Keith Torbet, Wauseon police chief, said the Fulton County Family Justice Center is fully funded for 2012.
The center, which provides a wide variety of services for victims of violent crimes, is located in downtown Wauseon.
Throughout its 15-plus year history, the center has been funded by a federal grant designed to stop violence against women. The grant is administered through the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services.
In December 2010, grant funding to the center for 2011 was denied.
After this newspaper published articles about the loss of funding, private donations kept the center open until grant funding was secured later in the year.
Torbet said for 2013, the administration of the grant has been moved to the Department of Public Safety.
For 2013, Torbet said he has heard that the grant amounts will be reduced, so he’s looking for ways to reduce expenses at the center.
The center employs Heather Galbraith, the only fulltime victim’s advocate for Fulton County. There is also one part-time advocate.
Galbraith said the center’s services are available to anyone who is a victim of violent crime, but “we see a lot of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
“Those are the most prevalent,” she said.
The center can provide courtroom advocacy and accompaniment. A victim’s ad- vocate can accompany victims to the courtroom, explain court proceedings, and advocate for the victim’s rights.
Galbraith said the center can help link victims to available resources for everything from emergency grocery money to rent assistance. It also can refer victims to various compensation programs.
It can help in getting civil protection orders, and even link victims with attorneys.
There are success stories.
“We had a client who had been housed at a shelter. She had been with her offender 20 years. She had limited job skills,” she said.
“Successes are individual to each case. We were able to get her out of the situation. She got a job and a place of her own. She’s now self-suffi cient and employed.
“That’s one of the things that can put a smile on my face.”
Galbraith said grant funds are getting hard to get, and she is always looking for ways to reduce expenses.
“We always make sure everything is turned off. We penny-pinch everything,” she said.
“We conserve energy and water. Anything we save, that’s one more person we can serve.”