Peace House is celebrating its 25th anniversary this Saturday. Amid a rise in domestic abuse cases, Peace House’s services are more important than ever.
After last year’s 25th anniversary celebration was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the domestic abuse nonprofit will celebrate the milestone this Saturday from 9:30-11:30am.
The Peace House 25th anniversary will be held at the Peace House Community Campus at 700 Round Valley Drive. Guests must wear a mask when they are indoors.
Following the 1992 murder of 42-year-old Nadalee Noble at the hands of her estranged husband in a Park City parking lot, the city created a domestic violence task force. Peace House was born out of this task force in 1995.
Peace House Board Member Karen Mariott said despite its tragic beginnings, the organization has helped many in the community in their hour of need.
“Out of some tragedy, this incredible resource has risen that has actually saved thousands of lives and housed many people and provides all these resources now from clinical therapy, to case management, to all these community resources that are free to anybody who needs them,” Mariott said.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been growing concern over a rise in calls to police and state domestic violence hotlines. A February report from the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice showed an over 8% rise in instances of domestic violence since the start of the pandemic.
Peace House Executive Director Kendra Wyckoff points toward factors like increased isolation due to health orders, housing insecurity, and unemployment as possible factors in the rise. She stressed that these factors are not seen as the only causes of domestic violence, but are like “pouring gasoline on a fire.”
She said that trend has also emerged in the Wasatch Back, and is not showing signs of slowing down.
“Since 2019, we’ve seen a 50% increase in calls for help and support,” said Wyckoff. “We had our shelter at or near capacity during the entire time over the last 18 months, and we’re not seeing those trends subside. Definitely feel like the pandemic has had incredible impacts across our community.”
Wyckoff said Peace House offers a number of services and resources to victims of domestic and sexual abuse.
“We have an emergency shelter for folks who are fleeing domestic violence or a sexual assault survivor needs a safe place to stay,” she said. “We just launched our transitional housing program, so we have about six apartments online for that longer-term housing program. We offer legal advocacy, so if somebody needs help with a protective order or civil stalking injunction, counseling services with therapists, case managers who are really our team that walk alongside a survivor and help support their safety and get them connected to additional resources, and we also have a really robust prevention education program that reaches out into the community.”
If you or someone you know is affected by domestic abuse, you can contact the Peace House helpline at 1-800-647-9161, or the statewide domestic violence hotline at 1-800-897-5465. All help is confidential and anonymous.
For more information on peace House or to register for the anniversary celebration, call 435-658-4739 or visit peacehouse.org.