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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Ohio’s Rape Crisis Centers See Boost in State Funding

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Friday, February 24, 2023   

Gov. Mike DeWine recently announced he's providing $30 million to boost rape crisis services statewide, after years of federal funding cuts.

Jennifer Seifert, executive director of the Ohio Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program, said the trauma associated with sexual violence demands a tailored response that crisis centers are staffed and trained to address.

"And that can be all the way from a civil protection order to perhaps filing a Title IX complaint, if they're a college student," she said, "or all the way to maybe mobilizing some housing resources or reporting to law enforcement, getting the evidence collection done at a medical facility."

Since the start of the pandemic, crisis centers have had to cut staff and reduce service areas, as centers saw a 55% jump in monthly hotline calls, along with a rise in survivors seeking emergency shelter, legal advocacy and mental-health services.

Emily Gemar, director of public policy at the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, explained that the services people need throughout their lifetime to recover from sexual violence, and that the response from law enforcement and prosecutors offices can be costly. She said for every act of sexual violence prevented, more than $122,000 in lifetime costs are averted.

"We know that by investing money into prevention, which was one of the primary reasons for the state funding for sexual assault services, that we are actually saving our state money and improving the quality of life for for all Ohioans," she said.

Rose Beltre, the alliance's executive director, said centers are grappling with how to expand coverage across the state, retain existing services and reach into new areas, and asked, "How can the centers maintain adequate staff to be able to provide services for survivors, holistic and comprehensive services?"

According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Victimization Survey, nearly one in five women and one in 67 men have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lives.


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