There is an irony to domestic violence in the Top of Utah. Protective orders related to domestic violence have declined significantly. In Ogden, there are fewer domestic violence-related cases this year than in 2012. Despite these numbers, the domestic violence shelter needs to be expanded.
Officials at Your Community Connection (http://www.yccogden.org/) have announced plans to do that, and will expand the shelter's 30-person capacity. There are probably various reasons for this. Domestic violence is a crime that is under-reported. More education about how women and men who are victims of domestic violence can get help likely has trimmed the number of under-reported cases some. The YCC shelter reports that it routinely has to turn away dozens of persons in need, re-routing them to other assistance locations.
There are other reasons for the decline. Officers are now able to move a battered spouse to a safe location. Offenders are required to take training after being released from custody. And new laws require an arrest if an aggressor can be determined.
Nevertheless, there appears to be an increase in urgent cases of domestic abuse. That may also explain the increased numbers. According to Utah's Domestic and Sexual Violence report, 2012 saw a very large, 15 percent, increase in domestic violence repeat cases. These bring enhanced charges, but they also lead to figures such as 29 deaths related to domestic violence in Utah last year; six were in Weber and Davis counties. Also, reported rapes to law enforcement during 2012 totaled 971, the highest in a decade. And, just as with domestic violence, rape is an under-reported crime.
It's clear that domestic violence, which includes men as well as women as victims, is still a serious problem. The Sexual Violence Statewide Crisis and Information Line is 1-888-421-1100. The 24-hour YCC Crisis Line is 1-801-392-7273. If you are being abused, call for help. If you know of abuse occurring, or even suspect it, let the authorities know. There is no excuse for domestic violence. It is completely the fault of the offender who is committing a criminal act.