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Yost pushes feds to restore victim assistance money

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(The Center Square) – Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is pushing the U.S. Justice Department to restore a nearly 80% cut in victim assistance funds since 2018.

Speaking to nearly 1,000 victims’ advocates at AG’s annual Two Days in May conference, Yost said the continued cuts have made him mad.

“I’m angry about it, and we’re fighting back,” Yost said. “You all have taken more than your share of the belt-tightening. This is absolutely atrocious.”

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, Yost called for a reversal of the recent 41% cut of federal funding for the Victims of Crime Act of 1984.

He said that since he was elected in 2018, the state has received $117 million in victims’ funds. With the current cut, the state’s take is $78%, a 78% overall drop in the last six years.

“I want you to know we’re going to do everything we can,” Yost told conference attendees. “I know that victims advocacy and services have been cut to the bone. My only request of the federal government is you seem to be able to find money to fund every other thing under the sun – do this.”

VOCA is the primary source of funding for victim services in the state, including for many of the agencies attending the 32nd annual two-day conference, which, in his letter, Yost called the “oxygen that keeps crime-fighting victim service agencies alive.”

Two Days in May brings together advocates and others from various disciplines to talk about best practices, trends and developments in victim assistance.

“Use these two days as a reset,” Yost said. “Take time to celebrate the victories and joys you have had such a crucial hand in. Remember all the lives you have changed, and re-center yourself for all the folks you have yet to encounter who will also come to lean on you.”

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