or someone you know is in need of assistance, contact Layton Victim Services at 801-336-3599, or the Safe Harbor Crisis Center at 801-444-3191.
The Safe Harbor Crisis Center offers victim advocate services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Utah Domestic Violence LINKLine is also available at 1-800-897-LINK (5465), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to connect victims of domestic violence to resources throughout the state.