The Children’s Justice Center Program, part of the Utah Attorney General’s Office, participated in this year’s planting of pinwheels in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month up at Primary Children’s Hospital.
The Utah Attorney General’s Office is once again partnering with FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention to provide a 24/7 harassment hotline, sending a clear message to participants that bullying, abuse, assault, and harassment of any kind will not be tolerated.
STATE OF UTAH AGREES TO DELAY ENFORCEMENT OF HB 136 PENDING CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE
SALT LAKE CITY – Today, the Utah Attorney General’s office agreed to delay the enforcement of HB 136 pending the outcome of the litigation over the new law’s constitutionality.
In the motion presented to the court and plaintiff today, the state says in part:
The Plaintiff and State Defendants acknowledge and agree that this case raises important questions that deserve thoughtful and careful consideration. To that end, and without admission of wrongdoing or constitutional violation by State Defendants, the Plaintiff and State Defendants stipulate and agree to the entry of a preliminary injunction by which State Defendants are enjoined from enforcing HB 136 during the pendency of this litigation until Plaintiff’s claim is resolved by this Court through trial on the merits or other dispositive order.
The case will proceed as scheduled with a status hearing in Judge Clark Waddoup’s U.S. District courtroom Thursday, April 18, at 2:30 pm.
HB 136 passed the 2019 Utah Legislature with a supermajority and signed into law by Governor Gary Herbert shortly after.
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes issued the following statement:
Since we expect this case or one like it to be elevated to the United States Supreme Court, this injunction lets both the State and the Plaintiffs carefully and thoughtfully build factual records in support of their positions. In the process, we look forward to vigorously defending HB 136 and explaining why it constitutionally protects the most vulnerable among us. The passion and conviction this case creates on both sides of the matter is not surprising. The issues here are deeply personal and some of the most pressing our society faces. Besides presenting questions about the fundamental right of the unborn to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as well as the health and safety of the mother and her rights, the case raises important questions about governmental power and the proper role of courts. We, therefore, take the Plaintiff’s legal challenge extremely seriously. These questions are fundamental to who we are—and what we stand for as Americans.
The Utah Attorney General’s Office is proud to partner with FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention to provide a 24/7 harassment hotline. Together, we hope to send a clear message to participants that bullying, abuse, assault, or harassment of any kind will not be tolerated.
How to Report an Incident Persons finding themselves in a situation where they feel targeted or where their safety is at risk or who become aware of an attendee or guest not in compliance with this policy should immediately locate the nearest volunteer or information booth, security personnel, or FanX® staff member that can direct you to the FanX® office located in Room 150A.
Note:FanX® staff members will be wearing identifying badges that say“Event Staff”. Volunteer Managers and Room Captains (Volunteers) will be wearing identifying t-shirts. Security will be dressed in black FanX® branded t-shirts. Convention staff can be identified by t-shirts/special badges/headsets.
Part of the Utah Opioid Task Force, co-chaired by Attorney General Sean D. Reyes along with U.S. Senator Mike Lee and DEA District Agent-in-Charge Brian Besser, Utah Naloxone is a game-changer in the fight against opioids in the State of Utah. The Utah Attorney General’s office is proud of the work Utah Naloxone co-founder, Dr. Jennifer Plumb, has accomplished and is privileged to partner with her and her organization as we address the opioid epidemic in our great state.
For Immediate Release
UTAH NALOXONE REACHES MAJOR MILESTONE
SALT LAKE CITY – More than 3,000 people in Utah have a second chance at life thanks to the efforts of Utah Naloxone. All of these individuals were given the medication naloxone (Narcan) during an opioid overdose by a non-medical layperson around them. Naloxone reverses an opioid overdose if given in time, causing the effects of the opioid to reverse and bringing them back. Opioids include pain pills, heroin, and fentanyl.
All of these life-saving doses were administered by non-medical members of our community who obtained rescue kits from Utah Naloxone or one of its Overdose Outreach Provider partners just for this purpose. The recent reports bringing us to this milestone came from our partners at One Voice Recovery (OVR) who work across the state of Utah to educate on substance use disorder, work to decrease stigma, as well as to reduce infectious disease transmission and overdose deaths. These direct community partners are a major contributor to saving lives across Utah.
