COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — There’s a bipartisan push at the Ohio Statehouse to pass more legislation to protect crime survivors.
About 100 people gathered Wednesday in the Statehouse Atrium with Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice to make their voices heard.
“Now that we have this space where survivors’ voices are being heard, we hope that the legislators hear that we need more policy,” Dyesha Darby, statewide manager for Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, said.
“We all need a safer Ohio,” Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) said.
After successfully helping push forward two bills, the group said its work is not done. Now, the goal is to work with lawmakers to pass legislation that protects employment and housing for crime survivors.
“These policies will help end cycles of undressed trauma and give hope in the moments when they need them most,” Galonski said.
Twenty-seven states have laws allowing survivors to break a lease early after a violent crime with no penalty, while 23 states have laws ensuring that survivors can take limited time off after a violent crime without any punishment. Lawmakers and advocates said they want Ohio to be next on that list.
“There isn’t one clear solution, but the more people who have a voice and the more people who participate, the better we are as a state,” Rep. Brett Hillyer (R-Urichsville) said. “I am confident that today is a turning point with all of you here.”
Advocates said it is important that survivors know they have a community behind them.
“They want to be heard, they want to be acknowledged and we want to make sure we continue to provide those spaces,” crime survivor Elisa Bradley said.
Lawmakers and advocates also said that although Ohio is a leader in trauma recovery centers, they want to continue to build those up across the state in addition to the legislation they hope to pass.