Saturday, July 31, 2021

Play

Educators' unions call for efforts to ensure in-person learning keeps students, teachers, families, and staff safe; and an update on hate crimes by state.

Play

Congress passes Capitol security funding; House Freedom Caucus members want Cheney, Kinzinger out of GOP conference; Schumer closes a deal to advance $3.5 trillion reconciliation package; and a new report says investor-owned utilities try to block rooftop solar.

Rape-Crisis Agencies, Already Burdened by Cuts, Brace for More

Play

Thursday, April 29, 2021   

Correction: MacMath directs COMPASS (Sexual Assault Education, Prevention & Support), an affiliate of Goodwill Industries. An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified a different organization called COMPASS. (2:21 p.m. CT, 4/29/2021)

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Six months after rape-crisis funding suffered massive cuts, agencies across Ohio are struggling to ensure the needs of survivors are met.

The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), is the largest source of funding for victim service providers and is funded entirely from criminal fines.

VOCA dollars have been shrinking because of a decline in federal prosecutions, and Ohio's is down 40% for the fiscal year.

Ryn Farmer, director of Lima-based Day One of Crime Victim Services of Allen and Putnam Counties, said with less funding, they've had to reduce staff and response services are spread thinly, especially in rural areas.

She worries rape survivors won't be able to find help when they need it.

"When you experience violent harm on your body, and you don't have the support or resources that are needed to help, it disrupts the body's ability to heal," Farmer explained.

Molly MacMath, executive director of COMPASS (Sexual Assault Education, Prevention & Support), an affiliate of Goodwill Industries in Northeastern Ohio, said they've also struggled with the funding cuts. She hopes a U.S. House bill which allocates fines from non-prosecution agreements to VOCA will pass the Senate.

"But it's not an immediate fix," MacMath cautioned. "It's going to take time. Even if Congress were to pass the VOCA fix legislation, it would be awhile until that money filtered down."

Advocates also are calling on Ohio lawmakers to increase the line-item funding in the state budget for rape-crisis programs. Meanwhile, another round of VOCA cuts of up to 34% is coming in October.

Farmer pointed out the number of survivors seeking assistance rose 20% since the pandemic began, which means they are doing more with fewer resources. She added sustainable, meaningful funding is especially crucial for underserved sexual-violence survivors.

"So survivors from communities of color and Indigenous populations, survivors from immigrant communities, survivors with disabilities, survivors from the elder population, and survivors who identify as LGBTQ," Farmer outlined.

MacMath urged Ohioans to support increased funding for victims of sexual assault.

"You never know when yourself or someone you love is going to be affected by crime," MacMath stressed. "And agencies serving crime victims are hurting, and we're scared of what the future's going to hold."

Ohio's VOCA funding for fiscal year 2021 was about $38 million, a five-year low.


get more stories like this via email
In addition to roof repairs and other home improvements to lower utility bills, a Michigan League for Public Policy report recommends expanding utility-shutoff protections to include households with young children. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

LANSING, Mich. - High utility costs are a major burden for Michigan's low-income residents, and a new study says they have an impact on their health…


Environment

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A new report shows an effort by investor-owned utilities in the Sunshine State to block the growth of rooftop solar. The …

Health and Wellness

By Troy Pierson / Broadcast version by Mary Schuermann reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration. As marijuana becomes more …


Across the United States, 46 states have laws allowing for harsher punishment for crimes based on bias. (Ludk/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

SALT LAKE CITY - With rising numbers of people targeted in hate crimes and related violence, a new report analyzes the hate-crime laws in each state…

Social Issues

BOSTON - Educators' unions are calling on the state to support their efforts to ensure in-person learning in the fall keeps students, teachers…

According to AARP Connecticut, 47% of family caregivers have had at least one financial setback, such as having less money for retirement or savings, or cutting back on their own healthcare spending. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

HARTFORD, Conn. - In Connecticut, more than 460,000 people care for close friends or family members who can't manage on their own - and their …

Social Issues

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Millions of Americans soon could find eviction notices on their front doors, but New Mexico renters will not be among them - as …

Health and Wellness

CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire advocates for affordable healthcare access want Congress to lower prescription costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021