Domestic violence cropped up in two headlines this week, one dealing with a violent incident that took place on the East Side of the county this week and a second one in which a Park City man was finally sentenced for raping his wife at gunpoint more than a year ago. They represent an ongoing stream of reports -- some less serious, some fatal -- that has not subsided.
Leaders from Park City's domestic violence shelter, Peace House, and the Summit County Sheriff's department confirm that cases involving domestic violence continue to plague the community. According to the sheriff's department, the number of cases may not have grown significantly but the level of violence has. And according to Peace House, the staff is fielding an increasing number of requests for services, from emergency housing to counseling and legal help.
If there is any good news it is that Park City and the surrounding communities are aware of the problem and numerous agencies are available to offer support for victims.
The bad news is that holes in the legal system often fail to adequately protect women from their abusers. That, in turn, fuels the fear of reporting they have been abused. The suspect in this week's incident has already posted bail and been released from jail -- a fact that worries law enforcement officials and victim advocates.
Local mental health, medical and legal experts all encourage friends and family members to urge victims to seek help as soon as they suspect abuse may be occurring.
Victims and/or friends and family can call:
Domestic violence is a nationwide problem and our own community is not immune. But in our tight-knit community, citizens can watch out for each other and help both victims and perpetrators get assistance before an incident turns deadly.