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.
Download OAESV’s Advocate Privilege Factsheet HERE.
OAESV is seeking input from survivors of sexual assault, loved ones of survivors, and concerned citizens who think that Advocate Privilege in Ohio is important. Here are two ways that you can get involved:
- Submit your story, comments, or a quote at this link. (You have the option of submitting comments anonymously if you wish).
- If you are a survivor or a loved one of a survivor who has accessed rape crisis services at any point in your healing process, consider submitting written testimony to be included in future hearings related to the proposed bill. For more information, contact our Director of Communications at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Ways You Can Support This Effort
If you are not comfortable participating directly in our efforts to promote Advocate Privilege, you can still help by sharing social media posts, commenting with support on social media posts, believing survivors, assisting survivors in accessing rape crisis services in their community, or making a donation to OAESV. No effort is too small!
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Statewide Anti-Violence Coalition 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.
Download OAESV’s Ohio Rape Crisis Line Item Call to Action Toolkit HERE.
Ohio House Bill 97 (H.B. 97): Remove Spousal Exceptions for Certain Sex Offenses
This bill would allow a person to be convicted of rape involving the spouse, regardless of whether the spouse lives with or apart from the offender. This bill would improve safety for married survivors, and would also likely improve safety for non-married individuals who may be later victimized by perpetrators not prosecuted for raping their spouse. This bill creates legal recognition for personal safety and autonomy, regardless of marital status.
Download OAESV’s Fact Sheet on Ohio H.B. 97 HERE.