Ohio’s Attorney General announced a plan to address existing gaps in sexual assault services across Ohio and some of that money will come to Perry County.
Attorney General Mike DeWine said the formation of a Sexual Assault Services Expansion Program comes after a survey conducted by his office found that 59 percent of Ohio’s counties do not have comprehensive, direct sexual assault services.
According to the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, a county with comprehensive, direct services offers a 24-hour crisis hotline, criminal justice advocacy, hospital advocacy, community outreach, crisis intervention services, referral services, and agency collaboration.
Eight counties in the state offer few or no sexual assault-specific services, that list includes Perry County.
The first year of the Sexual Assault Services Expansion Program will provide grant funding for new regional sexual assault coordinators who will oversee the implementation of comprehensive, direct sexual assault services in all of Ohio’s counties over the next five years.
The state will focus on expanding direct sexual assault services to Perry County.
"It’s crucial that adequate victim services are available to anyone who has been sexually assaulted," said DeWine. "We know that these counties are doing the best they can, but they are struggling. This is why we are going to help."
The announcement also comes at the same time as Ohio Representatives Nan Baker and Kirk Schuring announced their proposed Rape Crisis Program Trust Fund legislation. Money for the fund would be raised through $100 sex offender registration fees. The money would go towards eligible rape crisis programs to provide services such as hotlines, victim advocacy, and support services.