BRIGHAM CITY -- Because October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Annette MacFarlane, from the New Hope Crisis Center in Brigham City, is attending city council meetings in the county to thank the councils for financial support of the crisis center and to increase awareness of domestic violence in the county.
In the past year, the center has helped 317 individuals in connection with domestic violence and responded to 89 assaults, 132 sexual assaults, seven rapes and 22 incidents of date rape.
"Since we have begun collecting data on dating violence, we have discovered that domestic violence begins earlier than we thought. Eighty-six percent of women coming in for our services were involved in a dating-violence relationship prior to their domestic violence incident," MacFarlane said.
She presented the council with data that shows how domestic violence crimes are increasing in Box Elder County.
There were four rapes reported in 2007-08, but that number rose to 26 in 2009-10. Domestic violence cases more than doubled in that time span, she said, and sexual assaults rose by nearly 400 percent, from 29 in 2007-08 to 175 in 2009-10.
"You can't blame it all on the economy, but obviously, as that gets worse, the number of domestic violence calls we receive is rising, too, so there is some correlation," she said Monday.
The New Hope Crisis Center has a shelter for those seeking a safe haven from domestic violence.
In 2009, staff members at New Hope responded to 3,990 crisis calls.
The center served 911 women, 858 children and 22 males who were affected by domestic violence, child abuse or dating violence, along with other types of abuse, totaling 1,791 calls to the center in the past year.
Advocates at the center assisted with 192 protective and stalking injunctions, and provided advocacy in justice courts for 524 victims.
The shelter housed 216 women and 133 children for a total of 1,887 bed days at the shelter.
"We have been continuously occupied since November 2008," MacFarlane said.
The New Hope Crisis Center is at 435 E. 700 South, Brigham City. Those who need help may call 435-723-5600.
"Advocates are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year," MacFarlane said.