Funding to benefit programs that provide direct services to victims of violent crime
FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 24, 2022) – Gov. Andy Beshear and Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Kerry Harvey announced today that applications will be available April 4, for an anticipated $22 million in grant funding to support victims of crime under the federal Victims of Crime Act program, known as VOCA.
“As your Governor, protecting all Kentuckians and promoting justice across our commonwealth is a top priority," said Gov. Beshear. “This annual grant funding by VOCA allows us to continue taking vital steps as we build a more equitable, safer Kentucky for generations to come."
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.
“It will take significant funding and collaboration to continue in the fight to end acts of violence and provide justice for survivors of violent crimes across Kentucky," Secretary Harvey said. “And the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet is committed to a methodical delivery of the VOCA funds to our victim centered partners located across the commonwealth who are focused on strengthening victims, holding offenders accountable and creating a better and safer Kentucky."
Eligible applicants include crime victim service providers across Kentucky, including prosecutor's offices, law enforcement agencies and nonprofit organizations that offer direct services to victims of crime. Funds also support advocacy efforts for victims of domestic or sexual violence, civil legal aid, services for children and families affected by physical or sexual abuse and Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) services. State agencies, local units of government, and private not-for-profit organizations may apply for these funds. The application, which is available on the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet's website, offers additional information on which services qualify for funding.
The funds allocated to Kentucky from the Office for Victims of Crime, a component of the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs, are part of the Victims of Crime Act program, known as VOCA. In 1984, Congress passed the Victims of Crime Act, which established the Crime Victim's Fund and today supports thousands of local victim assistance programs and victim compensation programs in every state, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories.
VOCA funds are replenished each year through fines, forfeited bail bonds, penalties and special assessments collected from federal offenders by U.S. Attorneys' offices, federal U.S. courts and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. No tax money supports the Crime Victim's Fund.
During federal fiscal year 2021, 132,624 victims in the commonwealth were served and 985,602 services were provided through VOCA grant funds.
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 http://sam.gov/ in order to be eligible to receive a VOCA award. Applications are due by May 13 at 6pm EST 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.
Beshear-Coleman Administration Fight to Seek Justice for Victims of Crime
As part of the ongoing efforts of the Beshear-Coleman administration to protect victims of crime, the Governor recently signed Senate Bill 38 into law, which defines Class A and B felony incest as a violent offense, which requires offenders to serve longer sentences for committing this heinous crime.
"This will mean those who commit one of the most atrocious, heinous acts possible — one that steals not only individuals' childhood but also their trust, and is a violation that most of us could never comprehend — are going to serve more of their sentences and it ensures that we are going to be treating what is an awful, awful crime as such," Gov. Beshear said.
Since taking office, Gov. Beshear has awarded more than $60 million in grant funding 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 award to the Kentucky State Police (KSP) to hire a new investigator with the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Investigate Team to focus on investigating and identifying sexual offenders in Jefferson County. The KSP SAKI investigative team was originally formed in July 2021 after 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 October 2021, Gov. Beshear and Secretary Harvey announced more than $29 million in grants to support crime victims.
In December 2021, Gov. Beshear and Secretary Harvey announced more than $2.1 million in grant funding had been awarded to 30 agencies across Kentucky to stop sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking as well as to enhance victim services.
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.