The Ogden YCC Family Crisis Center is not just for Weber County residents, but for those suffering from domestic and sexual violence in Morgan County as well, its director told the Morgan County Council recently.
“This is a great county, but there are issues here like everywhere,” said. Julee G. Smith, executive director of Ogden’s Your Community Connection. “Let’s all work together in our freedom campaign to liberate the victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.”
“I am aware of this community, and aware of the crimes that do and did occur here,” said Terrie Stephenson, YCC rape recovery program coordinator who graduated from Morgan High School in 1977. “I care about this community deeply, and I am familiar with the beauty of this place. The more people who can speak about rape, the more we can get help. We don’t want it to happen, but we can help victims heal. We are here to help.”
Stephenson said she and the seven volunteers and two cases managers under her are available any time of the day or night. Last year, she helped 200 clients, including some male victims.
“That is a frightening number,” Stephenson said. “My youngest client is 5 years old, and my oldest is 70. There is no respector of age, economic status, sex, race, education level or sexual orientation with this crime.”
“We want safety in the community. We connect people to resources in the community that people don’t know about,” said Mindi Haddock, YCC domestic violence outreach specialist. “Often times we discover that we are a resource people don’t know about.”
The YCC employees said that they can be involved with law enforcement as little or as much as adult victims want. They can speak in victims’ behalves with law enforcement, accompany victims to court, help apply for protective orders, or they can also keep things confidential and not cooperate with law enforcement at all.
Either way, they will encourage sexual victims to get a forensic exam done within five days of an assault. Without it, options going forward either way are incredibly limited.
YCC employees also say that helping a victim in the first 24 hours is crucial. Often, a victim will choose to stay in an abusive situation if given more than 24 hours to think it over.
“I am not law enforcement. That is not my place,” Stephenson said. “But I am not afraid to give a detective a call either.”
“We have strict confidentiality rules,” Haddock said. “We can’t confirm or deny if a person is at the YCC.”
While YCC employees often keep adult victim’s information confidential upon request, they must report crimes against children and the elderly incapable of speaking for themselves.
Haddock said that often, law enforcement officers call the YCC to help victims at the scene of a crime. Likewise, involving victim advocates can help reduce the need for law enforcement’s repeated responses to certain households.
Haddock said the YCC is available to speak with victims both in person or on the phone. In small communities such as Morgan, Haddock said victims sometimes don’t want a home visit for confidentiality reasons. She said she has many victims make the trip from Morgan to get services in Ogden.
“It’s not always easy, and that is a long drive,” Haddock said. As such, the YCC is available to meet with clients in Morgan, or even teach classes here.
Classes are available addressing topics such as domestic violence, self esteem, parenting, and relationships. The YCC often teaches relationship classes to school, community and youth groups, upon consent.
“It is hard to speak out,” Stephenson said. “But these traumas do happen. Healing is possible for these types of crimes. We want to get the word out.”
The YCC offers a domestic violence shelter and rape crisis center 24/7 for victims and their families. For more information, visit https://www.ycchope.org/ or call the 24-hour crisis line at (801) 392-7273.