DeWine Unveils Initiative

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today that he is awarding more than $51 million to 307 crime victim service providers across Ohio as part of the newly established “Ohio Attorney General’s Expanding Services and Empowering Victims Initiative.”

The funds are being awarded as the result of a marked increase in Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice for 2015-2016. In fiscal year 2014-2015, Ohio received $15,993,857 in VOCA funding, as opposed to this fiscal year’s award of $69,888,068. The fund is financed by federal settlements, fines, and fees.

Additional grant recipients will be announced in the future.

“No matter where you live in this state, we want victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes to have access to the essential services needed to report crimes, seek justice, and recover,” said Attorney General DeWine. “Through this initiative, we will help crime victim service agencies throughout the state enhance the essential services they already provide to crime victims in Ohio, while also funding brand new programs that will help empower survivors to overcome their victimization.”

Attorney General DeWine created the “Ohio Attorney General’s Expanding Services and Empowering Victims Initiative” to determine how the funds could best be spent to serve victims of crime in Ohio.

Of the $51 million in grants announced today, an estimated $15 million will go toward providing services to domestic violence victims, nearly $10 million will go to prosecutor-based programs, and more than $9 million will go toward serving victims of sexual assault. Additional funds will assist agencies that provide services to at-risk youth and human trafficking victims, court appointed special advocates, and child advocacy centers.

Some of the new programs being funded as part of the “Ohio Attorney General’s Expanding Services and Empowering Victims Initiative” include:

Domestic Violence Relocation Grant: $250,000 – Funds will be provided to the Ohio Domestic Violence Network to help relocate survivors of domestic violence who need emergency housing across the state. The grant will help pay for some living expenses, moving expenses, and utility deposits for victims of domestic violence.

Logan County Domestic Violence Shelter: $416,675.51 – Funds will be provided to Consolidated Care, Inc., to be used toward establishing a domestic violence shelter in Logan County that will be a 24-hour safe and secure emergency location providing food, clothing, and personal items for survivors’ immediate needs. Logan County does not currently have a domestic violence shelter.

Statewide Rape Crisis Hotline: $1,253,087.12 – Funds will be provided to the OhioHealth Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio to develop and implement a 24-hour statewide sexual violence hotline to serve survivors of sexual and relationship violence across the state.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Grants: $580,465.36 – Six grants adding up to $580,465.36 will be given to Akron General Medical Center, Mount Carmel Medical Center, Townhall II of Kent, Crime Victim Services of Allen County, Cleveland Clinic/Fairview Hospital, and Southwest Community Health Foundation to increase the number of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) in Ohio. SANEs are specifically trained to conduct sexual assault exams, support victims during the sexual assault exam process, and testify in court if needed.

Improving Access to Sexual Assault Services for the Disabled: $75,371.24 – Funds will be provided to Disability Rights Ohio to provide more robust advocacy for those with disabilities and provide individualized one-on-one support for victims of sexual assault to help them access services, seek justice, and access recovery programs. Funds will also be used to train advocates with Helpline of Delaware and Morrow Counties, New Directions of Knox County, and the Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio on how to best assist victims with disabilities.

Deaf/Hard of Hearing Victim Services: $198,000 – Funds will be provided to the Ohio School for the Deaf to help empower deaf or hard of hearing victims to become more comfortable reporting crime, be aware of existing crime victim resources, and have increased self-confidence navigating through the criminal justice system.

Unattended/Unattached Youth Collaborative Grants: $224,349.81 – Four grants adding up to $224,349.81 will be provided to the Ohio Domestic Violence Network, Ohio State University Star House, Sojourners Care Network of Vinton County, and Compass Family and Community Services of Mahoning County to help youth who are at-risk to become victims of human trafficking and sexual commercialization to address past victimization and prevent future victimization in order to stop the cycle of violence.

East Cleveland Homeless Youth Grant: $86,302 – Funds will be provided to Broken Connections in East Cleveland to help them hire three advocates to focus on working specifically with homeless youth who have been victims of crime, connect them with services to help prevent them from becoming permanently homeless, and help them cope with the trauma of victimization.

A full list of agencies receiving funds as part of the $51 million in awards announced today can be found on the Attorney General’s website.

Among the additional grant recipients to be announced at a later date include colleges and universities that will be awarded $3 million in competitive grants to strengthen their sexual assault advocacy programs.

As part of separate grant funding also announced today, Attorney General DeWine awarded nearly 200 crime victim services agencies with more than $3 million in grants from the State Victim Assistance Act (SVAA). A list of agencies receiving SVAA grants can also be found on the Attorney General’s website.