HURRICANE — The Hurricane City Council recently took steps to assist some of the city’s most vulnerable residents, including victims of domestic violence.
The first order of new business at the council’s Thursday meeting was consideration of a Domestic Violence Awareness Proclamation. October is designated National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Each year Hurricane, St. George and surrounding cities join towns across the country in adopting the designation on a local level.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month enables law enforcement agencies and victim advocacy groups to engage in community education, teaching residents how to spot domestic violence and promoting resources to help free victims from toxic relationships.
Discussion started with a presentation by Tiffany Mower, victim service coordinator for eastern Washington County. Mower is part of the Washington County Coordinated Community Response Team, a coalition of victim service providers and regional law enforcement agencies including the city police of Hurricane, LaVerkin and Springdale as well as the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.
Mower shared some sobering statistics.
“In Utah, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men have or will experience domestic violence or intimate partner abuse in their lifetime,” she said. “As much as we like to think of Utah’s relatively low crime, particularly in Southern Utah, domestic violence happens every day.”
Incidents of domestic violence are on the rise, a regional development that echoes national trends. Among cities represented by the area’s Coordinated Community Response Team, the demand for services has risen between 30-50%, Mower said.
She attributes much of this hike to the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated stressors it has brought to couples and families. Further exacerbating the problem is the unprecedented population boom taking place in Hurricane and neighboring cities.
“With the numbers comes an increase in the severity of events,” Mower said. “What was once a push or a shove or a cellphone breaking is now moving toward aggravated assault, kidnapping and choking.”
Before the vote, Mayor John Bramall expressed full support for the proclamation.
“I have zero tolerance for anyone committing domestic violence; zero tolerance for bullying,” he said.
The council agreed, voting unanimously to pass the proclamation.
Mower thanked the council for joining an awareness effort that can saves. She credited Lindsey Boyer, director of the Dove Center of St. George, with coordinating the effort to get cities in the region to adopt the proclamation.
The Dove Center serves residents of Washington and Kane counties. The nonprofit works with local hospitals and law enforcement to manage a 24-hour crisis and support helpline, 435-628-0458, for victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking. The center also provides resources like counseling, resource referral, safe shelter, transitional housing and help navigating processes like securing a protective order.
The Dove Center is in the midst of an annual fundraiser, which is held in conjunction with National Disabilities Awareness Month and runs through the end of October. Community members are encouraged to contribute money or in-kind goods to the nonprofit by visiting the Dove Center website.
It’s not just residents who provide generous funding for the Dove Center. Findlay Hyundai of St. George has pledged to contribute a $5,000 matching donation to the organization’s current campaign.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.