Amid More Severe Domestic Violence Cases, Ohio Advocates Call for More Funding
Thursday, March 23, 2023
Ohio's domestic violence shelters provided emergency housing to nearly 10,000 people last year, and advocates are calling for a funding boost.
Providers said they are unable to meet demand, especially for the nearly 73,000 residents seeking counseling, court advocacy and other non-shelter services.
Mary O'Doherty, executive director of the Ohio Domestic Violence Network, said the volume of calls and the severity of cases has worsened since the pandemic.
"They are seeing survivors with more severe injuries, survivors describing more lethal situations," O'Doherty observed. "I hear regularly that the calls to our crisis lines are more complicated, are scarier for the advocates who are receiving the calls."
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has allocated $20 million for domestic violence services in his proposed budget, but the funding still needs approval from the state legislature. Dozens of advocates gather in Columbus today for the Ohio Domestic Violence Network's Advocacy Day to meet with lawmakers on the issue.
Last year in Ohio there were more than 80 domestic-violence related homicides, including the deaths of children.
Even with the funding increase, Ohio continues to spend less per capita for domestic violence services than its neighbors, including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana. O'Doherty pointed out investments in services ultimately save taxpayer dollars.
"Those are costs associated with medical care, property damage, law enforcement, emergency response, child protective services, legal fees, and the loss of life of survivors, including end-of-life expenses," O'Doherty outlined.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nationwide the lifetime economic cost associated with medical services, criminal justice, and other costs related to intimate partner violence totals more than $3 trillion.
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