Ohio Crime Victims Get $22 Million
Ohio has received $13,221,000 in victim assistance funds and $8,783,000 in victim compensation funds from the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP) Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), which will provide support and services for thousands of victims throughout the state. OVC Director John W. Gillis announced the awards at the 13th Annual “Two Days in May” Conference on Victim Assistance.
The “Two Days in May” Conference, was sponsored by the Ohio Office of the Attorney General. The conference provides training to law enforcement, prosecutors, court personnel and victim service providers on issues including domestic violence, child sexual abuse and outreach to under-served crime victims.
Ohio uses its crime victim assistance funds to support statewide and local initiatives, including domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, child abuse victims programs and other initiatives that provide counseling, advocacy or emergency transportation to victims.
Ohio can also use these funds for innovative efforts such as sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) programs or victim service units in law enforcement agencies, prosecutors offices and social service agencies.
Ohio’s compensation program receives annual grants equal to 60 percent of its total payout to crime victims in a previous year. Compensation programs work similarly to private insurance, providing reimbursement to, or on behalf of, crime victims for expenses such as medical costs, mental health counseling, funeral and burial costs, and lost wages.
Gillis also announced a $500,000 grant from OVC to Parents of Murdered Children (POMC), a national organization based in Cincinnati. POMC will assist grassroots victim service providers through information sharing, training, and other support.
Money for the annual awards comes from the Crime Victims Fund which is supported primarily by fines paid by federal criminal offenders, not taxpayers.
The fines are collected by United States Attorneys, the U.S. Courts and the Bureau of Prisons. Fines collected in one year are deposited into the Fund and are available for grant awards the following year. The USA Patriot Act of 2001 allowed private gifts, donations and bequests to the Crime Victims Fund.
Over 90 percent of Fund deposits are distributed annually by OVC to states and territories to support state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.
Remaining funds are used for training and technical assistance, national demonstration projects and to improve handling of child abuse cases in Indian communities. In addition, these funds support victim witness coordinator and advocate positions for U.S. Attorney Offices, victim specialist positions in the FBI and a federal victim notification system.
OJP’s Office for Victims of Crime is committed to enhancing the nation’s capacity to assist crime victims and providing leadership in changing policies and practices to promote justice and healing for crime victims.