(Salt Lake City, UT) – Studies in Utah indicate that one in three women will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime and that one in eight women and one in 50 men will experience rape. The costs resulting from sexual violence during a one-year period totaled nearly $5 billion, or approximately $1,700 per Utah resident. The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) recently awarded nearly $550,000 to 21 agencies across the state to implement primary prevention activities for sexual violence.
“Primary prevention aims to stop violence before it starts by addressing root causes, risk and protective factors, and instilling skills in young people that prepare them for healthy, positive relationships and interactions throughout their lives,” said Megan Waters, violence prevention specialist with the UDOH.
The one-time, one-year funding was appropriated during the 2016 Utah General Legislative Session to the UDOH from the Utah Department of Workforce Services’ Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program. This funding, in combination with the state’s current Rape Prevention and Education Program funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has made it possible to extend the availability of sexual violence prevention programming to 28 of the 29 counties in Utah. Agencies receiving the TANF funding include:
- Citizens Against Physical and Sexual Abuse (CAPSA)
- The Family Place
- New Hope Crisis Center
- Your Community Connection (YCC)
- Weber State University
- Davis Applied Technology College
- The Confederated Tribe of the Goshute Reservation
- Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake
- The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Salt Lake
- Pacific Islander Knowledge 2 Action Resources (PIK2AR)
- Rape Recovery Center
- South Valley Services
- Talk to a Survivor Peace House
- Tricounty Health Department
- Carbon County Family Support Center
- Canyon Creek Women’s Crisis Center
- DOVE Center
- The Utah Navajo Health System
- Restoring Ancestral Winds
- Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault (UCASA)
- Prevent Child Abuse Utah
One example of how the funding is making a difference is through the Safe Dates program. Safe Dates is an evidence-based program designed to help teens recognize the difference between caring, supportive relationships and controlling, manipulative, or abusive ones. “For many of our teens, violence and abuse are unfortunately a part of their everyday lives,” said LeAnn Saldivar, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Salt Lake. “This funding is critical in helping our teens learn healthy and safe relationship skills; habits that they will carry with them into adulthood.”
One participant of the program who had a prior history of violence with gangs, law enforcement, and his own family has since graduated high school and come into good standing with the courts system – all things he once thought impossible. “We see first-hand the difference these programs make for our youth, leading them away from dangerous situations and on a path for a better future,” said Saldivar. With the funding, Safe Dates can now be used in all of the Boys & Girls Club teen centers in Salt Lake and Tooele counties.
The funded projects will bring primary prevention programs to underserved communities at high risk for sexual violence, including rural and frontier areas, tribal members, and LGBTQ+ communities. In addition, the funding supports the mandatory child sexual abuse prevention education that school districts must implement.
To learn more about the funded projects or for information on sexual violence prevention, visit http://health.utah.gov/vipp.
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Violence & Injury Prevention Program
(o) 801-538-6156 (m) 801-856-6697