More than 100 Ohioans died in domestic violence cases, network says | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

At least 112 Ohioans died in domestic violence cases during a 12-month period starting June 2022, including 22 children, the Ohio Domestic Violence Network said in a new report released.

More than 40 of those lives could have been saved with new state legislation that proposes tougher penalties for people involved in domestic violence cases, said Lisa DeGeeter, the network’s policy counsel who oversees the fatalities count each year.

“Survival and recovery are possible…People can feel powerless in the face of this volume of violence,” DeGeeter said.

The same amount of Ohioans were killed last year during the same time period and included the highest number of youth fatalities since the coalition began the count, the network said.

Many of the cases involved in this year’s report were from people already involved in the criminal justice system, DeGeeter said. Of the alleged perpetrators in the report, 52% of them had prior criminal records, DeGeeter said. She said 60% of the victims in their report also had either made reports to law enforcement, filed charges, sought protection orders, or raised their concerns in domestic relations court.

“The responses they received were not enough to save their lives,” DeGeeter said.

That prior contact with the justice system is why the network is promoting House Bill 111, which would increase penalties for felony domestic violence charges and create a presumption of jail time for those offenses. They also showed support for S.B. 100, which would prohibit someone installing a tracking device on someone’s property without their consent, DeGeeter said.

The network is opposing H.B. 14, which is in regard to equal parental time and responsibilities of a child.

Under the bill, if the parents of a child submit a shared parenting plan for the custody and care of children, then the court’s presumption is that equal decision-making responsibilities and equal parenting time are in the best interest of the child and must be allocated accordingly, unless it is shown to be detrimental to the child, according to the fiscal notes of the bill.

“We had more than a dozen children in Ohio killed by a parent,” DeGeeter said. H.B. 14 would “make equal parenting time more important than child safety,” DeGeeter said.

The network said it also supports H.B. 231, which would improve suicide prevention efforts, DeGeeter said, as well as establish permanent funding for the 9-8-8 crisis helpline.

“When we added up all of the deaths from the murder-suicides in this year’s report, we realized that that kind of service would have had the potential to save 49 of these 112 lives,” DeGeeter said.

Paula Walters, a paramedic from Henry County, survived a near fatal strangulation in 2006 from her partner at that time. She suffered a brain injury as a result of that strangulation, but she did not receive a diagnosis until 13 years later, having to travel to doctors in Minneapolis to get the right care.

On Wednesday, Walters said her abuser received probation and a $500 fine as a result of the strangulation that caused her brain injury.

By the numbers

112: Ohio fatalities in 82 cases of domestic violence between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023

52: Female fatalities

60: Male fatalities.

40%: Deceased victims who were people of color

30%: Cases that had children present at the scene

Source: Ohio Domestic Violence Network


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