GALLIPOLIS — The Gallipolis City Solicitor’s Office announced it has once again been awarded grant funding to continue assisting Gallia County domestic abuse victims in getting their lives back on track.
The office is able to continue efforts through the use of VOCA (Victims of Crime Act) funding. The grant is funded through an 80 percent/20 percent split between federal and state funds. Gallia County Commissioners and Gallipolis City Commissioners have equally split funding by contributing 10 percent each to the victim defense program. The solicitor’s office was first awarded funding last October and was again given funding this year.
Victim’s Assistant Susan Grady and Victim’s Advocate Attorney Brynn Saunders Noe, along with City Solicitor Adam Salisbury, work together to separate victims from their offenders. Grady has worked with the office since 2001, guiding and directing victims to resources to help them recover their lives from what are often broken homes. Grady helps educate victims of their rights as well as arrange transport to and from court proceedings, and help them prepare statements during trials and sentencings. Directing a victim to safe housing and financial assistance is often on the top of her list of activities.
“Somebody, somewhere must have thought we were successful,” Salisbury said. “The funding was given to us again in our second year, so I believe this means we’re aimed in the right direction. We’re hoping this is something we can continue on into the future. Last year was sort of a test and so far we have succeeded.”
Noe started her work with the solicitor’s office last year. Salisbury has served as solicitor since 2010.
“I don’t know of any other program (in southeast Ohio) that’s doing what (Noe and Grady) are doing,” Salisbury said.
Salisbury emphasized his client was always the state of Ohio as he prosecutes offenders while Noe assists victims. Noe helps represent clients in civil cases with the goal of separating them form their abusers. This may mean the victim needs counsel through protection orders, child custody issues, divorces and other such matters.
Between Grady and Noe, they have gone through roughly 451 cases in just the first three quarters of the first year of the defense program’s current status. Some of their clients may be elderly or disabled and need the extra help and resources as they do not have access to them. While also assisting victims in improving their lives, the solicitor’s office has also been able to help taxpayers by reducing caseloads and increasing police resources for other area issues.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.