The number of lives saved by naloxone has been attributed as a large part of why Utah is seeing a decline in the number of opioid deaths. We were one of only seven states in 2017 where the death rate is going down. And as the number of people who are surviving an opioid overdose and making it to an emergency room for care is rising – almost doubling from 2015 to 2017 (1.5/10,000 in 2015 to 2.8/10,000 in 2017). People are saving lives and giving people a chance to survive to make it to an ER which alters outcomes for our state.
There is still work to be done. Overdose is still the leading cause of injury death in the state, and Utah still is among states with a high rate of overdose deaths. If you or someone you know is taking opioids you should have Naloxone on hand in case of an overdose. Naloxone kits are available through Utah Naloxone. It is legal to possess the drug, and legal to administer it if you suspect someone is overdosing on opioids. For more information go to UtahNaloxone.org.
CONTACTS: Jennifer Plumb, MD, MPH Medical Director, Utah Naloxone 801-232-5410 801-696-1139 UtahNaloxone@gmail.com
Patrick Rezac Executive Director, One Voice Recovery 801-696-1139 OneVoiceRecovery@gmail.com
Yesterday, Utah Attorney General’s office Special Agents and staff were trained on how to administer Naloxone in the field by Dr. Jennifer Plumb. Check out the photos below:
The Utah Attorney General’s office is privileged to work in conjunction with the Utah Children’s Justice Centers and the partner organizations listed below to work towards the eradication of child abuse. The AG is committed to protecting children by prosecuting those who would seek to do them harm and provide necessary resources for healing and restoration. For more information about the work of the Utah Children’s Justice Centers, please visit www.utahcjc.org.
More than 1,700 Pinwheels Planted by Child Abuse Prevention Advocates to Remember, Honor Children Who Died as a Result of Child Abuse
As part of the “Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention” project, 1,720 pinwheels – one for each child who died nationwide as a result of child abuse in 2017 – were planted on Primary Children’s lawn on Monday as a reminder of the gravity of child abuse and a symbol of hope for a safer tomorrow for children.
Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention serve as a reminder that everyone has a responsibility to
help protect children in the community through education, support to children
and families in need, and by reporting suspected child abuse or neglect. Last year, more than 10,600 Utah children were victims
of child abuse.
If you see or suspect child abuse, call 1-855-323-3237
or local law enforcement.
April is Sexual
Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The Utah Attorney General’s office wants
to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate the public about
how to protect themselves.
This issue is a
priority for Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes and everyone who works here.
Our staff works tirelessly to stop sexual assault, to bring perpetrators to
justice, and ensure the safety of Utah communities.
We’re also proud to support and work with community partners to break the cycle of abuse and prevent sexual assaults from taking place in domestic situations as well as in work and campus environments. From Attorney General Reyes’ efforts to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (or VAWA), to collaborative efforts with NGOs, corporate, and non-profit partners, we can make a difference by continuing to educate and raise awareness of the horror of all types of abuse while doing everything to lift victims and survivors to a safe place.
The Utah Attorney General’s Office found itself the proud recipient of multiple Best of State awards this year. Those in the Utah AG’s office work hard to uphold the Constitution, enforce the law, and protect the interests of Utah and its people. Our sincere thanks to all those who give their time and energy to help make our office the Best of State.
The Best of State Awards recognize outstanding individuals, organizations and businesses in Utah. More than 100 judges review the nominations and determine the winners based on achievement in the field of endeavor, innovation or creativity in approaches, techniques, methods or processes, and contribution to the quality of life in Utah.
See below for a complete list of the AG’s Best of State 2018 awards.
Elected State Official: Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes
Military Personnel/Unit: Utah@EASE
Public Safety: Investigations Division, Utah AGO
Public Works: Utah Opioid Task Force
Public/Private Partnership: The Utah Children’s Justice Center Program
Publication: Utah AGO White Collar Crime Offender Registry
State Agency/Office: Utah Attorney General’s Office
Victim Advocacy: Attorney General Sean Reyes
Web-based Community Resource: The SafeUT App
The Utah AGO nominated DEA District-Agent-in-Charge Brian Besser for the following award due to his relentless work in combatting the opioid epidemic that has hit Utah both in the metro and rural areas. We are privileged to call him a partner, colleague, and friend.
Public Safety Officer: DEA District-Agent-in-Charge Brian Besser
Monday, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes swore five teens into the Youth Advisory Committee during a ceremony held in their honor for all the tremendous work they have done in the last year.
