Candlelight vigil held at UVU to increase awareness of domestic violence

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The Center for Women and Children in Crisis (CWCIC) held a candlelight vigil on Oct. 29 to honor the survivors of domestic violence.

Held in the Reflections Center, Dennis Hansen, CEO and director of CWCIC introduced Brian Parnell, the domestic violence program administrator for the Utah Department of Human Services, to inform the crowd of the statistics surrounding domestic violence here in Utah.

According to Parnell, domestic violence affects one in five women on average nationally, yet in Utah that number is one in three, making it the highest in the nation. With 40 percent of crime in Utah being domestic violence, the push for awareness is increasing.

“Raising awareness and educating people, that’s the only solution to this,” said Chad Holt, a junior computer science major.

To prevent repeat offenders of domestic violence, a program was created to provide offenders with a therapy session with certified domestic violence counselor. After a judge orders a domestic violence offender to attend therapy sessions the offender then has the opportunity to seek proper treatment with the aid of the therapist.

“Sometimes it’s unpopular to talk about domestic violence offenders, we get a sort of visceral feeling about them. But getting them successful treatment is really one of our best forms of domestic violence prevention,” said Parnell.

Utah has 29 counties and only 15 shelters, leaving multiple counties without a shelter within reach for survivors of domestic violence. For the counties that do have shelters, there aren’t enough beds to meet the demand.

With a large number of women, children and occasionally men in need of shelter, the CWCIC is full year round. Having served the public since 1984, the center’s current goal is to open another facility to help further meet the needs of those suffering from domestic violence. The goal will require

To conclude the meeting, those in attendance participated in a candlelight vigil with a bagpipe accompaniment by DeAnn Thomas. The walk invited those in attendance to reflect upon the sobering statistics of domestic violence and the pain it has caused its victims while walking through the Student Life Building, up to the Sorensen Student Center and back.

Photos taken by Serre Splond