LOCAL NEWS

Salt Lake DA Sim Gill says it takes all of us to crack down child abuse

Apr 15, 2024, 7:20 PM | Updated: Apr 16, 2024, 8:16 am

SALT LAKE CITY In a press conference Monday, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill brought local law enforcement, child therapists and family members who witnessed abuse to the podium to send out a call that child abuse needs to be prosecuted so that children can be safe.   

Gill said child abuse and neglect are five times higher for children and families with low socioeconomic status.   

Gill’s office created a safe space for healing and emotional repair years ago. It’s called Camp Hope and 39 children attended the camp last year. These children have all survived domestic abuse. 

For Yvonne Argyle, it’s been emotional to watch her twins grow and thrive within this camp. 

“Everybody just gathers in the parking lot and they’re having games and music,” Argyle said. “My children tell me this weeklong camp experience and the support they get through the year…it’s breathed freedom and joy back into their lives.” 

Nationally, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 20 boys in the United States have experienced child sexual abuse. Gill’s office is working hard to speak up for those most vulnerable.  

“Children need us to advocate for them,” Gill said. “We need the community to report when they see a child is more reserved than usual or starts pulling away.” 

Signs of abuse include frequent absences from school, depression, changes in behavior and withdrawal from friends. 

If you suspect a child is being abused, call local law enforcement. 


Child abuse resources:

  • Utah Domestic Violence Coalition operates a confidential statewide, 24-hour domestic abuse hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465). Resources are also available online: udvc.org. The statewide child abuse and neglect hotline is 1-855-323-DCFS (3237).

Help with Children

Those who feel stressed out with a child, who need a break or who feel like they need counseling or training can reach out to one of the following agencies:

  • The Family Support Center has 15 locations throughout the state and offers a free crisis nursery for parents who have to keep appointments or who are stressed out. They also offer counseling and family mentoring. Call 801-955-9110 or visit familysupportcenter.org/contact.php for more information.
  • Prevent Child Abuse Utah provides home visiting in Weber, Davis, and Box Elder counties. Parent Educators provide support, education, and activities for families with young children. Their statewide education team offers diverse trainings on protective factors, digital safety, bullying, and child sex trafficking. They are available for in-person or virtual trainings and offer free online courses for the community at pcautah.org.
  • The Office of Home Visiting works with local agencies to provide home visits to pregnant women and young families who would like to know more about being parents. Home visitors are trained and can provide information about breastfeeding, developmental milestones, toilet training, nutrition, mental health, home safety, child development, and much more. Find out more at homevisiting.utah.gov.
  • The Safe Haven law allows birth parents in Utah to safely and anonymously give up custody of their newborn child at any hospital in the state, with no legal consequences and no questions asked. The child’s mother can drop off the child, or the mother can ask someone else to do it for her. The newborns should be dropped off at hospitals that are open 24 hours a day. Newborns given up in this manner will be cared for by the hospital staff, and the Utah Division of Child and Family Services will find a home for the child. For more information, visit utahsafehaven.org or call the 24-hour hotline at 866-458-0058.

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Salt Lake DA Sim Gill says it takes all of us to crack down child abuse