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A Partnership to End Family Violence in Riverton

Jan 27, 2016 08:42AM ● Published by Bryan Scott

By Briana Kelley | briana@mycityjournals.com

South Valley - South Valley Services recognized Riverton City as an outstanding community partner at the Nov. 17 council meeting. South Valley Services, also known as South Valley Sanctuary or SVS, is a nonprofit organization that focuses on ending family violence in the community. Riverton City partnered with SVS in 2014 to provide a community resource center at the Riverton City Hall.  

“Riverton has been an amazing partner,” Jennifer Campbell, executive director of South Valley Services, said. “Mostly we’re just grateful that you are putting priority on those that are being impacted by violence. They need our help, and they need our support and we really wanted to thank you for that and for the time and energy that you contribute to our agency.”

The Riverton City Resource Center opened in November 2014 and offers case management services to community members in the areas of family violence, community resources and mental health. The center also assists individuals in finding resources through various community partnerships, including Intermountain Riverton Hospital, St. Andrews Food Pantry, WIC, the victim advocates of Unified Police Department and others. Lastly, the center offers healthy relationship classes at an at-need basis.

“Any resident in our community and surrounding communities can walk into that place free from fear,” councilmember Sheldon Stewart said. “Domestic violence is not just one person’s problem, it’s a community’s problem. I appreciate what SVS provides for us over there, and I appreciate the efforts that the council has made to help us facilitate this as well as the mayor and city staff. I know that it’s not always easy to have a tenant like that, but I guarantee you that one life that we save because of a program like this, it’s just better than having the one life that was taken.”

SVS opened in 1998 to provide safe shelter, resource and referral services and self-sufficiency programs for survivors of domestic violence. The agency’s threefold mission is to educate, empower and advocate. They work closely with community partners in order to better serve the community, according to the SVS website, and currently have five locations in Salt Lake County.

Riverton City leases space at the city hall for the resource center. The city council voted unanimously on Nov. 17 to continue the lease agreement with SVS. The city also provides space for the SVS coalition to meet monthly. 

Currently, the coalition meets the second Thursday of each month from 4 to 5 p.m. in the council chamber. The meeting is open to anyone in the community who would like to attend. During their first year in Riverton, SVS focused primarily on community outreach and coalition-building. 

“When we open a center, a lot of hours are spent out in the community and less one-on-one. We find that a lot of where we are right now is letting the community know that there is help and there is a place to go. We have really been focusing on bringing the community together and educating on violence,” Campbell said.

“The city has been great, really welcoming and very pro-active at looking at violence in their community and looking at what they can do. Some people feel that facing family violence is overwhelming and do not know how to help, but the mayor and others have rolled up their sleeves and asked ‘what can I do?’ The city has been very proactive in asking what role they can play and bringing many other players as well,” Campbell added.

Since November of 2014, SVS’s Riverton case manager has provided case management to 11 individuals in person and 31 individuals over the phone. These numbers are expected to increase as the agency becomes more known in the community. 

“Even if they’re not sure if they are a victim or they know a victim, there is a place to get help,” Campbell said. 

The resource center in Riverton is not a high-risk facility. SVS has a 24-hour hotline with an advocate available for anyone with questions or needs. SVS also has a website at svsutah.org with more information and volunteer opportunities.

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