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  SAC Spotlight: Ohio

Projects, Initiatives, and Innovative Programs

The Ohio Community Initiative to Reduce Violence (OCIRV)
is an evidence-based focused deterrence strategy aimed at reducing group- and gang-related gun and violent crime. Teams consisting of law enforcement agencies, the community, and social services stand together to spread a message of zero-tolerance for violence in their city. This message is delivered to gang members primarily through a notification session, or "call-in." At the call-in, community members discuss the impact of the violence on their neighborhoods, social services members identify help that is available, and law enforcement representatives explain the clear, certain, and predictable consequences of future violence. OCJS and the SAC have provided training and technical assistance to six major metropolitan cities engaging in CIRV.

The Ohio Consortium of Crime Science (OCCS)
is an association of over 40 researchers from colleges and universities across Ohio working together to provide evidence-based solutions to the real-world problems faced by local criminal justice practitioners in the state. Too often, practitioners are challenged by limited resources and have difficulty identifying and accessing experts in the field. OCJS and the SAC worked with their partners at the University of Cincinnati to implement the OCCS, which is now in its second year of operation. The Consortium links practitioners, policymakers, and academic researchers in the social sciences and related professions, building interdisciplinary and statewide networks to link research to practice and policy, strengthen individual and institutional capacities for learning, and enhance public knowledge on criminal justice issues.

Assistance is available to any local agency that falls within the criminal justice field. To request assistance, local agencies contact OCJS. These requests are vetted by the OCCS, and requesters that meet certain criteria are matched with a subject matter expert. The researcher receives a small stipend to provide assistance to the agency.

Past and current projects involving OCCS members include an assessment of staffing for a law enforcement agency, an evaluation of a specialized court docket, an assessment of current police districts and the allocation of resources in these districts, an evaluation of the consequences to victims of opening cold cases, and evaluations of crime deterrent strategies in two cities.

The Ohio Strategic Multi-Agency Research Team (OSMART)
is a partnership of six state agencies: the Office of Criminal Justice Services (Ohio SAC), the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, the Department of Youth Services, the Department of Job and Family Services, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and the Department of Medicaid. In meetings initiated by the OCJS Executive Director and led by SAC staff, researchers within these agencies gather to discuss pressing criminal justice issues impacting them and work to formulate research topics to be studied collectively.

The Family Violence Prevention Center (FVPC)
at the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services was established in 1999 and serves as an information clearinghouse for public and private organizations and individuals throughout Ohio that strive to prevent family violence and provide assistance to victims. To ensure accountability and program effectiveness, a multi-disciplinary Ohio Family Violence Prevention Advisory Council was created. This committee has been instrumental in conducting needs assessments, reducing barriers for victims, hosting trainings, and creating informational brochures to increase citizens’ understanding about the dynamics of family violence and educate them about the resources available for assistance.

The FVPC program director is actively involved in numerous organizations, subcommittees, and workgroups, including:

  • The Domestic Violence and Immigrant Task Force, which addresses the barriers facing immigrant women and works to create solutions to rectify them;

  • The Barbara Warner Domestic Violence Workplace Policy Committee, which works to establish uniform workplace violence prevention procedures and guidelines to be implemented in all State of Ohio agencies;

  • The Ohio Victim Witness Association (OVWA), a statewide advocacy organization committed to establishing equality of rights and fair treatment for all victims and witnesses of crime. OVWA also provides direct service to victims of crime, as well as education and training to members and assistance to officials in developing criminal justice public policy;

  • The Central Ohio Rescue and Restore Coalition, which is dedicated to ending human trafficking in Central Ohio;

  • Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, a coalition of sexual assault and domestic violence organizations throughout Ohio whose mission is to work towards the elimination of all forms of sexual violence and to advocate for the needs of survivors and co-survivors of sexual violence;

  • Ohio Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence Prevention Consortium, which is implementing a statewide plan to address prevention regarding intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and stalking in the state of Ohio;

  • Attorney General's Human Trafficking Commission, which studies human trafficking in Ohio and develops recommendations to address the problem;

  • Ohio Council on Victims Justice, which assists the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction in the development of victim services and departmental practices that are victim-sensitive by critiquing relevant policies, reviewing and commenting upon the agency’s goals and objectives, and developing recommendations for the implementation of needed services;

  • LGBTQI Task Force, which was convened by the Ohio Domestic Violence Network and joined by two other statewide organizations, the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence and Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization. LGBTQI-affiliated organizations and allies were then invited to conceive of ways to provide mainstream Ohio Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis programs with technical assistance and training to become more culturally competent when providing services to LGBTQI survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. From this came Safe Zone, a training curriculum designed to meet this objective.

Current projects of the FVPC and the FVPC Advisory Council include the creation and publication of a Stalking Law Enforcement Tip Card, training and technical assistance for the Safe Zone program, and development of Excellence in Advocacy: A Victim-Centered Approach, which informs victim advocates and service providers on topics (such as emerging issues), safety planning, legal remedies, and national/state codes of conduct for advocates.

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