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Kimberly Houk ReportingPolice in Sandy say they've seen an increase in domestic violence calls, responding to 945 reports last year. The trend has prompted creation of a public service announcement. The message is only 90-seconds long, but is making an impact on viewers at Jordan Commons Theaters.
Some are saying the announcement is disturbing but educational. Its main focus is on children, and what it does to those who witness domestic violence in their homes. Police want victims to know there is help and they end with a phone number to call.
Police say the film portrays the most common domestic violence scene. It starts with a family having dinner. A child spills a glass of milk. The father starts to yell. Then the events begin to escalate when the father throws a vase of flowers against the wall. The mother reaches for a phone to call for help; she's shoved away and the phone gets ripped out of the wall. It ends with a child crying.
Officer Ben Derrick, Sandy Police Dept.: “My main focus on the child abuse was to show the child. I wanted to show the child, how scared he was and how this does affect children. So I hope that if children are being a victim of it, that they do pick up on this and that they do see that there is help out there.”
But some mothers think the PSA is too disturbing for young children to see. The short film plays before every movie at Jordan Commons, including kid films like ‘Finding Nemo.’
Cal Gunderson, Jordan Commons: “One mother said to me, ‘My children wanted to know what was going on.’ So they are watching it, they are looking at it and it’s causing a reaction.”
Mindy Hennefer, Mother: “The only thing I was concerned about for my kids was that I was there to explain it to them when they saw it, so they knew what they were seeing and that it was not normal behavior.”
Officer Ben Derrick, Sandy Police Dept.: “This video is no more than they’d see in a cartoon that you’d allow them to see on TV. The violence, it doesn’t really show anything, it just gives you the idea.”
This is one of three PSAs the Sandy Police Department is releasing. They just finished one on car burglaries and this winter they will start another on car theft.