WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) has awarded two grants worth a combined $63,153,829 in funding to the State of Ohio to support organizations serving victims of crime, including victims of domestic violence, child and elder abuse, and human trafficking. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk of domestic violence incidents, as victims are isolated from family, friends, and support services. A recent report conducted by the Ohio Domestic Violence Network (ODVN) has found that the annual count of Ohio domestic violence fatalities has jumped by 35 percent in the last year, a stark contrast to a two-year decline in lethal domestic violence cases.

The awards are part of the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and include:

·       Victim Assistance Formula: $58,307,829 to enhance crime victim services in the state.

·       Victim Compensation Formula: $4,846,000 to enhance State Victim Compensation payments to eligible crime victims. VOCA compensation funds provide financial assistance to Federal and State victims of crime.

“We have an obligation to victims and to help our communities recover from violent crimes, abuse, and other criminal activity. While these funds are good news for Ohio, there’s still more work to do,” said Brown. “That’s why, earlier this year, I urged my colleagues to increase the amount of money available for the Crime Victims Fund to the highest possible amount and pushed for all the funds from the program to go toward victims assistance programs. I’m continuing to work with my colleagues to ensure that Congress is doing all we can to help victims and communities across the country.”

Brown has long fought for legislation to address domestic violence and support survivors and their children:

Brown is leading the Child Welfare Emergency Assistance Act, with Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Robert Casey (D-PA), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), which would provide flexible, emergency aid for key child welfare programs to support vulnerable children, youth, and families, increasing federal support for parent training, family counseling, and substance use disorder treatment. The legislation would also provide families, caregivers, and young people with a broad range of support services, including assistance for transportation, housing, and utility payments. Provisions from Brown’s bill were included in the bipartisan Supporting Foster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act introduced by Chairman Danny Davis (D-IL-7) and in the Updated HEROES Act, which passed the House earlier this month.  

In May, Brown joined his colleagues in introducing the Emergency Funding for Child Protection Act, which would provide $500 million in emergency funds for local child protective services and $1 billion for community-based child abuse prevention programs. The funds for these local child protective services and community based programs are flexible, and can be used to target populations that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, including racial and ethnic minorities, children with disabilities, families experiencing domestic violence or homelessness, and LGBTQ youth.

In April, Brown joined a bipartisan letter to Senate leadership requesting robust funding for Family Violence and Prevention Services Programs, which provides grants to states, territories, and tribes to support emergency shelter and supportive services for victims of domestic violence and their children.

In March, Brown joined 23 of his Senate colleagues in writing a letter expressing concern for the wellbeing of families who face an increased risk of domestic violence during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus and urged the administration to ensure service providers have the flexibility and resources to help victims and survivors of domestic violence.

Brown fought to secure funding in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act for victims of domestic violence and service providers through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services Program, and the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or contact the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

To learn more about domestic violence and ways to prevent it, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.