For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Contact on behalf of Alliance for Safety and Justice: [email protected]
OHIO HOUSE PASSES SB 36, EXPANDING VICTIM SUPPORT AND IMPROVING SAFETY IN VICTORY FOR CRIME SURVIVORS
SB 36 Reduces Barriers to Ohio’s Victim Compensation Program, Ending Cycles of Trauma and Making Communities Safer
The Bill, Passed in a Bipartisan Vote, Will Be Sent to the Senate for Concurrence Before Going to the Governor for His Signature
COLUMBUS – The Ohio House of Representatives today passed SB 36 in a bipartisan vote, expanding access to the state’s victim compensation program and helping to improve public safety. The legislation – which now goes to the Ohio Senate for concurrence – was strongly supported by crime victims across the state, including the Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ) and its Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice network in Ohio. ASJ began advocating for these reforms in 2018, and has worked alongside bill sponsor Chair Senator Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville) on elevating the needs of victims in this legislation. ASJ has also worked alongside state leaders to establish trauma recovery centers that provide wraparound services to victims of violent crime and prevent re-victimization.
“Final passage of SB 36 is a victory for crime survivors and their families, as well as those who’ve worked so hard to improve safety throughout Ohio,” Shakyra Diaz, Ohio State Director for the Alliance for Safety and Justice. “Denying people access to support – when they are trying to recover from mental and physical trauma – just serves to exacerbate pain and perpetuate cycles of crime. Today, the state legislature is sending a message of support to all those who have lost a loved one or are on the path to healing after violence. We look forward to the governor’s support for crime victims as we advocate for these proven solutions to safety in Ohio.”
“As a survivor who lost the love of my life to violence, I know the struggle of the healing process and the trauma that is compounded after being denied victim compensation. But today, I recognize the progress and hope offered to countless survivors across Ohio,” said India Brown, Ohio member of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “I thank the elected leaders who supported this legislation and incorporated our voices in these reforms. SB 36 will offer a lifeline to victims and families when they are grieving and looking for help in their time of need. These critical reforms will help our communities be safer and finally address the trauma that has hurt so many.”
“In every community in Ohio, there are victims and families who just need help to lift themselves up and heal from immeasurable pain. I’ve worked with many of these survivors myself, and I know that the recovery process can be a little easier if we expand access to already-existing services. Today, the House has recognized this reality and stood with crime victims by passing SB 36, which will prevent re-victimization and remove barriers for the healing journey. Passing these reforms is not just the morally right thing to do, it’s also a proven approach to improving safety,” said Stephen Massey, director of operations of the CitiLookout Trauma Recovery Center in Springfield.
If signed into law, SB 36 would ensure that more crime victims receive the financial and emotional support needed to address trauma as a result of a crime, allowing for families and communities to heal and stop cycles of violence. These reforms would:
- Expand victim compensation coverage for immediate family members of certain crime victims, and remove restrictions based on an old felony conviction – from as far back as 10 years ago – unrelated to a person or their family member’s victimization.
- Eliminate barriers to victims based on a mere allegation that they may have committed a crime in the past – regardless of if they were ever convicted.
- Prohibit the denial of support for crime victims who tested positive for a controlled substance at the time of their victimization without consideration of their circumstances.
- Prevent the denial of support for family members of victims who are killed based on allegations regarding the victim’s actions. Family members who lose a loved one to a tragic act of violence are always victims themselves, and must be able to bury their loved ones with dignity and have the resources they need to heal.
The full text of the bill can be viewed here.
ABOUT THE ALLIANCE FOR SAFETY AND JUSTICE
The Alliance for Safety and Justice is a national organization that aims to win new safety priorities in states across the country. It partners with leaders to advance state reform through networking, coalition building, research, education, and advocacy. It also brings together diverse crime survivors to advance policies that help communities most harmed by crime and violence, as part of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice – its national network of over 42,000 crime survivors, with thousands of members in Ohio. For more information, visit https://allianceforsafetyandjustice.org.