The currents of social change in America are reaching an intensity that has not been seen since the 1960’s. Once again, the old guard is being challenged by the vision of progressives who view social institutions as not existing to protect the status quo, but serve our citizens by helping to create meaningful, productive lives. Since 1995, Peace House has been Summit and Wasatch County’s local advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. We at Chin-MacQuoid-Fleming-Harris would like to take this moment to celebrate Peace House riding the crest of the current wave of change. Through their soon-to-be-completed new facility, they are bringing the social scourge of domestic violence out of the shadows of shame and into the light where all of us can work together to make this problem part of our history, not a “fact-of-life” in our future.
Peace House Shocking Stats
Two decades ago, Park City community leaders created Peace House after the shocking murder of a local woman by her estranged husband. The shelter was dedicated to those seeking refuge from domestic violence. Over the years, Peace House has expanded its services beyond providing safe harbor to include prevention education, outreach programs, support services and clinical therapy. In 2017 alone, 2,700 nights of shelter gave safety to nearly 100 adults and children. 641 calls for help were answered through Peace House’s crisis Helpline. Over 2,400 hours of individual therapy were conducted for 155 adult and 51 child victims of abuse. Perhaps most importantly, 10,000 K-12 students of Summit and Wasatch County schools were provided age-appropriate prevention education. These statistics are staggering for those of us who see Park City as a haven of tranquility. But, once we are aware of the facts, it becomes our moral duty to bring those numbers to the level of rare exception.
Peace House Community Campus
Within the next year, Peace House will open a new facility, the Peace House Community Campus, providing cutting edge domestic violence and sexual assault social work. It will not be hidden away in an undisclosed location, but be in full view of the public and located between the hospital, People’s Health Clinic, and Health Department buildings. Its capacity to offer short-term shelter accommodations will be greatly expanded, but more importantly, it will be capable of addressing comprehensive services that give victims all the support they need to recreate their lives. On-site childcare, food, clothing, and easy-access public transportation will make it possible for children to return to their schools while their parent is recovering physically and emotionally. In this way, the client determines for his or herself when they are ready to move on with their lives rather than being forced out by a deadline. Research has shown this significantly lowers the rate of victims returning to their previous circumstances. Case management and therapy assistance are offered until the client decides they no longer need the programs, which could be years down the road. Most significantly, all of these services are offered at no cost to the client. “It’s crucial that we maintain Peace House’s services free of charge for everyone,” said Jane Patten, former E.D. of Peace House. “If just one victim feels they cannot reach out to us for help based on financial considerations, we have failed someone in their hour of need.”
Transitional housing will be also available on the campus so the parent and their children can stay together in a secure environment for longer periods of time. Those staying in transitional housing will have a percentage of their wages held for them until they feel ready to leave Peace House. These funds will then be returned to them to be used for a deposit and first months’ rent for their new residence within the community. This gives them stability, and path to establish a financial base for housing and slowly progress toward financial independence.
A Safe Harbor When Life Is A Storm
“Peace House truly stands as a safe harbor that will care for the whole individual, in a warm and welcoming home environment,” said Patten. “We need to be accessible to all members of our community, regardless of social status, education, or familial background.” To drive this point home a little deeper, Peace House has served male victims of domestic violence at a growing rate. “This has never been a women’s problem. It’s a social problem that reaches its terrifying fingers into every social sector, regardless of gender, age, income, or education.”
Over half of the revenue raised to operate Peace House comes from individual donations. We at Chin-MacQuoid-Fleming-Harris ask that you take a moment to learn more about Peace House and the services it offers to our fellow community members. We will keep you posted on the progress of the new facility, and hope you will join us in contributing through donations and volunteer hours so that someday, if we all work together, no one who lives among us will be a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault.