In keeping with OVWA's history of successful public policy initiatives, OVWA continues to promote public policy that enhances and promotes the rights of crime victims and advocate services. Our goal is to discover and address current issues that are relevant to victims and witnesses of crime.
Here, you will find legislation we are currently watching and comments from our leadership and Public Policy Committee.
Issue 1: Drug and Criminal Justice Policies Initiative
History of the Victims’ Rights Movement
"Landmarks in Victims' Rights & Services"
On November 7, 2017, an overwhelming majority of Ohio voters passed Marsy’s Law in a record breaking 83% show of support. Marsy’s Law grants Ohio’s crime victims specific rights in the criminal justice process. Many of these rights already exist in Ohio statutes and evidence rules. However, Ohio’s voters have made a clear statement that they want to ensure that Ohio’s victims’ rights are protected and enforced. In addition, in passing Marsy’s Law, Ohio voters have prioritized victims’ rights and the idea that these rights should be enforced no less vigorously than the rights of the accused. Consideration of victim dignity, privacy, and safety must be elevated in the criminal justice process. In addition, remedies are now explicitly available should victims’ rights be violated.
- Marsy’s Law Rights Request Forms
- Marsy’s Law Webinar and FAQ — In February 2018, OVWA partnered with the Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center and the Ohio Prosecuting Attorney’s Association to bring you a webinar reviewing Marsy’s Law.
- Marsy’s Law Summary
- Marsy’s Law Draft Bill Summary
Roberta's Law (SB 160)
Senate Bill 160, commonly referred to as “Roberta’s Law”, became effective March 2013 and expanded notification rights for crime victims and victim representatives regarding certain types of release proceedings for certain categories of offenders incarcerated with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. For inmates who were convicted of Aggravated Murder, Murder, a first, second or third degree felony offense of violence (as defined in Ohio Revised Code Section 2901.01), or are under a life sentence, automatic notification of specified release proceedings will be made to the victim or representative, whether or not they have requested notification.
Roberta’s Law does provide for an opt-out mechanism for crime victims or victim representatives who do not wish to receive the mandatory notification. To opt-out of automatic notification, a victim or victim representative must submit a signed Opt-Out of Notification Form to the ODRC Office of Victim Services.
To meet the mandates of Roberta’s Law, the Ohio Parole Board and ODRC Office of Victim Services have greatly expanded outreach efforts to identify and search for crime victims whose incarcerated offenders fall into the specified categories. It is crucial for those victims and victim representatives to either register for notification, or, submit a signed Opt-Out of Notification Form. It is also important for crime victims and victim representatives requesting notification to update their name, address, email and/or phone number information should changes occur.
To register for notification regarding the status of an inmate incarcerated with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, or, to access a copy of the Opt-Out of Notification Form please visit www.drc.ohio.gov/web/victim.htm.
For questions about notification, registration procedures, the Opt-Out of Notification Form, or post-conviction supportive services, the ODRC Office of Victim Services may be reached by phone toll-free at 888-842-8464, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ohio Senate and House Bills
SB 4: “Human Trafficking Intervention and Expungement”
SB 150: “Prohibit Person Liable to Domestic Violence from Having Firearms”
SB 207: “Expand Felonious Assault to Include Suffocation or Strangulation”
HB 137: “Make Municipal and County Peace Officers Child Abuse Reporters”
HB 377: “Require Age-Appropriate Sexual Abuse & Violence Prevention Instruction”
HB 451: "Exclude Depictions of Crime Victim’s Body from Public Records”
Contact Your Legislature
To support OVWA’s public policy initiatives to improve the lives of crime victims and their advocates across Ohio, please consider contacting your state representatives, providing testimony to proposed legislation, or contacting us with your thoughts.