Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Two Ohio Courts Awarded Federal Violence Against Women Grants

Image of Painesville Municipal Court Judge Michael Cicconetti and Mahoning County Domestic Relations Court Judge Beth Smith

Top: Painesville Municipal Court Judge Michael Cicconetti and Mahoning County Domestic Relations Court Judge Beth Smith.

Image of Painesville Municipal Court Judge Michael Cicconetti and Mahoning County Domestic Relations Court Judge Beth Smith

Top: Painesville Municipal Court Judge Michael Cicconetti and Mahoning County Domestic Relations Court Judge Beth Smith.

Two Ohio courts received federal grants that will enhance their domestic violence services. Painesville Municipal Court and Mahoning County Domestic Relations Court received nearly $100,000 in total funds from the S.T.O.P. Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Formula Grant Program.

The grant funds are awarded to develop and support the criminal justice system’s response to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and to strengthen services for these victims. It’s a federal formula block grant administered by the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women. The federal grant supports victim services, prosecution, law enforcement, courts, or other discretionary means that promotes victim safety and holds their offenders accountable. Those programs funded through S.T.O.P VAWA include training, enhancing efforts, developing policy and protocol, and collecting data, among others.

In Ohio, the Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) in the Department of Public Safety is the designated state office to administer the federal S.T.O.P. VAWA grant funds. The court applicants had to describe predicted outcomes or changes as a result of the grant-funded program.

OCJS awarded a grant to Painesville to help continue to fund a victim advocate employed by the domestic violence program in the community. The $37,684 awarded is a renewal grant for the court.

“We, at the Painesville Municipal Court, are very fortunate to have received the S.T.O.P. VAWA Grant Award,” Judge Michael Cicconetti said. “We are a small city jurisdiction with a limited budget to assist victims of a large domestic violence caseload. Without this financial assistance, it would be nearly impossible to assist and guide abused victims through the emotional and daunting experience in the criminal justice system.”

Mahoning County will spend its $60,000 grant – the maximum amount awarded – to support domestic violence victims.

“I am very pleased to receive this grant,” Judge Beth Smith said. “Mahoning County Domestic Relations Court hears approximately 800 petitions for civil protection orders annually.  These funds will enable the court to hire a full-time licensed social worker who will function as a coordinator for the benefit of survivors of domestic violence.”

Judge Smith said the coordinator will connect Mahoning County survivors with community resources to aid them in the process of ending the cycle of violence.

“This aid will include safety plans, safe housing, counseling, job training, and support groups,” Judge Smith said. “The court hopes that this program will prevent survivors from returning to an abusive environment.”

“There are many victims, past and present, who are very thankful to have had a hand to hold in their time of distress and confusion,” Judge Cicconetti said.

OCJS said Ohio’s total award amount for S.T.O.P. VAWA grants was more than $4.3 million. Both of Ohio’s court projects were split funded. Painesville received $32,470.40 from 2015 funds and $5,213.80 from 2013 funds. Mahoning County received $30,000.00 from 2015 funds, and $30,000.00 from 2014 funds. The 2015 grant money will be used from Jan. 1 through the end of 2016.

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