Victory for Crime Survivors as Senate Bill 369 Passes with Backing of Ohio Leaders & Public Safety Groups
Legislation Will Allow for Crime Victims and their Families to Access Recovery Resources in Aftermath of Violent Crime
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ) applauds the Ohio Senate for passing Senate Bill 369, removing barriers to victims compensation and recovery support faced by crime victims. The legislation, which ASJ has advocated for over the past two years, is a landmark win for crime survivors and public safety across the state. Senate Bill 369 amends eligibility requirements for crime victims to better access support from the state’s victim compensation program.
“Senate Bill 369 is a tremendous step towards lifting barriers that undermine public safety by blocking crime victims from getting the help they need to recover,” said Shakyra Diaz, Ohio State Director for the Alliance for Safety and Justice. “A survivor of crime should never be denied support because of a years-old felony conviction of theirs or a loved one, or because of a toxicology report. We are honored to have led efforts to advocate for this critical bill, and applaud Senators Peggy Lehner and Nathan Manning and the entire Senate for passing it. Even though there is more we can do in Ohio to meet the needs of crime survivors, this is an important step forward.”
The legislation addresses a problem, where families were often denied aid on the basis of prior felony convictions unrelated to their or a family member’s victimization from as far back as 10 years ago. Senate Bill 369 reduces that time period to five years. It also addressed an issue that allowed crime victims with drugs in their system to be denied support, without requiring any understanding of the circumstances. The Dayton Daily News has reported multiple instances where a victim of crime was denied assistance because they had a controlled substance in their system at the time of their victimization, despite not being charged with any crime. It reported that one woman shot in the Oregon District was denied support after methamphetamines were found in her blood at the hospital, even though she indicated having an Adderall prescription.
The Alliance for Safety and Justice has been advocating for a version of the legislation since August 2018. ASJ worked alongside then-Attorney General Mike DeWine to establish Ohio trauma recovery centers that provide wraparound services to victims of violent crime, and has continued that work with Attorney General Dave Yost. TRC advocates help survivors apply for and access victims compensation. The bipartisan bill, backed by Senators Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering, and Nathan Manning, R-North Ridgeville, further establishes Ohio’s reputation in helping underserved crime survivors better access recovery support.
ABOUT 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.