A variety of visitors streamed into the annual Colleen Quigley Domestic Violence Shelter open house on Monday to see the home and to connect as partners in the fight against domestic violence in the community.
Shelter social worker Cassiopeia Bailey and other staff members were busy educating the crowd about what the shelter can help with and the services available.
The domestic violence shelter is licensed for up to 14 people. The number of families it can serve at any one time depends on the size of each family. The local shelter will help women with children and those without. It is not a homeless shelter, therefore there has to be domestic violence involved before a person can stay at the facility. But the abuse does not have to have been caused by a spouse, it can take place between boyfriend and girlfriend, cohabitants or even other family members.
There is a staff member at the center 365 days a year and 24 hours a day. “You never know when the police will call or if someone knows where the shelter is and comes by for help,” stated client advocate Val Olsen. “It is usually in the dead of the night but we will have somebody here.”
Referrals to the local shelter can come from anyone. It can be a self referral or from a church, DCFS, workforce services, Four Corner’s Mental Health or law enforcement. A shelter stay is limited to 30 days as long as the person is abiding by the rules and working toward housing and employment.
Housing and employment have both been tight over the past year, but every effort is made to help the transition from violence to safety. Businesses like Bill’s Home Furnishings steps up to match clients in need with good used furniture when people buy a new sofa or other items and want to dispose of the old piece.
The Price facility has already served over 300 people this year. This number represents both people who have stayed at the facility and those that were helped through outreach and crisis intervention services. Bailey wants the public to be aware that even if they can’t come into the shelter, workers can meet with them and help develop a safety plan in case they ever need to leave a situation in a hurry.
One other barrier to women leaving a violent situation is the concern over pets. The Humane Society has been great at matching pets with foster care while a family is in transition. Bailey is hoping that if people know this, they will reach out for help before they are in a crisis situation.
The shelter does not need used clothes or toys. When a family is in need, they are sent to Deseret Industries, The Clothing Closet or the Thrift Store in Helper with a voucher to get what is needed. Each person is also given a bag with a new blanket, hygiene and personal items. The children’s bag has toys and other kid related objects in them. These bags are taken with the recipients when they leave the shelter.
A steady increase in use has been noticed over the last six months. In the past three months, there has been several times that the facility had at least four to five families at a time. Bailey is not sure if this is because shelter staff has been doing more outreach or if there are other factors involved.
Bailey is grateful that they have never had to turn anyone away due to crowding. If necessary, they will find a safe place outside the shelter for a few days until room is available. She stresses it will take a victim an average of six or seven attempts before they finally break free of an abuser. In that time, many bridges can be burned between family, friends and co-workers who don’t understand this process.
Bailey wants to help the community understand the dynamics involved and will come and provide information and literature to help with the process. There will be a Choose to Cherish – Survivors and Advocates run/walk event on Saturday, Oct. 5. Sign up will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Price Peace Garden.
Anyone in a domestic violence situation can call the 24 hour hotline for help at (435) 637-6589.