Memorial at Utah State Capitol pays tribute to domestic violence victims

SALT LAKE - It’s not often one feels both heartache and hope at the same moment, but the dozens gathered on the steps of Utah’s Capitol Wednesday night felt just that.

“We’re hopeful, very hopeful,” said Jenn Oxborrow, Executive Director for the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition.

The Capitol steps were adorned with 44 candles, each one representing the life of someone who died from domestic violence in Utah in 2017.

“From the moment I wake up, to the moment I go to bed, it’s on your mind all the time,” said an emotional Nic DeLuca, who lost his fiance, Jill, last year.

Jill and her ex-husband were tied up in a custody battle when he followed her to work.

“He pulled up behind her, walked up to her driver’s side window and shot her three times,” DeLuca said. Her ex-husband than turned the gun on himself.

“There’s a lot of attention in this session on domestic violence,” Oxborrow said of the bills being considered on Utah's Capitol Hill.

In addition to the $1.5 million approved for the Coalition’s annual budget, another law that could land on the Governor’s desk for his final signature that would give police more opportunity to help victims who are in a relationship, but not living with their spouse.

“It would allow police to intervene sooner; it would allow them to do more and provide quicker access to protections, like stalking injunctions," Oxborrow said.

If you’re someone who needs help or feel your safety is in danger from a spouse, or family member, you’re encouraged to reach out to the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition at 1-800-897-LINK