COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — More people are dying in Franklin County from domestic violence than anywhere else in the state, according to the Ohio Domestic Violence Network (ODVN). As these numbers rise, the network says shelters don’t have the resources to meet the demand.
In 2022, ODVN member programs sheltered almost 10,000 survivors, but more than 36 percent of those seeking shelter had to be turned away because of lack of space.
“These shelters rely on several different funding streams to basically keep their lights on and their doors open, and federal funding streams are one of the biggest sources of money that keeps the doors open,” ODVN Policy Director Maria York said.
Applications for the next round of Family Violence Prevention and Services Act funding are now opening. In the last round, Franklin County shelters received just under $396,000 from FVPSA.
ODVN said it’s not enough.
“The demand in central Ohio though is so great that I don’t know if we can put a dollar amount on… you know, we get an X amount of dollars and we help everybody, there will always be that demand there,” York said.
Some money does come from the state, but ODVN said the issue is most of the money comes from the federal level.
There has been growth, but with that shelter growth comes more demand.
“That issue that the Columbus area is facing specifically around domestic violence fatalities is something that is very different from other parts of the state,” York said.
From June 2022 to July 2023, ODVN said there were 24 domestic violence-related fatalities in the Columbus area. In the Cincinnati area, there were half that number, and in the Cleveland area, there were 14.
“We’re seeing almost double the amount of fatality, domestic violence-related fatality numbers in central Ohio, and really, that can go back to, ‘Are there enough resources to help everybody?’” York said.
ODVN is stressing that even though some victims are being turned away, if you need help, please reach out. Resources through the ODVN can be found here.