With a staggering number of domestic violence and sexual assaults occurring in Tooele County, a redesigned Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Victim Advocacy (DVSAVA) group is looking for more volunteers. Instead of each city within the county maintaining their own advocates, there is now a crisis line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, said Holly Johnson, victims rights advocate for the Tooele County Attorney’s office.
Teaming up with Karen Kuipers who works for the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) and Betsy Leishman of Pathways, a domestic violence shelter for women and children, Johnson organized the new crisis line.
Anyone who has been abused, or who wants to talk to an advocate, or who is seeking support or advice concerning domestic violence/sexual assault issues can call the crises line, Johnson said.
The number is: 882-6888. “If you are concerned about yourself, a friend, neighbor or relative, you can call the crises line to talk with someone,” according to Johnson. “Teens and even children are also welcome to call for information or help with abuse issues.”
All law enforcement agencies within the county now call the crises line, in lieu of paging out an advocate in their own city when domestic violence issues are investigated. However, there are still domestic violence advocates living within every city and unincorporated area of Tooele County. If the crises worker on call cannot quickly respond to the scene of a domestic violence assault, an advocate living closer to the area will be asked to assist, Johnson said.
Two nurses at Mountain West Medical Center (MWMC) have also recently been awarded certification to conduct sexual abuse exams. In addition to conducting the exam, the nurses are thoroughly trained and are sensitive to the needs of sexual abuse victims. They will explain each procedure and take as much time as necessary to calm a victim and to ensure that her needs are met.
“Our crises line is doing very well,” Johnson said, “but we have had so many calls that we need additional volunteers.”
All domestic violence/sexual assault volunteers must complete 40 hours of training. Classes for that training will be held in Tooele starting March 15.
“The classes have been arranged to fit the schedule of most people,” Johnson said. All volunteers must be at least 18 years of age and be able to pass a criminal history background check. Volunteers may work as little as one day a month or more as their schedule allows.
For more information on the volunteer training, call the crises line listed above, or call Betsy at 843-1203.