Asha Parekh honored during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Asha Parekh, director of the Salt Lake Area Family Justice Center at the YWCA, has won this year's Family Violence Prevention Award. The competitive annual award, given by the Utah Domestic Violence Council, will be presented to Ms. Parekh at UDVC's Family Violence Prevention Award Luncheon on October 15th.
"Asha is an outstanding advocate-leader with nearly 20 years of experience in the domestic violence field," said Anne Burkholder, the YWCA's chief executive officer. "Through her vision, persistence, and leadership Asha has been instrumental in bringing to Utah an innovative collaborative approach to addressing domestic violence – and has given it a flavor and character and strength that is Utah's own. Without Asha, the FJC simply would not exist. She is the soul and spirit behind this new and accessible opportunity for victims of domestic violence – women and men – to obtain the varied services they need to stay safe, grow strong, and rebuild their lives."
Ms. Parekh joined the YWCA staff in 2001 as director of the domestic violence shelter, became the director of the Salt Lake Area Safe at Home Coalition (managed by the YWCA) in 2004, then in 2007 became the director of Utah's first family justice center. She is past chair of the Utah Domestic Violence Council and the Salt Lake Area Domestic Violence Council. She has co-authored journal articles in the domestic violence field, and is frequently asked to share her expertise through speaking engagements, presentations, and interviews. Ms. Parekh earned a B.A. from UCLA in 1984 and an M.S.W. from UCLA in 1989.
Fourteen community partners now work together in the FJC to offer an array of integrated services including: crisis intervention; emergency shelter options; referrals for medical care; safety planning; resources to help children; short-term therapy; domestic violence police reports; protective orders; criminal prosecution; temporary public benefits; career counseling, job training and employment opportunities; educational assistance; financial planning workshops; and other specialized services. The FJC helps women and men build on their personal strengths, develop skills to make their own choices, and create safer, healthier lives for themselves and their families.
Since opening in May 2007, the FJC has served 3,691 individual victims and survivors of family violence. Of these, 2,001 returned for additional follow-up services – resulting in 14,755 visits since the FJC opened its doors five years ago. Ninety percent of victims were from Salt Lake County; only 53% of them came from Salt Lake City. In the last fiscal year alone there were 700 visitors with 427 returning for services, totaling 3,861 visits.
In June 2012, the Salt Lake Area Family Justice Center [FJC] moved into its new home within the YWCA's Center for Families. Women and men from anywhere in Salt Lake County who are suffering in abusive relationships can enter the secure, private space of the FJC and find safety, a warm welcome, an opportunity to choose confidential services that meet their needs, and practical support for the challenges they face. For more information call 801.236.3370 Monday through Friday.
The YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. For more than 100 years the YWCA has reached out to women and their families with friendship, life-changing programs, and opportunities to learn, lead, and influence the world around them. The YWCA's enduring belief is that better lives for women – all women – will lead to stronger families and communities. Since opening the first domestic violence shelter in Utah in 1976, the YWCA has developed an integrated range of programs focused on the problem of family violence. Today the YWCA is Utah's oldest, largest, and most comprehensive provider of shelter, transitional housing, supportive services, and education for women and children who have experienced abuse and violence at home.