Home News Governor DeWine Allocates Nearly $900,000 to Enhance Sexual Assault Investigations and Prosecutions

Governor DeWine Allocates Nearly $900,000 to Enhance Sexual Assault Investigations and Prosecutions

photo from eastidahonew.com

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio has announced the allocation of almost $900,000 in grants aimed at bolstering efforts by law enforcement, prosecutors, and victim advocacy groups to support survivors of sexual assault and to bring perpetrators to justice.

The funding, distributed through the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS), forms part of the newly launched Ohio Sexual Assault Investigations Grant Program. This initiative, introduced by Governor DeWine in February, aims to alleviate the financial burdens associated with sexual assault investigations, criminal prosecutions, and victim support.

Highlighting the program’s origins, Governor DeWine emphasized its roots in a prior initiative he championed while serving as Ohio’s attorney general. This earlier effort ensured the analysis of thousands of previously untested rape kits from local law enforcement agencies for DNA evidence.

“Investigating sexual assault crimes and supporting survivors requires substantial resources,” Governor DeWine stated. “These funds are not only aimed at removing predators from our communities but also at ensuring survivors have access to the assistance they need.”

The first round of grants includes allocations to several key entities:

  • The Forensic Nursing Network will receive $244,841.23 to develop training programs on drug-facilitated sexual assault kits and to acquire sexual assault kits for forensic nurses.
  • The Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office will receive $161,355.88 to fund an investigator position dedicated to pursuing leads arising from sexual assault kit testing in cases involving child sexual assault.
  • The Columbus Division of Police will receive $350,000 to collaborate with the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation. This partnership aims to analyze 175 sexual assault kits and upload any suspect DNA profiles into the national DNA database.
  • The Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center will receive $100,000 to establish a training program and best practices guide focusing on the expanded rights of sexual assault victims related to sexual assault kits.
  • The Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office will receive $43,410.57 to support a victim advocate position dedicated to providing assistance to survivors who have undergone sexual assault kit examinations.

Funding for the Ohio Sexual Assault Investigations Grant Program was secured through the Ohio General Assembly’s operating budget. OCJS is slated to open applications for the next funding round later this month.

For more information on the program or to apply for future grants, interested parties are encouraged to visit the OCJS website.

This investment underscores Ohio’s commitment to combatting sexual violence, enhancing investigative capabilities, and ensuring comprehensive support for survivors across the state.