More Than 250 Crime Survivors from Across the State Call for Reforms and Hold a Vigil in Memory of Loved Ones
Survivors and Elected Officials Advocate for Employment and Housing Protections For Victims and Other Reforms to Help End Cycles of Crime
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Hundreds of crime survivors and families of murdered Ohioans crowded the state capitol today to urge lawmakers to expand support for crime victims and make communities safer. Crime survivors were joined by elected officials at Survivors Speak Ohio – an annual event hosted by Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice (CSSJ) – with families holding photos of murdered loved ones and advocating for public safety reforms.
Ohio members of CSSJ have helped lead the passage of historic safety reforms in recent years. Since 2018, CSSJ has advocated for the removal of barriers to victim compensation and to expand support for victims to help end cycles of crime. Late last year, Governor DeWine signed into law Senate Bill 36, which allowed more victims to qualify for compensation and addressed trauma in our communities. In addition, CSSJ has helped establish eight trauma recovery centers throughout the state, bringing comprehensive services and critical support to victims in underserved communities.
“No parent should have to worry about loss of income because they need time to grieve the murder of a child,” said Rukiye Abdul-Mutakalim, a member of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice who lost her son to gun violence. “Ohio lawmakers must support communities most harmed by violence by ensuring that crime survivors have the resources and support needed to heal.”
In an emotional press conference and vigil, Rukiye Abdul-Mutakalim and other survivors with CSSJ called for passage of commonsense employment protections for families grieving in the days and weeks following the homicide of a loved one, housing protections for victims in the aftermath of violent crime, funding for the state’s eight trauma recovery centers, and rehabilitation programs that improve public safety by reducing recidivism.
“Our elected officials must continue to ensure that the most vulnerable people in our communities are given a seat at the table on public safety,” said Candace S. Williams, Ohio state director for the Alliance for Safety and Justice. “When we don’t prioritize recovery and healing for survivors, the cycle of crime continues. These public safety solutions help address crime and violence at the root while working to make communities safer for all Ohioans.”
Crime survivors are calling for common sense policies that make Ohio communities safer for all, including bipartisan bills to:
- Fund Trauma Recovery Centers to serve more Ohio crime victims
- Extend unpaid leave for crime victims and their loved ones to find safety, navigate the courts, and begin to heal after a crime
- Create housing protections for crime victims and their loved ones, including provisions that allow them to relocate safely
- Improve rehabilitation programs, including the earned credit program and transitional control – proven solutions to reducing recidivism
“Ohio crime survivors understand just how easily violence can tear through families and communities,” said Aswad Thomas, gun violence survivor and national director of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “That’s why we’re here at the Capitol today. Crime survivors deserve to be heard and lawmakers need to prioritize common-sense public safety solutions that make life easier for all of us. We can’t stop crime from happening but we can do everything we can to ensure victims have a fighting chance at recovery.”
ABOUT CRIME SURVIVORS FOR SAFETY AND JUSTICE
Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice is a national network of crime survivors, including more than 5,000 members across Ohio, joining together to create healing communities and shape public safety policy. With over 70,000 members and growing, including chapters and leaders across the country, Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice is building a movement to promote public safety policies that help the people and communities most harmed by violence. The organization is a flagship project of Alliance for Safety and Justice.
For more information, visit: https://cssj.org/.