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October is domestic violence month

Sun Advocate reporter

The month of October has been designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Because there is no question that domestic violence is a serious problem, local groups volunteer to offer support and assistance.

22 deaths were the result of domestic violence in the state of Utah last year. Some of the murders were shockingly brutal. In Salt Lake City, one woman was murdered in front of her two young children. Incidents such as this could often be avoided through better awareness and education.

"Isolation is a big part of domestic violence. Victims are often isolated from friends and family and have no one to turn to, which allows the relationship to continue," said Melissa Herrera, supervisor and social worker at the domestic violence shelter in Price. One of the shelter's goals is to let people know that help is out there and that there are many avenues of support available.

Some of the shelter's awareness projects include a 5K run and one mile walk on Oct. 17. These events begin at 7 a.m. at Washington Park, and will honor survivors and those who lost their lives over the past year. Participation is free to anyone who is interested. .While the state- run shelter has been in operation for more than 30 years, it is always expanding and trying to better fit the community.

"The rural population makes it difficult because everyone knows each other and [domestic violence} is not something that people like to talk about," said Ms. Herrera. "However all of our staff is confidential."

The shelter can house 14 residents. Its goal is to let victims live as normal a life as possible given their situation. It may be surprising to some that the shelter also serves men. Although the majority of victims are women, about 10 to 15 percent are men.

Last year, the shelter served about 60 victims and 71 children.

In all, the shelter is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and operates a crisis phone line at 1 (435)- 6589.

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