Criminal Justice Update
Media > Newsletters > On the Job: Criminal Justice Update > Spring 2017 > Attorney General awards $2.6 million to launch Trauma Recovery Centers

On the Job RSS feeds

Criminal Justice Update

Attorney General awards $2.6 million to launch Trauma Recovery Centers

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office is awarding more than $2.6 million in grants to create a network of support services to help heal victims of violent crime.

Five Trauma Recovery Centers — partnerships between victim service providers and five hospitals — will provide mental-health support and advocacy to patients who have fallen prey to violent crime.

“We all understand that hospitals’ primary focus must be a patient’s physical well-being, but victims of violent crime suffer in so many other ways,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine while making the announcement on Jan. 31 at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, which is among the grant recipients.

“Right now, victims of gunshot wounds, stabbings, gang violence, sexual assault, and domestic violence may leave the hospital physically intact, but mentally broken,” he said. “Once these centers are up and running, advocates will respond to them at their bedsides. … And, depending on individual circumstances, they will arrange for more assistance after they leave the hospital.”

Ohio will be the second state in the nation with a network of Trauma Recovery Centers, which will offer services such as substance-abuse treatment, specialized sexual assault or domestic violence counseling, legal advocacy, and spiritual guidance.

“After patients are released from the hospital, the support system will remain with them,” DeWine said. “Trauma Recovery Center counselors will continue to advocate on behalf of victims to ensure that they maintain access to critical victim services.”

Such services are especially important to victims in vulnerable populations, he said, such as those who are homeless, in poverty, chronically mentally ill, or disabled.

After Heather Andrews was sexually assaulted in her home in July 2015, she tried to resume her life, but found it difficult.

“I experienced anxiety, difficulty sleeping, fear, and, at times, I was not able to leave my house,” she said. “The assault began a domino effect — disrupting not only my life, but the lives of my children and other family members as well.

“I don’t feel as if I received the help I needed to heal,” Andrews said.

During the 2016 Two Days in May conference, she talked to Attorney General DeWine about her struggles.

“I was inspired by that meeting. I never wanted to see another sexual assault victim fall through the cracks of my community again,” she said. “With the help and assistance of the Ohio Organizing Collaborative and the Akron Organizing Collaborative, I, instead of continuing to be a victim, became a victor.”
DeWine called Andrews “incredibly brave.”

Ohio’s program is modeled on California’s network centers, launched by the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and UCSF Medical Center. The San Francisco program reports that 74 percent of patients showed an improvement in overall mental health. There was also a 65 percent increase in sexual assault survivors who received follow-up treatment and a 56 percent increase in victims returning to employment. 

“Ohio joins a growing list of states recognizing the impact of unaddressed trauma and the importance of providing trauma recovery services to stop the cycle of crime,” said Lenore Anderson, president of the Alliance for Safety and Justice, which provided assistance in developing Ohio's network. “The Alliance for Safety and Justice was honored to work with Attorney General DeWine to ensure that the communities most in need of these services will now receive them. Eight in 10 crime victims experience at least one symptom of trauma and too many do not receive the support they need from the criminal justice system. Today, Ohio took an important step to fix that.” 

Ken Yeager, M.D., clinical director of the STAR Program at the OSU Wexner Medical Center, said the grant will allow for the establishment of a new STAR Trauma Recovery Center.

“This grant will greatly enhance the quality and quantity of services that we can provide,” Dr. Yeager said, “helping to identify victims of trauma who require psychological services and working with those individuals from vulnerable and underserved populations, who unfortunately are disproportionally victimized.”

The $2,675,770 in Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants are being awarded as part of the “Ohio Attorney General’s Expanding Services and Empowering Victims Initiative.

The partnerships receiving grant awards to create Trauma Recovery Centers in Ohio are:
  • The Ohio State University STAR Program and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center: $839,335
  • Circle Health Services and University Hospitals of Cleveland: $993,424
  • May Dugan Center and MetroHealth (Cleveland): $545,363
  • Seven Hills Neighborhood Houses and Cincinnati Children's Hospital: $125,685
  • CitiLookout and Springfield Regional Medical Center: $171,963