Affectionately nicknamed the Teen Titans, these five teens have worked closely with organizations such as SafeUT, the Children’s Justice Centers Program, and the Utah Gun Safety Program where they attended focus groups, provided suggestions on how to make things more teen-friendly, and gave feedback on how to interact with teens to make them feel comfortable.
Additionally, during the holiday season in 2018, they assisted law enforcement in Operation Give Back, a day dedicated to identifying and taking care of families in need. The Teen Titans rode along with the Utah Attorney General’s investigators and other law enforcement in delivering gifts and encouraging the families visited.
The Youth Advisory Committee provides invaluable insights into ways organizations can identify with teens and streamline programs and apps to make them not only appealing to teens but also to make them more user-friendly to all age groups.
If you are interested in joining the Youth Advisory Committee, applications will be accepted soon. Look out on our social media and website for future notifications of available applications. More details will follow.
On Sunday night, people from all walks of life gathered together on the front steps of the Utah State Capitol for a candlelight vigil to support those who have experienced the tragedy of a violent crime, as well as to honor the victims who lost their lives.
A Victim Centered
Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes attended the event, sharing the importance of having a victim-centered and trauma-informed approach in the criminal justice system and the continuous efforts of the Attorney General’s Office to incorporate it into their work.
“A victim’s experience with the criminal justice system can mean the difference between supportive and healing experience versus one that exacerbates their initial pain and trauma. Criminal acts can often strip victims of a sense of control, not to mention a sense of safety, security, self-confidence, and self-worth. Making sure victims are advised of their statutory rights, informed of the status of their case, and reassuring them along the way that they have done nothing wrong, that they are not at fault, these things can empower them to begin taking back their own lives,” said Attorney General Reyes.
The Attorney General’s Office has a unique opportunity to work with victims throughout almost every stage in the criminal justice system, from investigation to prosecution. Taking a victim-centered approach helps to minimize re-traumatization and provides victims with a compassionate and nurturing space in which to navigate the criminal justice system.
Listen to Attorney General Reyes’ speech below.
During the candlelight vigil, survivors shared their
experiences with abuse, trauma, and how they overcame their past.
Coming up on its 20th anniversary, four survivors
of the Columbine High School shooting and bombing shared their experiences that
fateful day on April 20,1999. Sarah Bush, Will Beck, Laura Hall, and
Tami Diaz, who were all students at the time of the tragic incident, have
together formed Rebels for Change, an organization that works to make schools
safer for children. They each shared their separate stories and spoke about
what it means to be a victim and the hope and healing that victims can look
Listen to their stories below.
Jenny Andrus, a professor at the University of Utah who currently teaches writing and rhetoric, as well as studying and reaching domestic violence, is a survivor of domestic violence herself. She shared her story of emotional and physical abuse. She spoke on how emotional abuse is often overlooked but can have the same horrible consequences as any other type of abuse. She spoke on the importance of the victims advocate program utilized by law enforcement.
Listen to her story below. Be advised of potential trigger warnings.
Sidney Andrews, a current Salt Lake Community College student studying Criminal Justice, shared her story on surviving sexual and emotional abuse by her step-father for 13 years. Andrews emphasized the importance of the victim advocate programs, and how her advocate was with her every step of the way through the court case and through her own healing. She spoke on the need for victims to have a voice, and how that voice was able to be heard through her family and advocate.
Listen to her story below.
Brielle Decker is a former member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) and was the 56th wife of Warren Jeffs, a former president of the FLDS Church. Decker spoke about her sexual abuse and about the importance of understanding trauma as a way to protect your families and become compassionate towards others. Decker has since created the Dream Center, a transition point and a place of healing for those who have left the FLDS Church. The Dream Center aids hundreds of people each year.
Listen to her story below.
Current Legislation to Aid Victims
Lastly, Representative Angela Romero spoke about the current legislative progress made for victims and about what you can do to help advocate for victims.
HB 234 Marriage Amendments increased the minimum age of marriage to 18. In certain circumstances, court authorization and consent by a parent or guardian may permit a lower age, but in all other circumstances, a person must be 18 years of age to legally marry.
SB 103 Victim Targeting Penalty Enhancements, otherwise known as the hate crimes bill, provides an enhanced penalty for a criminal offense committed against a victim based on age, ancestry, disability, ethnicity, familial status, gender identity, homelessness, marital status, matriculation, national origin, political expression, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, service in the U.S. Armed Forces, and status as an emergency responder.