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Criminal Justice Update

TDIM Conference explores ways to assist vulnerable Ohioans

Reaching vulnerable populations with victim services can require looking at situations from a different angle. Already adept at recognizing victims’ needs and challenges, those who work in the advocacy and law enforcement fields are well-positioned to help.

The Ohio Attorney General’s 2013 Two Days in May Conference on Victim Assistance, set for May 14–15 at the Hyatt Regency Columbus, brings this topic to the forefront with a theme of Empowering Ohio’s Most Vulnerable. Registration runs through May 3 at
“Ohio crime victims deserve our best efforts and our commitment to a victim-centered approach,” Attorney General Mike DeWine said. “This year’s conference will place special emphasis on the most vulnerable victims.”
Vulnerable populations typically are thought of as older adults, children, and people with disabilities, although it is wise to keep an open mind. Sometimes gender or other factors can make people vulnerable for certain crimes.
“Vulnerability can be a fluid concept,” said Ursel McElroy, deputy director of the Attorney General’s Crime Victim Services Section. “Any one of us at any time can become a victim of crime. It is important for us to be prepared to provide individualized services for all crime victims with dignity and compassion.”
Crime Victim Services Chief Amy O’Grady encourages victim advocates and others who work with crime victims to take full advantage of the Attorney General’s services for crime victims.
“The Attorney General’s staff is always thinking about new services to offer and populations to assist, and we want feedback from victim advocates, law enforcement, and others who are in constant touch with crime victims,” O’Grady said. “We want to make sure the programs we fund, the trainings we offer, and the other services we provide are in step with the needs of Ohio crime victims.”
Here’s an overview of the Attorney General’s programs and services for crime victims. Call 800-582-2877 or visit for more information.
Victim Compensation
Ohio law provides a fund to help victims of violent crime recover financial losses. Victims can be compensated up to $50,000 for medical and counseling expenses, wage loss, and other expenses.
Victim Advocacy
Crime Victim Services’ victim advocates  serve as liaisons between victims and the criminal justice system to minimize the physical, psychological, emotional, and financial effects of crime. Advocates work with federal, state, and local victim service providers to ensure victims know their rights and are provided with appropriate resources.
Grants to Assistance Providers
The Attorney General’s Office administers more than $17 million in federal and state grants to local crime victim assistance programs that serve more than 345,000 Ohioans a year.
The office provides training and programming to communities, law enforcement agencies, and victim advocates.
Elder Abuse
Staff members train law enforcement and others on elder abuse awareness and prevention. The Attorney General’s Elder Abuse Commission works to identify older Ohioans’ needs and improve policy and programming.
The Sexual Assault Forensic Exam program reimburses medical facilities for the cost of forensic exams of victims of sexual violence. This ensures that a victim never has to pay for an exam and that any evidence is collected properly.