City receives $800,000 grant to combat domestic violence and strangulation as homicides rise
City Attorney Zach Klein announced Wednesday that Columbus has been awarded a grant to help continue implementing programs to prevent cases of domestic violence and strangulation in the middle Increase in deaths In 2023.
A US Department of Justice grant of $800,000 will create a file Multi-agency strangulation task force To help deal with cases. The money will allow the city attorney’s office to hire an additional employee, Klein said An advocate for helping victims Through the recall process and providing additional training on how to recognize choking situations.
Columbus Police, City Attorney, District Attorney’s Offices and community partners will work together. The partnership comes about six months after the implementation of A State law that makes strangulation a felony In Ohio.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Columbus was informed 22 homicides linked to domestic violencean increase of more than 200% from the seven domestic violence-related homicides for all of 2022.
A person who chokes during a situation of domestic violence is 10 times more likely to die, according to information from the center Ohio Domestic Violence Network. Choking victims are 750% more likely to be killed within the following 12 months.
Columbus Assistant Police Chief Lashana Butts said the CPD has handled 126 strangulation cases since Ohio’s law went into effect in April. In addition, 21 officers have been certified in chokehold training, and another 35 officers are scheduled to receive certification in November.
Klein also encouraged people close to those who may be victims of domestic violence to speak up on behalf of their loved ones.
“The reality is that of the 22 homicides this year due to domestic violence, the assailants had very little involvement with the criminal justice system or any evidence of prior domestic violence,” Klein said. “That’s 22 deaths with very little indication of domestic violence. Friends and family know about it.”
The city attorney’s office issued a policy earlier this year requiring a $500,000 bond for all domestic violence cases in which the suspect is accused of causing serious bodily harm, or there is an accusation that a weapon was involved. Only one judge, Municipal Court Judge Andrea Peebles, has consistently set those bonds, Klein said. The district attorney’s office also began requiring a minimum bail of $400,000 in other firearms-related cases.
Klein said the reasons why domestic violence may be on the rise are still being researched, but could be related to the “unrestricted access to firearms” allowed in Ohio, and increased awareness about what constitutes a domestic violence homicide.
If you or someone you know is looking for resources for survivors of domestic violence in Franklin County, call the Choices Crisis Hotline 24 hours a day at 614-224-4663 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.
The Ohio Domestic Violence Network also provides online resources, including a web chat service to connect survivors with resources on www.odvn.org. The network can also be reached at 800-934-9840
This article originally appeared on the Columbus Dispatch: City gets $800,000 grant to combat domestic violence as homicides rise