Gender-Based Violence

Three images demonstrating gender - woman/man symbols blending into one another; a faceless woman looking to the right; white gender symbols on a purple background

Gender-based violence refers to any act that is perpetrated against a person’s will and is based on gender norms and unequal power relationships. It encompasses threats of violence and coercion. It can be physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual in nature, and can take the form of a denial of resources or access to services. It inflicts harm on women, girls, men and boys.


Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Initiative

2015 - present

The Begun Center is partnering with the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force on an action research project to examine untested sexual assault kits (SAKs) in Cuyahoga County. The Task Force is currently following up via investigation and prosecution on the DNA testing of nearly 5,000 previously untested kits from 1993 through 2009.

Research Team: Rachel Lovell (Principal Investigator), Maggie McGuire, Joanna Klingenstein, Laura T. Overman

Learn more about the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Research Project


Domestic Violence

Cuyahoga County Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Initiative

October 2016 - December 2019

The Begun Center serves as the research and evaluation partner to Cuyahoga County and the Domestic Violence Center for the Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention (DVHP) Initiative . We work in partnership to reduce domestic violence homicides by effectively identifying potential victims and monitoring high-risk offenders. The DVHP Initiative is modeled after programs in Massachusetts and Maryland, where the use of coordinated teams of law enforcement, prosecutors, health professionals and victims’ services significantly reduced the domestic violence homicide rate.

Funder: Department of Justice

Partners: Journey Center for Safety and Healing (formerly Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center)

Research Team: Jeff Kretschmar (Principal Investigator), Ashley M. Bukach

Read more about the Cuyahoga County Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Initiative

Cuyahoga County High-Risk Domestic Violence Docket

October 2019 - present

The Begun Center serves as the research and evaluation partner to Cuyahoga County and the High-Risk Felony Domestic Violence Docket. This newly created docket within the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas was formed as a novel way to address those high risk domestic violence cases that involve strangulation or the use of a firearm.

Led by Judge Sherrie Miday, the docket consists of a docket coordinator, prosecutors, defense attorneys, pretrial and probation officers, and victim advocates who will work collaboratively to handle the cases. Along with providing an array of services to support victims and enhance their safety, the docket will focus on offender accountability and rehabilitation. Defendants who are sentenced to probation will be required to go through an intensive cognitive-behavioral based batterers intervention' program. Defendants can also be referred into mental health and substance use treatment.

Funder: US Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance

Partners: Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Journey Center for Safety and Healing, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, Cuyahoga County Public Defender Office, Cuyahoga County Witness Victim Service Center, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department, Legal Aid Society of Greater Cleveland, Cuyahoga Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Cleveland Municipal Court

Research Team: Jeff Kretschmar (Principal Investigator), Ashley M. Bukach


Cleveland Rape Crisis Center Services Evaluation

2014 - 2017, January 2020 - December 2022

The Begun Center assessed the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center's Victim Advocacy Program model, delivery, and outcomes.

Research Team: Rachel Lovell (Principal Investigator), Maggie McGuire


Human Trafficking Courts and Services Evaluations

The Begun Center provides research and evaluation services for the human trafficking dockets in Cuyahoga and Summit Counties, and to RAHAB Ministries, all of which serve juvenile survivors of human trafficking, and makes recommendations for improvement.

Learn more about our work evaluating the services and courts that serve survivors of human trafficking


Understanding and Reducing Health Disparities Faced by Transgender and Gender Nonconforming (TGNC) Individuals

January 2019 - April 2020

The Begun Center partnered with the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland to study what barriers transgender and gender nonconforming people face when accessing healthcare and whether advocacy led by those individuals can have a community-wide impact on health disparities. Medical providers and staff joined the dialogue led by transgender and gender nonconforming individuals to see how relationships outside of a clinic setting change dynamics between the groups.

Research Team: Misty Luminais (Principal Investigator), Maggie McGuire