COLUMBUS – The Ohio House of Representatives today passed House Bill 254, legislation which establishes domestic violence fatality review boards throughout the state, tailored to meet each county and region’s needs. The bi-partisan bill is sponsored by State Representatives Cindy Abrams (R- Harrison) and Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus).
“This bill will create a comprehensive process of reviewing domestic violence deaths in Ohio through a lens of prevention and accountability,” said Abrams. “Safety is one of my top priorities, and I’m proud to work on legislation that fights to protect Ohioans from domestic violence.”
Under H.B. 254, domestic violence fatality review boards will be established to combat domestic violence fatalities by:
- Promoting continued communication between all groups, professions, agencies or entities engaged in the prevention and education of domestic violence.
- Maintaining databases of the domestic violence fatalities to understand the causes and incidence of those deaths.
- Developing plans for implementing local service and program changes to the groups, professions, agencies or entities that serve local residents that might prevent deaths by domestic violence.
- Providing the Department of Health with aggregate data, trends, and patterns concerning domestic violence fatalities.
Similar to the existing Ohio Child Fatality Review Boards, H.B. 254 will allow a board of county commissioners to appoint a health commissioner to establish their county’s domestic violence fatality review board. The review boards will consist of 11 members appointed by the county health commissioner that will be required to submit an annual report to the Ohio Department of Health by April 1 of each year that reflects information gathered from the previous calendar year, and makes recommendations for possible prevention methods.
Earlier this month, Abrams received the Croucher Family Award for Outstanding Leadership for her advocacy and work with the Ohio Domestic Violence Network (ODVN) during their annual Domestic Violence Awareness month event. Abrams, a former Cincinnati police officer, worked closely with ODVN throughout the state budget process to secure an increase of over $2 million in state funding for the organization, bringing the total to $7.5 million in operational support.
“I will continue to advocate for domestic violence victims in Ohio, and I look forward to seeing this legislation progress in the Senate,” said Abrams.
The bill passed in the House with a vote of 94-2, and will now head to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.