The Domestic Violence Coalition was a major topic at the monthly Local Interagency Council (LIC) and Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) luncheon meeting held Thursday October 8, 2009. The Lions Club cooked and provided the food for the delicious brunch.

Kane County Emergency Manager Alan Alldredge introduced guest speaker Garry Holbrook, Domestic Violence Specialist/ Representative of the Five County Area.

Holbrook spoke of some recent domestic violence incidents that made the KSL T.V. Utah news. Incidents happen in rural areas as well as cities.

Men or women over the age of 16 can be involved in domestic violence. It occurs with married couples or in informal relationships, heterosexual couples or gay couples. It happens in all ethnic groups, all religions, the rich or poor, and in educated and uneducated people.

Domestic violence was once considered one of the most underreported crimes. Abuse is not only physical but can be combined with verbal abuse and intimidation. The victims are sometimes made to feel unworthy and made to feel the problem is entirely their fault. Also victims may have been raised in an abusive environment and accept that style as a way of life.

Holbrook asked if anyone in the audience knew of someone in an abusive relationship; many hands were raised. Examples discussed: the abuser is violent but good most of the time; I love him/her. The victim had low self-esteem and made excuses for the abuser. The victims were afraid to leave the situation and go out on their own. They hid problems because they were ashamed and did not want to make trouble and would not accept help. Problems like these can lead to depression and even suicide. Sheriff Lamont Smith stated there was one death in Kane County caused by domestic violence.

A survey taken by the Office on Domestic and Sexual Violence shows from 2001 to 2008, 198 men, women, and children in Utah died as the result of domestic violence.

Holbrook said there are three phases in a cycle of Domestic Violence. Attention getting, escalating, and reconciliation. “No More Secrets,” a report on Domestic and Sexual Violence in Utah, characterizes domestic violence as a systematic pattern of physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse, which is predominantly directed by men against women. 

This pattern of abuse may also include financial and spiritual abuse and threats of violence. Rather than a series of independent acts or events, it is most often part of a process in which the perpetrator maintains control and domination over the victim with whom he/she has a cohabitant or intimate relationship. the report can be found at www.nomoresecrets.utah.gov.

Victim Support Advocate Sandy Kerr, who works for the Sheriff’s office, stated there are several cases in Kane County. She explained there is help for victims of domestic violence within the county. Community support groups are important in providing counseling and assisting with the effort to stop family violence. Special training for those groups, clergymen, law enforcement and hospital personnel is available.

For Victim Advocate Programs, contact Kane County Victims Services 435-644-4989.

Employees of the hospital and clinic who have completed the 30-hour training course were brought on stage, introduced and congratulated for their efforts.

Allan Alldredge gave an up-date on the results of the Health Fair, General Flu Shoot Out sponsored by the Southwest Public Health Department. It was deemed a successful endeavor with 707 flu vaccinations given and approximately 25 “rain checks” issued. To date, the County Health Department has given approximately 1300 to 1400 flu shots.

The ‘Shoot Out” also served as a Pandemic Flu exercise. The high school could be used as a “POD” distribution center for medication, supplies and information in the event of any emergency.

Alldredge talked about Kanab’s radio station becoming operational. Tune into 91.1 FM for announcements regarding emergencies, general announcements etc., which are repeated regularly. There are signs at all three entrances to Kanab advising motorists and the public that this service is now available. Several mobile relay radio-transmitting units are in use. He suggested adding a battery-powered radio to your emergency supply kit.

Alldredge explained the best source of information on the flu and the H1N1 Vaccine is to contact the South West Public Health Department. Their website is updated on a regular basis: http://.swuhealth.org or call 435-644-2537.

The Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) consists of representatives from the following agencies: Health Department, Law Enforcement, Search and Rescue, Fire, Dispatch, Emergency Medical Service, HAZMAT, Amateur Radio and Utah Department of Homeland Security. The monthly meetings are used as brain storming sessions.