Opinion column: Is Ohio serious about domestic violence?


More than 76,000 domestic disputes were reported to Ohio police in 2017, according to Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.

The Ohio Domestic Violence Network reports that from July 2017 to June 2018, there were 91 fatalities attributed to domestic violence. In 22 percent of the deaths, children were at the scene. In 46 percent of the fatalities, the victim had ended the relationship or was in the process of ending it.

Are Ohio’s elected officials serious about domestic violence?

Rep. Janine Boyd and Rep. Sara Carruthers are sponsoring Ohio House Bill 3 to better identify high-risk domestic violence situations. The bill is titled Aisha’s Law in memory of Aisha Fraser of Shaker Heights, a victim of domestic violence who was stabbed to death by her ex-spouse with their children nearby.

Senate Bill 43 seeks to revise penalty/firearm limit for domestic violence. Primary sponsors are Stephanie Kunze and Nickie Antonio. The bill also wants to make strangulation of a partner or spouse a felony instead of a misdemeanor because strangling is one of the most common forms of domestic abuse.

Is Ohio serious about dating violence?

In 2018, then-Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 1 into law to strengthen Ohio’s domestic violence laws by allowing victims of dating violence to obtain civil protection orders. Ohio Substitute House Bill 19 (HB 19) became effective March 29, 2010. The bill requires public schools to incorporate dating violence into their policies prohibiting harassment, intimidation or bullying. School districts also must include dating violence prevention education in the health curriculum for grades 7 through 12. On June 17, 2010, Ohio law began allowing juveniles to obtain Civil Protection Orders (CPO) in Juvenile Court when they experience violence in their relationships by other teens (Oh. Rev. Code § 2151.34.)

Is law enforcement in Ohio serious about domestic violence?

Ohio Revised Code. 2935.03 Authority to arrest without warrant – pursuit outside jurisdiction. (c) If a peace officer described in division (A) of this section does not arrest and detain a person whom the officer has reasonable cause to believe committed the offense of domestic violence or the offense of violating a protection order when it is the preferred course of action in this state pursuant to division (B)(3)(b) of this section that the officer arrest that person, the officer shall articulate in the written report of the incident required by section 2935.032 of the Revised Code a clear statement of the officer’s reasons for not arresting and detaining that person until a warrant can be obtained.

Is Ohio serious about domestic violence funding?

Ohio Revised Code. 109.46 Domestic violence program fund. (1) There is hereby created in the state treasury the domestic violence program fund consisting of money appropriated to the fund by the general assembly or donated to the fund. The attorney general shall administer the domestic violence program fund. The attorney general may not use more than five per cent of the moneys appropriated or deposited into the fund to pay costs associated with administering the fund, and shall use at least ninety-five per cent of the moneys appropriated or deposited into the fund for the purpose of providing funding to domestic violence programs under this section.

Ohio ranks near the bottom in state and local revenues to domestic violence programs adjusted for population, spending just $2.04 per person. The national average is $5.82. Visit www.domesticviolenceshelters.org for more information.

In Ohio, other public support comes from a small portion of county marriage and divorce license fees. In most counties, that generates less than $20,000.

However, the newly passed two-year state budget includes a historic funding increase for domestic violence shelters across the state. The budget includes a 123 percent increase in funding for domestic violence prevention.

In February 2019, Ben Carson, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, announced funding expansion during a news conference at the Battered Women’s Shelter in Akron. HUD has approved $1.7 million to be distributed to other Ohio cities for this purpose.

Is your county, city, and community serious about domestic violence?

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Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Southern Ohio.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Southern Ohio.