The Park City Police Department recently hired Malena Stevens as the department’s victim advocate coordinator. She works with police officers to make
The Park City Police Department recently hired Malena Stevens as the department's victim advocate coordinator. She works with police officers to make sure victims are safe and guides them through the legal process. Jay Hamburger/Park Record

It does not matter if a family is wealthy or not as well off.

Domestic violence can happen in any household, the Park City Police Department's new victim advocate coordinator said. Malena Stevens started in the Police Department at the end of October and is working on a part-time basis for between 30 and 35 hours each week.

"It's not isolated to a socioeconomic status," she said in an interview, adding, "Domestic violence, it could happen to anyone."

Stevens is assigned to assist the victims of violent crimes, including domestic cases. She said she has been involved with approximately 15 cases since she started in Park City.

"I think domestic violence happens a lot more than people think" in Park City, she said.

Stevens lives at Kimball Junction and has a professional background in the mental health field. In a release announcing her hiring, the Police Department said she has also worked with people with developmental disabilities. She has a degree from Brigham Young University in psychology and linguistics, the department's release said, noting she has also studied Chinese at a university in China.

In her role as the victim advocate coordinator, Stevens partners with police officers to ensure victims are safe by working with a shelter or helping a victim craft a plan for their safety.

She also guides victims through the legal process, such as accompanying them to court and informing them when a perpetrator is released from jail or prison. She also connects people with counseling and legal assistance.

Stevens said Park City, as a community, offers victims lots of resources through not-for-profit organizations. She mentioned the Peace House shelter as one of the organizations.

"I think Park City is a pretty great community as far as rallying around victims," Stevens said, adding, "From what I've seen, Park City really tries to support its own."

Stevens is recruiting volunteers for the Police Department's victim advocate program. The volunteers could assist victims with the legal process, be members of the program's crisis-response team or hold walk-in hours at the Park Avenue police station for victims.

Volunteers must agree to a background check and complete a 40-hour training program. There is periodic training beyond the 40 hours. They must be at least 18 years old with a good driving record.

For more information about volunteering, contact Stevens at 615-5575 or malena.stevens@parkcity.org.