Funding to benefit programs that provide direct services to victims of violent crime
FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 1 ,2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear and Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Kerry Harvey announced that applications will be available June 5 for $11 million in additional grant funding to support victims of crime in the commonwealth.
Nationwide decreases in the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) have caused states across the nation, including Kentucky, to experience reductions in funding. To supplement this reduced funding, the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet’s state fiscal year 2024 budget includes an additional $11 million from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). This will provide additional funding for programs that focus on crime reduction or directly assist crime victims in the commonwealth.
“Fighting for victims of crime has been a top priority of mine since I took office, first as Kentucky’s Attorney General and now as Governor,” Gov. Beshear said. “This additional ARPA funding allows us to support even more victims of crime by supplementing lost VOCA funding so that we can further build on the progress we’ve made to create a safer commonwealth for all.”
Applications for the next round of VOCA funding were submitted in May, with the award announcements of more than $17 million in this grant funding coming in September. This additional $11 million brings the total amount to be awarded by the Beshear-Coleman administration to over $27 million, increasing the ability for more Kentuckians to get the support and assistance they need.
The Governor said VOCA is the only federal grant program supporting direct assistance services to victims and survivors of all types of crimes. The primary purpose of the VOCA grant program is to extend and enhance services to survivors of violent crime. Anyone who has suffered physical, sexual, financial or emotional harm as the result of the commission of a crime is eligible to receive VOCA-supported assistance services. These services respond to the emotional, psychological or physical needs of crime victims, assist them in stabilizing their lives after victimization, help them understand and navigate the criminal justice process and/or help restore a measure of security and safety for survivors. The additional ARPA funding will ensure that this support continues.
“Victims of crime should have every opportunity available to reclaim their lives after an act of violent crime is committed, and the commonwealth promises to be there every step of the way,” said Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Kerry Harvey. “The VOCA and ARPA funding is critical to the work of our community partners in fully supporting victims of crime as they navigate their journey to recovery.”
Use of the additional funds must be compliant with and eligible under the ARPA Final Rule. Not all activities eligible under federal VOCA guidelines may be eligible under ARPA guidelines. If awarded, these ARPA funds should be treated as an individual grant, separate from any subaward of VOCA funding from the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. If an organization receives both a VOCA subaward and an additional ARPA subaward, they should keep records that clearly distinguish which funds have been requested and obligated for all reimbursable activities. Information on eligible activities and materials for reference will be provided in the application.
All applications must be submitted online via Intelligrants 10.0 (IGX), the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet’s electronic grants management system. New applicants will be required to establish an account and become familiar with the system well in advance of the due date. Applicants should also note that validating a new user account requires 48 to 72 hours. Applicants must also possess a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) from the federal System for Award Management at https://sam.gov/ in order to be eligible to receive an award. Applications are due by June 23 at 6 p.m. EDT and awards are expected to be announced in September. Assistance with the application process may be obtained by contacting grants management staff at JUSIGX@ky.gov.
Governor Signs Senate Bill 282, Increasing Available Funding for Victims of Crime
The Crime Victims Compensation Fund (CVCF) provides assistance to survivors of violent crime without resources to pay for the medical, funeral, mental health counseling, and dental or corrective lens expenses resulting from a crime. Assistance can also include lost wages of the survivor or loss of support for someone dependent on the victim, lost earnings constituting bereavement in homicide cases and emotional support animals up to $1,000.
Senate Bill 282 increased the following amounts the fund can award:
- Doubled the weekly amount available for lost wages to $300 per week from $150 per week;
- Increased the amount available for funeral expenses to $7,500 from $5,000; and
- Increased the overall total award available to $30,000 from $25,000.
“I can only imagine how difficult it can be to recover from and get through the trauma of being a victim of a violent crime,” said Public Protection Cabinet Secretary Ray Perry. “I’m grateful to Gov. Beshear and the Kentucky General Assembly for understanding the importance of the Crime Victims Compensation Fund in supporting survivors in a tangible way. These funds help alleviate some of the financial burden that results after a violent crime, helping victims recover from lost wages, and added health care costs that can be incurred. Increasing the dollars available to victims of crime keeps the program relevant with current costs.”
The CVCF was established by Kentucky’s General Assembly in 1976. Kentucky was the 14th state to enact such legislation, eight years before the 1984 passage of the federal Victims of Crime Act. Under the Beshear administration, the board has worked to reduce the time to process claims and, while seeing increases in the number of total claims, has also reduced the number of open claims with the board. The current award amount paid to eligible victims for 2023 is more than $770,000. Survivors can apply directly to the Office of Claims and Appeals.
The Crime Victims Compensation Board also administers the Sexual Assault Examination Program (SAEP). SAEP pays for the collection of evidence during a sexual assault exam and also pays for basic medical treatment for patients who present for a sexual assault exam including HIV prophylaxis. Qualified medical providers can apply for SAEP on behalf of the victim. To date in 2023, the SEAP has awarded over $285,000 in medical expenses.
More information is available about these programs and how to apply at KYCC.ky.gov.
Commitment to Fighting for Victims of Crime and Holding Offenders Accountable
Even before his time as Governor, Gov. Beshear consistently championed reducing and preventing domestic and dating violence and abuse while helping victims and survivors receive the services they need.
As attorney general, his office arrested record numbers of child predators and trained thousands of Kentuckians to recognize, report and prevent child abuse and human trafficking.
Then-Attorney General Beshear created the Office of Child Abuse and Exploitation Prevention. During that time, he and Britainy Beshear worked with community partners to open the Hope Gallery – a collection of artworks on display at the Capitol that featured images created by children served by Maryhurst, Family Scholar House, Volunteers of America and Silverleaf.
His work has continued in the Office of the Governor. The Beshear-Coleman administration has awarded more than $104 million in grant funding to victim service agencies across the commonwealth.
On March 27, Gov. Beshear signed into law three bills to protect children from abuse by strengthening reporting requirements when Kentuckians have reason to believe a child has been abused, neglected or is a victim of human trafficking; clarified the legal definition of incest to make sure more people are protected from this hideous crime; and ensured that registered sex offenders cannot come within a 1,000 feet of a high school, middle school, elementary school, preschool, publicly owned or leased playground, or licensed day care facility.
In December, the Beshear-Coleman administration awarded more than $2 million in grant funding to 33 agencies to stop sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, as well as to enhance victim services.
In October, Gov. Beshear and Secretary Harvey awarded nearly $8 million to 56 programs and projects that support victims of violent crime by 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. 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.
At the beginning of 2022, 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 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 how domestic violence data in Kentucky is collected, analyzed and used. SB 271 will ultimately enhance responses and prevention efforts from agencies, including law enforcement, courts and service providers, and better meet the needs of victims and survivors.
During the 2021 regular legislative session, Gov. Beshear signed House Bill 310, sponsored by former state 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 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.