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Increased funding for domestic violence services can save lives
March 18, 2023
Published March 18, 2023, by The Marion Star
It’s the kind of horrible scenario of domestic violence no one wants to happen. A man allegedly shoots a woman and her baby daughter last summer in Delaware County, then forces them both into a car. He crashes that car, then carjacks another. Passersby try to help. The mother who was shot survives. Her 17-month-old daughter does not.
The pain of intimate partner violence is all too familiar for many and the cost so high — cutting across all the lines of age, race, gender, geography and economics. That’s why it’s vital that Ohio legislators approve the $20 million in additional funding for domestic violence services that Gov. Mike DeWine and Attorney General Dave Yost are recommending be included in the Ohio budget for 2024-2025. Those dollars literally can save lives.
The Turning Point Domestic Violence Shelter operates two emergency shelters — one each in Marion and Delaware counties, with 77 beds between them. The shelters serve survivors from those two counties and also from four more from central Ohio — Wyandot, Crawford, Union and Morrow. For those leaving the shelter, we also offer three transitional homes in Marion County.
The Delaware County shelter is relatively new — built in response to the growing need for services we see in our area. We also send advocates to help domestic violence survivors navigate the complexities of criminal court hearings involving their abusers and custody disputes in the civil courts.
While the need for helping people in dangerous situations is great, federal funding for domestic violence services has been cut 60% across Ohio since 2019. Those cutbacks have hit our program hard, as we have had to reduce programs aimed at preventing domestic violence and providing trauma counseling and therapeutic art programs for children. We’ve experienced a reduction in staff, including our children’s coordinator, in order to preserve services to survivors in imminent danger.
Too often, children exposed to violence in the home become violent themselves later in life — repeating the pattern, at a huge cost to themselves and the community. Yet we have only two advocates serving 26 school districts in our region.
In the fiscal year ending in June 2022, Ohio reported 81 victims killed in domestic violence cases, along with 31 perpetrators. The youngest victim was a day-old baby; the oldest, a 90-year-old woman.
Yet Ohio’s spending on domestic violence services lags behind that of nearby states. I urge the Ohio legislators to support the proposal from Ohio’s governor and attorney general to increase funding for domestic violence services by $20 million over the next two years — a first step towards bringing our state closer to spending parity with surrounding states. Currently, Ohio spends 32 cents per capita on domestic violence services, compared with 92 cents for Indiana, $1.41 for West Virginia, $1.56 for Pennsylvania and $2.54 for Kentucky.
Investors and community partners may contact Amber Scott directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-382-8988.