Cuyahoga County receives funds to combat domestic violence as cases increase amid pandemic

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Domestic violence is rising again as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact Cuyahoga County residents.

U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman just announced awards of more than $2.3 million to northern Ohio organizations that work to reduce violence against women and strengthen services to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, County Executive Armond Budish revealed Friday.

Cuyahoga County also just received a grant of $824,000 from Herdman to combat these issues.

“Since 2016 our witness victims services center has led the U.S. Department of Justice’s Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Initiative along with the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center and the Cleveland police,” said Budish.

He continued to explain that over 800 Cleveland police officers have undergone specialized training to identify victims of domestic/partner violence who are at heightened risk of homicide.

The county executive says high-risk victims receive specialized services from court advocates and police.

Cleveland has the highest concentration of domestic violence crimes in the county, Budish shared. With the new funding, he says the program can be expanded throughout the city and the rest of the county.

“This is important, life-saving work,” added Budish. “I am so grateful to U.S. Attorney Herdman for his recognition and his support.”

Domestic violence concerns have been on the forefront of local and state officials minds since the pandemic broke out.

Earlier this year, Governor Mike DeWine addressed concerns after child abuse reports in several locations were down. He said it was likely because students were not in school and there was not a third party present, like a teacher, to see and report the abuse.

Meanwhile, the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center in Cleveland reported that advocates and therapists were seeing a surge in requests for support.

Officials say that health precautions because of the coronavirus forced many citizens to isolate at home with their abuser away from other relatives, teachers, friends and help.

The county has provided the following resources to help victims of domestic violence:

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