Funding to benefit programs that provide direct services to victims of violent crime
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 27, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced $7,983,444 in grant funding to 56 programs and projects that support victims of violent crime.
“As Governor, I am committed to protecting every person in our state," said Gov. Beshear. “This funding is another step toward a Kentucky where every victim of crime is provided with the critical recovery resources, protection and legal services to ensure justice."
Gov. Beshear and Kerry Harvey, secretary of the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet (KJPSC), are using the State Fiscal Recovery Fund of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) to ensure that support for victims and survivors of crime continues despite the nationwide reduction in the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) awards. Through today's award, the commonwealth is responding to the emotional, psychological and physical needs of crime victims, assisting them in stabilizing their lives after victimization, helping them navigate the criminal justice process and helping restore a measure of security and safety for survivors.
“We are committed to enhancing public safety through every avenue possible," said Secretary Harvey. “The almost $8 million in grant funding invested throughout the commonwealth will make a positive difference in the lives of crime victims."
ARPA funds will support projects providing direct services for crime victims, reentry services and recidivism reduction, prosecution and law enforcement response to gun violence, as well as enhancement of technology to respond to criminal victimization. Projects providing services to crime victims received priority, with over 92% of the awarded funds going for this purpose.
For a full list of 2022-23 ARPA State Fiscal Recovery Fund VOCA sub-award recipients, please visit the KJPSC's website. Leaders from several organizations noted the beneficial impact that these funds will make on their communities.
Georgetown Police Department Chief Michael Bosse said the department's victim advocates support crime victims in Georgetown/Scott County as they navigate the often-complex criminal justice system.
“VOCA funding has allowed the Georgetown Police Department to engage in a comprehensive response to violent crime by assisting victims through advocacy, and ARPA funding will further bolster this effort by providing resources to fully investigate violent crimes," Chief Bosse said. “By combining these initiatives, we learn more about the source of criminal behavior and can create strategies to prevent and detect crime."
“To say these last several years have been difficult would be an understatement. We are just beginning to understand the impact of the pandemic on survivors of violence," said Christy K. Burch, CEO of the Ion Center for Violence Prevention. “We are here 24/7 to continue and grow lifesaving services for victims of violence and these much-needed funds help us do just that. These resources are critical to creating a safe Kentucky."
“This additional ARPA funding ensures UofL Hospital can continue to provide the help victims really need, including immediate advocacy and safety planning after their assault," said Amanda Corzine, nurse manager for UofL Hospital SAFE Services. “Despite the many challenges health care has faced during the past three years, this ARPA grant funding will ensure victims still receive critical services to escape violent and life-threatening circumstances. We are grateful KJPSC recognizes the increased need for victim services in our current environment and is working to meet victim needs."
Beshear-Coleman Administration Fights for Victims of Crime
Since taking office, Gov. Beshear has consistently championed reducing and preventing domestic and dating violence and abuse while helping victims and survivors receive the services they need. During the 2022 regular General Assembly session, the Governor signed Senate Bill 38 into law, which defines Class A and B felony incest as a violent offense, requiring offenders to serve longer sentences for committing this heinous crime. Additionally, he signed Senate Bill 271 into law in April, which will improve the ways in which domestic violence data in Kentucky is collected, analyzed and used. SB 271 ultimately will enhance responses and prevention efforts from agencies including law enforcement, courts and service providers, and better meet the needs of victims and survivors.
In September, the Governor announced nearly $23 million in grant funding from the federal VOCA Formula Victim Assistance Grant Program supporting victims of crime in the commonwealth. The administration has awarded more than $96 million in grant funding through the KJPSC to victim service agencies across the commonwealth.
At the beginning of the year, Gov. Beshear and Secretary Harvey announced that an additional $849,491 in federal grant funding had been awarded to the Kentucky State Police (KSP) to hire a new investigator with the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Investigative Team to focus on investigating and identifying sexual offenders in Jefferson County. The KSP SAKI investigative team was originally formed in July 2021 after the U.S. Department of Justice awarded $1.5 million to the commonwealth to leverage existing investigative resources within the KSP Crime Lab by transitioning three trained investigators and a criminal intelligence analyst from the Kentucky Office of the Attorney General to KSP.
In February and December 2021, Gov. Beshear announced awards totaling over $4 million to fight sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking and dating violence through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Services, Training, Officers, Prosecution (STOP) Formula Grant Program.
During the 2021 legislative session, Gov. Beshear signed HB 310, sponsored by Sen. Morgan McGarvey of Jefferson County. HB 310 allows a commonwealth attorney to file a petition for an involuntary commitment for violent offenders who are incompetent to stand trial and would not benefit from additional treatment, but who are deemed a danger to themselves or others. By signing this bill, the Governor closed a gap in state law that allowed some defendants to avoid both prison time and mental health treatment.
Report Domestic Violence
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, no matter when the violence took place, please contact the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence or the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs.
There are 13 sexual assault programs providing services to all victims of sexual violence in Kentucky. Services are free of charge. Anyone who has been affected by sexual violence is welcome, including family members and friends close to victims.
Call the 24-hour free hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233).