COLUMBUS — The Ohio Attorney General plans to award an estimated $59 million in grants to groups that provide direct services to crime victims across Ohio, including more than $13 million to help children.
The organizations receiving grants has not been finalized but it’s anticipated there will be about $55.5 million from the Victims of Crime Act and $3.5 million from the State Victim Assistance Act fund.
“Our job is to help protect our children especially when they are at their most vulnerable,” Attorney General Dave Yost said. “I have worked hard to ensure we are dedicating as much support as possible to meeting that mission and, as always, there is more work to do.”
The attorney general has made it a priority that the funds go to groups that have direct, frontline interactions with victims of crime including sexual assaults, domestic violence and other violent crime with traumatic effects on peoples’ lives.
The fund, provided mostly by the federal government, has dwindled significantly from $112 million in 2018 to $55.5 million this year. Despite the reduction, the attorney general remains committed to these vital programs in Ohio as a majority of groups will still receive at least two-thirds of the funding they received the previous year. The funding is effective for these programs which include crime victim services in county prosecutor’s offices, family shelters and children advocacy groups across Ohio.
The grant application process includes a review of an applicant’s programming and fiscal history. Applicants are then scored and recommendations are made by the State Victims Assistance Advisory Council to the attorney general. Application scores are being scrutinized as an added layer of review with final awards anticipated to be announced in the coming week.
Earlier this year Yost joined attorneys general from all 50 states in calling on members of Congress to increase funding for crime victims.
“Immediate solutions are required to ensure the long-term viability of this fund that offers crime victims a helping hand at perhaps the most vulnerable point in their life,” Yost said. “The financial strength of the fund is critical in making sure all Ohioans have access to the help they need.”
The federal grant money comes from the Victims of Crime Act of 1984.
Deposits to the fund come from criminal fines, penalties and assessments from the U.S. Attorneys’ Office, forfeited bail bonds and other fees collected by federal courts and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.