BY TOM BUSSELBERG
FARMINGTON — Safe Harbor is a refuge for children and women who are victims of physical and sexual abuse.
Beyond that, it works to empower victims so they can move on with their lives, said Kay Card, shelter director.
April is Domestic Violence Abuse Prevention Month.
She was invited to speak by the Davis County Community of Promise about the shelter’s role in fighting such abuse.
More than 700 women and children are housed in the shelter during an average year, Card said. It has 31 beds and four cribs.
They can stay in the secure shelter site for up to 30 days.
After that, many women and their children are housed in apartments across the county that are administered by the Family Connection Center.
In addition, a secure 10-apartment, two- and three-bedroom transitional housing building is adjacent to the shelter.
Those housed there are expected to seek employment and build other skills that will eventually enable them to live on their own.
Hundreds of other people receive services from the shelter, but remain in their homes for various reasons.
Abuse cases have grown beyond the capacity of the shelter to house all in need, Card said.
“I’m concerned a lot of domestic violence cases aren’t being reported because people believe it’s a private, family matter and that government shouldn’t be involved,” Card said.
Yet the vast majority of incarcerated felons have had domestic violence in their lives, she said.
“In our community, we never talk about domestic violence” in the open, she said. “Whenever people talk about it, they still don’t use the words domestic violence. It still carries a little stigma.”
But its effects are long-lasting, Card said.
Many women who were abused as children seem to gravitate to men who are abusers, she said. Some professionals in the field believe DNA strands actually can change, and that some people who were abused gain a sense of helplessness, that “no matter what, life will be bad.”
On average, seven children in a classroom typically come from violent homes, Card said.
The center is operated as a private, nonprofit entity under a board of directors. It was founded “by a group of concerned residents who get together in a living room” in the early 1990s.
It has been open since 1997.
For more information, call 801-444-3191 or visit womensdvshelter.org.