FARMINGTON — In a nondescript converted dental suite, therapists and counselors toil to help break the region’s cycle of domestic violence and sexual assault.

It’s the Safe Harbor Crisis Center’s new Farmington outreach center, where victims can find a quiet, safe oasis to receive services such as case management, referrals, protective order support, and therapy for adult victims and their children.

“The children are some of the most traumatized,” Safe Harbor development director Gladyris Larsen said during a tour of the Farmington site Wednesday.

She pointed to a child-friendly room with toys and activities where kids can be comforted by staff while their parents are being helped by counselors.

The outreach center, which opened in July, acts as an adjunct to Safe Harbor’s crisis shelter and transitional housing units in Kaysville.

Survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault can use the outreach center even if they do not need to stay at the shelter or apply for transitional housing.

The center’s goal is to help victims “for as long as they need,” Larsen said.

“Every client that comes through here knows they can count on us to empower them to live the life they deserve,” she said.

Utah has higher rates of domestic violence and sexual assault than the national averages, and there’s no sign of a letup.

Safe Harbor helped 2,900 people in 2018 and it’s already up to 4,000 this year, Larsen said.

Greater public education and awareness of the problems are needed to help effect change, Larsen said.

“The problem is greater than what most of the population realizes,” Larsen said.

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Safe Harbor Crisis Center's Director of Development Gladyris Larsen poses for a portrait at their new outreach location at Station Park on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, in Farmington.

Nonprofit agencies such as Safe Harbor help individuals recover from violence and, Larsen added, “break the cycle” of destruction in their lives.

All victim services are provided free. Safe Harbor depends on donors to operate — Larsen was busy Wednesday preparing for the nonprofit’s Evergreens Benefit Nov. 19 at the Davis Conference Center in Layton.

Safe Harbor chose a low-key location for its outreach center in Station Park, at 280 N. Union Ave., next door to the The Habit Burger Grill.

“It’s in a safe, more secluded place,” with a simple storefront featuring muted signage. The staff felt it would be more inviting and comforting, Larsen said.

The outreach center in Farmington is also more convenient for victims in the south end of Davis County, Larsen said, noting that Safe Harbor is the only domestic violence and rape crisis service in the county.

“The biggest thing is that we want to let people know that these services exist,” she said.

You can reach reporter Mark Shenefelt at mshenefelt@standard.net or 801 625-4224. Follow him on Twitter at @mshenefelt.

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