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Northeast Ohio felonious assault victims growing, May Dugan Center providing support

Posted at 10:23 PM, Jul 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-24 23:11:04-04

Cleveland's May Dugan Center provided critical support to 350 victim's of felonious assault last year alone through its trauma recovery services program.

Sue Marasco, the May Dugan Center Director of Education, told News 5 there is a growing need for support for felonious assault victims.

Marasco said there has traditionally been rape crisis and domestic violence support in the U.S., but she believes more support programming is needed for victims of felonious assault.

She said in some cases these victims have nowhere to live, can't work because of their injuries, may not be able to pay the rent, or keep up with the care and schooling for their children.

"There are a huge number of individuals who suffer felonious assault," Marasco said.

“Can you pay your rent this month, if you haven’t been working for the past three weeks? How are your kids doing for food?”

“We really are fulfilling a niche because we're making that connection between hospital, law enforcement and mental health."

Cassie Sorma was a victim of felonious assault after being shot in the head during an argument at a park across the street from Cleveland's West Side Market in October 2018.

Sorma said the support she received from the May Dugan Center was a lifesaver in helping her with her ongoing recovery.

“They helped me through the trauma, as far as being shot," Sorma said.

"They helped me through my mental issues way before I got shot.”

“For me to get back on my feet, they helped me do that, they did everything, gave me a list of housing."

"They put me in a hotel room for a week until I got my housing.”

“I feel loved when I come here, I feel like they care. They care about your needs, your wants, I mean they care about you.”

May Dugan Center volunteer Sandi Cox creates recovery bags for dozens of victims every year and said it's the simple things that help victims restart their lives.

“All these women want is to feel good about themselves, to feel comfortable and happy," Cox said

"To give them something like a cosmetic bag with some lipstick and blush, with tooth paste and tooth brush, I knew would help."

“So I think if all of us did one little tiny thing, just think of what we could do to impact so many lives, so that’s what I do.”