New Choices receives state grant

COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has announced over $4 million in federal grants to reduce violence against women in Ohio.

New Choies Inc. in Sidney will receive $36,959.96 from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Supplemental Funding Sources.

“New Choices is very thankful for this grant opportunity,” said Executive Director Danielle Sweitzer. “It will be used to help cover the general operating expenses of our program. This will ensure that all of our essential services, including legal advocacy and emergency access to our shelter and crisis hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, will continue to be available to survivors of domestic violence in Shelby County.

“The amount of survivors and their families that we have served has significantly increased over the last year. This funding is crucial for our program to continue to meet the needs of our community,” she said.

Administered by the Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS), the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) program assists local governments and non-profit community-based organizations in administering justice for and strengthening services to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. In total, 125 grants were awarded to 95 local agencies in 47 counties.

“Every year, these grants support agencies all across Ohio that focus on violence reduction strategies, programming, and initiatives that protect women in our state,” said DeWine.

OCJS administered two competitive grants for the federal fiscal year 2022 VAWA program. One process solicited proposals from victim service providers, law enforcement, prosecutors, and courts throughout Ohio. A second process was tailored specifically for community-based, culturally specific victim service applicants that provide culturally relevant and linguistically specific services and resources to culturally specific communities.

VAWA funds also enhance the capacity of local communities to develop and strengthen effective law enforcement and prosecution strategies to combat violent crimes against women and to develop and strengthen victim services in cases involving violent crimes against women.

The announcement follows $4.8 million in grants to support sexual assault survivors, $3.6 million in family violence prevention grants, and $6.7 million for domestic violence survivor programs that were announced earlier this year.

OCJS is a division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety. By statute, OCJS is the lead justice planning and assistance office for the state, administering millions of dollars in state and federal criminal justice funding every year. OCJS also evaluates programs and develops technology, training, and products for criminal justice professionals and communities.