American Fork Police Team With UVU To Raise Awareness About Domestic Violence
AMERICAN FORK, Utah — It’s something that we hear about far too often and something that many women suffer silently through — domestic violence. Now, the American Fork Police Department, with help from Utah Valley University, is working to reach women with an important message: help is available.
“It definitely will start out small, it’ll be verbal but by the time it gets to the police department it’s elevated into something physical,” said Dawna Whiting, a victim advocate with American Fork Police. She says she works on average with 25 women a month who have been victimized by domestic violence.
Stopping domestic violence has become a priority for AFPD, according to Chief Darren Falslev.
He said they have had several public awareness meetings on the topic, but attendance has been low, likely due to the stigma associated with it. Now, he’s hoping new videos produced by UVU will get the message out that help is available.
“It’s something that we respond to every day we have a detective whose full-time job is nothing but domestic violence cases,” he said.
Falslev knew he had to find a way to reach those who are suffering, and perhaps before they are victimized, with real victims sharing their own stories.
One of the there videos shows how to recognize ‘red flags,’ while another focuses on teen relationships.
Perhaps the most important video shows where to find help, and all three are now being shared across social media platforms.
“We created these videos in partnership with UVU so that people could watch him from the privacy of their own home or anywhere else that they feel safe and secure,” Falslev said.
But perhaps, most importantly, these videos are not for victims or those who could be victimized, but to help family, friends and neighbors watch for warning signs and get help before someone is hurt.
“You don’t have to wait until you’ve been beaten up or this becomes more serious we can be effective a lot of times intervening at an early stage to prevent that from ever-escalating,” Falslev said.
If anyone is experiencing a domestic violence situation or is worried about someone they know, call 1-800-897-LINK to be connected to the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition.
You can watch the videos here.
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