POMEROY — Meigs County Crime Victim Services director Theda Petrasko presented the past performance reports for the Victims Assistance portion of the Prosecutor’s office during Thursday’s Meigs County Commissioners meeting.
Petrasco advised the commissioners she is in the process of writing the annual Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Grant. Petrasko said their fiscal year begins Oct. 1, 2019 and ends Sept. 30, 2020.
President of the Commissioners Tim Ihle thanked Petrasko for the great works they do helping victims in Meigs County.
“I come to you every year,” Petrasko said, referring to the commissioners. “I’ve never had them not approve our grant, but as you know, our office continues running before we know if we have been approved, so we rely on you to keep us going until we receive the grant.”
She said that her office runs on a “bare bones budget”, and she is currently working on grants to cover increasing costs of the program, including medical insurance and an increased need for their services.
“No raises are being requested for any of our personnel due to the increasing costs of our health insurance coverage. We have taken out some other line item costs to try and offset the increase. We will not be requesting funds to transport our victims if transportation is needed; we will not be requesting any equipment or business materials. We are requesting $1,200 less this year for training and $500 less for supplies. There is nowhere else in our budget to offset the cost of personal health insurance.”
As an example, Victims Services budget approximately $24,000 per year for each employee family health insurance policy.
The agency is a part of Meigs County Prosecutor James K. Stanley’s Office and is grant funded by the Ohio Attorney Generals Office for Crime Victim Services. Currently it employees one full time Advocate who also serves as director, one full time secretary who is also an Advocate, and a part time Civil Protection Order Advocate.
In 2018, Meigs County had 516 new victims affected by several different types crime that were served through the assistance program.
Petrasko’s report to the commissioners and the OAG’s Office includes 40 adult physical assaults, seven adult sexual assaults, three arson, 57 burglary/breaking and entering, 65 child abuse/endangering/neglect, one child pornography, 42 child sexual assaults, 97 domestic violence incidents, two DUI/DWI, 20 ID fraud and unauthorized use of credit cards or checks, three kidnapping, three vehicular hit and run, 32 robbery, 106 stalking/harassment/protection order violations, and 39 protection orders filed with 176 requests. This does not include carry over victims from previous years that the agency is still serving.
Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.