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r T Wednesday, December 31, 1997 The Park Record A-17 Park Record Profile Jean Paulson is helping others begin to help themselves Pioneer of the Summit County Victim Advocate program is ready to tackle the needs of victims of violence by Kirsta H. Bleyle OF THE RECORD STAFF There is no sign on the door to the Domestic Peace Task Force's offices. Aside from a placard at the building's ground level, the office where victims of violence seek assistance is as low-key as the woman who runs one of its programs. Jean Paulson sits in a paneled office filled with donated furniture furni-ture early one Friday afternoon as the late December sun filters through the window. It is the day before she is supposed to leave for Minnesota, where her two grown children and four grandkids are waiting for her holiday arrival. Before she can leave, however, she must attend to the stack of protective orders awaiting her review on the desk in front of her. Unfortunately, as the task force grows and strengthens, so do the number of protective orders filed by Paulson's Summit County Victim Advocate Program each year. During 1997, Paulson estimates, esti-mates, over 200 victims of violence vio-lence utilized the task force's services ser-vices to help file the documents designed to protect them against their assailants. But the documents docu-ments themselves, she notes, are only pieces of paper that will not protect a victim against a violent aggressor. Holding the sheaves of paper in front of her face, Paulson demonstrates that the documents might not always protect a victim when placed in a violent situation. Rather, it is the legal provisions provi-sions contained within the protective protec-tive orders which guarantee victims vic-tims will receive certain legal considerations, con-siderations, such as temporary child support. As she describes the legal protections provided once a judge signs the documents, Paulson also shows how much this licensed practical nurse from North Dakota had to learn about the law, and the inalienable rights of victims, when spearheading the victim advocate program in the mid-1990s. Genesis of the Summit County Victim Advocate Program About a decade ago, after moving to Park City from Libby, Mont, with her husband, Harley, Paulson received her first taste of the domestic violence epidemic while attending a meeting where Deborah Daniels of the YWCA's Women in Jeopardy program was a guest speaker. "I was so alarmed at the statistics," statis-tics," Paulson says of Daniel's lecture. lec-ture. By the fall of 1989, Paulson was part of a group of Park City locals who decided to take steps toward addressing the domestic violence problems of Summit County. The genesis of the group's efforts became the Domestic Peace Task Force. The organization's first steps included applying for not-for-profit status, in addition to learning learn-ing the causes of domestic violence, vio-lence, its ramifications, and its remedies. "We had to educate ourselves, and then look at how to educate the public," Paulson says of the task force's beginnings in 1990. During its first year, the group's finances received considerable support from the Kimball Junction Wal-Mart store, which named the task force as its "charitable "chari-table donation" for the year. My goal is for all victims of crime to have the availability of support, and options for their lives" Jean Paulson Director of Summit County Victim Advocate Program Paulson says, adding that "(Wal-Mart) "(Wal-Mart) really got us started." While Summit County is known to have a wide array of socio-economic levels, Paulson's observations reinforce the fact that domestic violence does not discriminate. Within this community, she says, there are "staggering statistics" statis-tics" involving domestic violence. In an attempt to further the goals of the task force, and to help more individual victims, Paulson left her position on the organization's board and spearheaded the victim advocate program as a subprogram subpro-gram of the task force. "These women, they are survivors" sur-vivors" As a liaison between the court system and victims, the program Paulson leads offers services to victims of violence that include preliminary court appearances by one of the program's advocates in lieu of the victim. With the increasing incidence of domestic and violent crimes, Paulson adds, the victim advocate program's court appearances happen weekly. "We're there as a support system sys-tem for the victim," she says, adding that, as liaisons to the victims, vic-tims, the program is able to provide pro-vide follow-up attention to complainants com-plainants which the busy county attorney's office might not have time for. The program's advocates also follow the weekly court docket dock-et to help identify victims who might need their services, Paulson adds. The Park City Police and Summit County Sheriff's departments depart-ments regularly help the task force and advocate program get in touch with victims by referring complainants com-plainants and making their reports available to program members. Most of the time, Paulson says, calls from the advocate program pro-gram are "very well received" by the victims. However, there are times when caution is necessary, nec-essary, and pro gram members need to call back if the victim is scared, or the perpetrator is nearby. In either incidence, the victim is always gently encouraged to file charges against an abuser, as creat ing a "paper trail" is helpful should the case make it to court. Part of the paper trail, Paulson notes, includes the aforementioned aforemen-tioned protective orders. Often, attorneys will refer victims to the advocate program for help in filing the orders and to save the clients money in attorney fees. Additionally, the advocate program pro-gram has a number of attorneys who do pro bono work for the clients. Any victim of violent crime, including rape, is eligible for assistance. Of the advocate program's female clients, Paulson points out, she often sees evidence of unimaginable unimag-inable strength. "These women, they are survivors," sur-vivors," she says, adding that it is often necessary for victims to survive sur-vive "within the violence" if they are unable to leave the situation. And, three years after the advocate program was started, Paulson received the "Angel of Peace" award from the Salt Lake Domestic Violence Council in early December for her role as a community leader working toward the goal of domestic peace. Training others to help An important aspect of the victim advocate program is volunteer vol-unteer training, Paulson says, which occurs in the spring and fall, and affords individuals an opportunity to lend a hand in creating cre-ating "a world without violence." The two objectives of the victim vic-tim advocate training are: learning learn-ing how to answer phones at the two-year-old Peace House domestic violence shelter, and helping to raise general awareness aware-ness through public education. Victim advocates also assist the mobile crisis team with office work, and children's programs. Volunteers sometimes "just want to know more about domestic domes-tic violence. The more people who are aware, the better everyone becomes," Paulson points out. And, she adds, while her job involves violent crimes and unpleasant scenarios, "very rarely do I take (the job) home with me." However, she adds, "once in awhile there's someone that I wake up in the middle of V SCOTT SINEPARK RECORD Jean Paulson, a former licensed practical nurse, helped get the Domestic Peace Task Force off the ground in the early '90s, and currently serves as director of the Summit County Victim Advocate Program. the night and think about." When referring to the 25-30 victims serviced by the task force each month, Paulson says, "there are times when I cry right along with them." The advocate program also offers counseling referral services ser-vices for rape, stalking, harassment harass-ment and non-cohabitative abuse of women, in addition to providing provid-ing links to the state's victim reparations program which helps pay for medical bills and safety measures such as the changing of i locks on a residence. For Paulson, the future of the advocate program includes increasing the awareness of their presence in order to make sure no victims fall through the cracks. "My goal." she stresses, "is for all victim's of crime to have the availability of support, and options for their lives." For more information on the Summit County Victim Advocate Program, or Domestic Peace Task Force, please call 658-0510. "I Chose Pinebrook Pointe Because..." . s;; I ! i; I j --. ;:- tf ft h .? : i -.-; r ' n : - -i ! ' f j t Corrine Humphrey f'iii''a-'''t'' '-ufam i f i Lt III.,', ;' " looked all year for a Park City home. 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