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Ohio Victim Witness Association
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Public Policy

In keeping with OVWA's history of successful public policy initiatives, OVWA continues to promote public policy that enhances and promotes the rights of crime victims and advocate services. Our goal is to discover and address current issues that are relevant to victims and witnesses of crime. 

Here, you will find legislation we are currently watching and comments from our leadership and Public Policy Committee.  

Reagan Tokes Act

"Reagan Tokes Act — Advocate's Guide"


New Laws

History of the Victims’ Rights Movement

"Landmarks in Victims' Rights & Services"

Marsy's Law

On November 7, 2017, an overwhelming majority of Ohio voters passed Marsy’s Law in a record breaking 83% show of support. Marsy’s Law grants Ohio’s crime victims specific rights in the criminal justice process. Many of these rights already exist in Ohio statutes and evidence rules. However, Ohio’s voters have made a clear statement that they want to ensure that Ohio’s victims’ rights are protected and enforced. In addition, in passing Marsy’s Law, Ohio voters have prioritized victims’ rights and the idea that these rights should be enforced no less vigorously than the rights of the accused. Consideration of victim dignity, privacy, and safety must be elevated in the criminal justice process. In addition, remedies are now explicitly available should victims’ rights be violated.

More Information

  • Marsy’s Law Rights Request Forms
  • Marsy’s Law Webinar and FAQ — In February 2018, OVWA partnered with the Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center and the Ohio Prosecuting Attorney’s Association to bring you a webinar reviewing Marsy’s Law.
  • Marsy’s Law Summary
  • Marsy’s Law Draft Bill Summary

Roberta's Law (SB 160)

Senate Bill 160, commonly referred to as “Roberta’s Law”, became effective March 2013 and expanded notification rights for crime victims and victim representatives regarding certain types of release proceedings for certain categories of offenders incarcerated with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. For inmates who were convicted of Aggravated Murder, Murder, a first, second or third degree felony offense of violence (as defined in Ohio Revised Code Section 2901.01), or are under a life sentence, automatic notification of specified release proceedings will be made to the victim or representative, whether or not they have requested notification.

Roberta’s Law does provide for an opt-out mechanism for crime victims or victim representatives who do not wish to receive the mandatory notification. To opt-out of automatic notification, a victim or victim representative must submit a signed Opt-Out of Notification Form to the ODRC Office of Victim Services.

To meet the mandates of Roberta’s Law, the Ohio Parole Board and ODRC Office of Victim Services have greatly expanded outreach efforts to identify and search for crime victims whose incarcerated offenders fall into the specified categories. It is crucial for those victims and victim representatives to either register for notification, or, submit a signed Opt-Out of Notification Form. It is also important for crime victims and victim representatives requesting notification to update their name, address, email and/or phone number information should changes occur.

To register for notification regarding the status of an inmate incarcerated with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, or, to access a copy of the Opt-Out of Notification Form please visit

For questions about notification, registration procedures, the Opt-Out of Notification Form, or post-conviction supportive services, the ODRC Office of Victim Services may be reached by phone toll-free at 888-842-8464, or by email at

Ohio House and Senate Bills to Watch

HB 56: Expungement - Human Trafficking 

  • Representatives Dever and Gavarone
  • Current Status: House Criminal Justice Committee – 4th Hearing
  • Legislative Homepage

HB 96: "Increase Penalties for Sexual Imposition"

  • Representative Hughes
  • Current Status – Passed Senate 12/13/18 with 31-0 Vote
  •  Legislation Homepage

HB 305: "Protection Order Firearm Turnover"

  • Representatives Antonio and Boyd
  • Current Status – 1/31/18 House Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee, 1st hearing
  • Legislation Homepage

HB 327: "Online Importuning Penalties"

  • Representatives Schaffer and Smith
  • Current Status – House Criminal Justice Committee, 3rd Hearing
  • Legislation Homepage

HB 451: "Crime Victim Privacy Protection"

  • Representative Retherford
  • Current Status – Senate Judiciary Committee, 3rd Hearing
  • Legislation Homepage

HB 523: "Animal Abuse"

  • Representatives Lanese and Perales
  • Current Status – 11/208 Committee on Senate Health, Human Services, and Medicaid

  • Legislation Homepage

HB 561: "Remove Spousal Exceptions for Certain Sex Offenses"

  • Representatives Boggs and Lanese
  • Current Status – Reported out of House Criminal Justice Committee 12/4/18

  • Legislation Homepage

HB 627: "Eliminate Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault"

  • Representatives Smith and Galonski
  • Current Status – December 2018 House Criminal Justice Committee, 1st Hearing
  • Legislation Homepage

HB 724: "Abusive Civil Action Plaintiffs"

  • Representative Pelanda
  • Current Status – December 2018 House Criminal Justice Committee, 2nd Hearing
  • Legislation Homepage

SB 171: "Protection Violation Penalties"

  • Senator Hottinger
  • Current Status – December 2018, House Criminal Justice Committee, 4th Hearing
  • Legislation Homepage

SB 278: "Extreme Risk Protection Orders"

  • Senators Schiavoni and Williams
  • Current Status: May 2018, Senate Government Oversight Committee, 1st Hearing

  • Legislation Homepage

SB 315: "Identifying Information - Sexual Assault Victims"

  • Senator Yuko
  • Current Status: September 2018, Senate Government Oversight Committee

  • Legislation Homepage

Contact Your Legislature

To support OVWA’s public policy initiatives to improve the lives of crime victims and their advocates across Ohio, please consider contacting your state representatives, providing testimony to proposed legislation, or contacting us with your thoughts.