OAESV works with its Survivor Advisory Council and local rape crisis centers to develop long-and short-term public policy objectives. OAESV staff then develop and implement strategies to support passage of laws and budget resolutions necessary to achieve those objectives. In 2018, OAESV staff provided testimony to the Ohio Legislature on a number of bills and held numerous legislative meetings in order to gain support for an increase to the Rape Crisis Centers Line Item in the Ohio Operating Budget. 

In 2018, OAESV coordinated proponent testimony for Ohio's Advocate Privilege Bill, gathering in-person and written statements from rape crisis programs and survivors to the Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Sexual Violence in Ohio: OAESV's Legislative Newsletter

Interested in our legislative work? Click here to read our legislative newsletters! These are sent to Ohio lawmakers in an effort to keep them up-to-date on any federal legislation impacting survivors, our statewide priorities, and any events and updates we have.

OAESV Thanks the Ohio House & Senate for Increased Rape Crisis Services Funding

We want to extend a very special “thank you” the Ohio House & Senate for approving the increased budget for the Ohio Rape Crisis Centers line item (“Line Item”), from $1.5 million per fiscal year to $4.75 million per fiscal year.

This increase was necessary in order to position Ohio's 31 rape crisis programs to expand services to cover all 88 counties. This increase will change the landscape of rape crisis services in our state and will positively impact the lives of thousands of Ohioans.

Before 2014, Ohio survivors could access rape crisis services in less than half of Ohio's 88 counties. Programs serving these counties operated heavily on federal grants, and the vast majority of federal grants restricted funding to the creation or maintenance of new positions and heavily regulate the tasks those grants will support. This left Ohio rape crisis programs without a dependable funding stream to cover costs associated with keeping their doors open.

To expand service accessibility across counties, and to increase the financial stability of Ohio's existing rape crisis programs, OAESV worked diligently with Ohio legislators and the Attorney General's office to create the Ohio Rape Crisis Centers budget line item. Under the Line Item, programs that meet the Core Standards are eligible for unrestricted funds. The Line Item's positive impact has been swift and powerful. For instance, many programs have been able to extend their services to cover additional counties, increase employment, and create prevention programming.

As counties providing services have increased since 2014, so have reports of sexual violence to law enforcement. This is just one way that the Line Item has demonstrated a tangible and impressive impact since it was first introduced.

Now, the increased demand for survivor services and prevention work will further be met with this extremely impactful increase in Line Item funds. We are so thankful that the Ohio legislature and the Ohio Attorney General’s office have made this decision to support survivors in Ohio and the advocates who serve them and to help put an end to sexual violence in our state.

Get Involved!

Download OAESV’s Ohio Rape Crisis Line Item Call to Action Toolkit HERE.

 

Advocate Privilege in Ohio: The Time is Now

OAESV is advocating for a proposed bill that, if enacted, would establish Advocate Privilege in Ohio - meaning that communications between sexual assault survivors and rape crisis advocates would be legally protected in the same way that communications between doctors and patients, and attorneys and clients, are protected. We believe survivors deserve access to advocacy services without worrying about what they say or what they've endured.

Eliminating the Statute of Limitations and Spousal Exemptions on Rape

In November 2019, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding its first hearing on Senate Bill 162: Eliminate Statute of Limitations for Rape; Spousal Exceptions. OAESV has been involved in previous efforts to remove the Statute of Limitations, including an effort that resulted in a modified bill that (instead of eliminating the SOL) increased the SOL to 25 years with a 5-year DNA match extension. As an agency, we believed that this incremental improvement was better than no improvement at all, but we know that the only way to ensure justice for all survivors is to eliminate the SOL completely, and we will never stop fighting until that goal is achieved. We ask for your support for the newest bill, set to completely eliminate the statute of limitations on rape as well as spousal exemptions for sex crimes.

Erin's Law: Requiring Age-Appropriate Education on Sexual Violence

Erin's Law, in effect in 37 states, creates safer environments and lives for children. Ohio's children and families deserve the same level of protection and prevention services.

Reauthorizing VAWA in 2019

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) expired on September 30, 2018. The House passed VAWA reauthorization legislation in April 2019. In the last few days, Senate negotiations on its chamber’s bill broke down, and Republican Senator Joni Ernst stated her intention to pass legislation without critical restrictions on gun rights for stalkers and dating violence perpetrators. Rape Crisis Programs and affiliated programs can tell their senators that the Senate must pass one bipartisan bill that contains all of the House Bill protections.
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