Ohio Boosts Funding for Domestic-Violence Survivors
Wednesday, September 1, 2021
COLUMBUS, Ohio - More money soon will be available to help survivors of domestic abuse in Ohio.
State lawmakers earmarked $7.5 million for domestic-violence prevention programs in the 2022-23 budget, a significant boost from the $2 million for these services in the 2020 budget.
As more survivors seek safety, said Mary O'Doherty, executive director of the Ohio Domestic Violence Network, the funding is needed desperately.
"Honestly, the kind of requests for help were dire," she said. "People were experiencing more severe abuse; the pandemic made it harder for survivors and their children to go in to our shelters. So, this funding is coming at a time of great need and is greatly appreciated."
Programs will receive $5 million this year and $2.5 million next year. Applications for the funding soon will be released by the Attorney General's office.
In fiscal year 2020, 109 Ohioans died in cases of domestic violence, a 35% increase over 2019.
Ohio provided state budget funding for domestic-violence-related services for the first time in 2019, starting with $1 million. O'Doherty said that was pretty low compared with other states in the region.
"Ohio was not providing the support for domestic-violence services in a way that was comparable to West Virginia, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky or Pennsylvania," she said.
Collectively, O'Doherty added, domestic-violence programs in Ohio lost more than $7.7 million in federal funding this year, and have seen budget reductions of 40% over the past two years.
"These state legislators really stepped up for domestic-violence survivors and for the shelters in their communities," she said, "but at the end of the day, our programs are going to use new funding to fill gaps that were created by federal funding cuts that have occurred over the last few years."
In 2020, about 111,000 survivors were served by Ohio's 75 local domestic-violence programs.
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