Gov. Beshear Awards More Than $27 Million To Assist Victims of Crime

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 31, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that $27.2 million in grant funding has been awarded to assist victims of violent crime in the commonwealth. This year’s federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant funding was awarded to 114 organizations across Kentucky.

Since day one of my administration, we have done everything we can to support crime victims and survivors of violent crimes,” Gov. Beshear said. “Today, we take another step forward on our mission to do just that by making sure critical funding reaches every corner of the commonwealth.”

VOCA funding prioritizes services to victims of child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence. Funding can also serve survivors of homicide and victims of burglary, theft, drug and alcohol-related crime and elderly victims and adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse or assault.

The last several years have seen significant decreases in federal funding for VOCA grants. The Justice and Public Safety Cabinet’s 2023-2024 biennial budget included an additional $10 million of funding in each fiscal year from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) to help offset the reduction. This year’s VOCA funding includes $17 million from the Office for Victims of Crime and an additional $10 million in ARPA funds, bringing the total awarded amount to $27 million.

The Governor was joined today by Maryhurst, one of the organizations awarded both VOCA and ARPA funding. Maryhurst has been awarded $356,810 in ARPA funds and $139,016 in VOCA funding, for a total of $495,826, to ensure therapeutic treatment and clinical care are available to adolescent girls who are victims of child abuse requiring the highest level of specialized care in Kentucky, including security and facility enhancements.

Paula Garner, president and CEO of Maryhurst, said Victims of Crime Act funding has been a critical source of support for Maryhurst over the years: “The administration has invested in so many important needs for our children and families, from strengthening our infrastructure to supporting critical technology that makes our organization run effectively. We are grateful for our committed partnership and look forward to continuing to work together to ensure that youth and families impacted by violence have the resources they need to recover and thrive.”

“This administration fights for victims of crime. We intend to provide every available resource to help them heal and obtain justice,” said Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Kerry Harvey.

For a full list of 2023-2024 VOCA/ARPA sub-award recipients, click here and here. Leaders from several organizations explained how these funds allow them to better serve their clients through services, advocacy and shelter.

“This funding from VOCA will allow Jewish Family and Career Services to continue providing critical services to older adults in greater Louisville. Elder fraud has increased 84% in just the last year, so the services we provide to older adults and caregivers are more crucial now than ever. Older adults are being targeted disproportionately,” Jewish Family and Career Services Chief Executive Officer David Finke said. “Thanks to this VOCA funding, JFCS can serve more of these individuals and make sure they are protected.”

“VOCA funds are critical to the comprehensive services needed to respond to intimate partner violence across the commonwealth,” said Merryman House Domestic Crisis Center Executive Director Mary Foley. “These funds are a literal lifeline to survivors and enable the Merryman House Domestic Crisis Center to provide a 24-hour crisis response, legal advocacy, case management, clinical services, youth advocacy and much more.”

“In addition to supporting our shelter services in Western Kentucky, VOCA funding has allowed us to increase our supportive services for survivors of domestic violence and their dependent children,” Owensboro Area Shelter Information & Services Executive Director Andrea Robinson said. “With this funding, we will be able to help survivors stay in their homes and communities or relocate through housing assistance, pay for vehicle repairs so survivors can get to work or take their children to school, get a cell phone and so much more. VOCA has allowed us to provide support to our clients that we have never been able to before, and it’s making a difference.”

Since his time as attorney general, Gov. Beshear has been committed to increasing public safety and seeking justice and assistance for victims of crime and intimate partner violence.

The Governor recently announced that violent crime rates were down in 2022, and the administration has now awarded more than $131 million in grant funding to victim service agencies across the commonwealth and provided victim services to approximately 258,000 Kentuckians.

In June, Gov. Beshear and Secretary of State Michael Adams celebrated Senate Bill 79 becoming law. The bipartisan effort creates the Safe at Home Program, which will protect the residential addresses of survivors of domestic violence and other sexual crimes as well as the addresses of those who reside in the same household as the victim. To gain this protection, the victim or the individual residing in the victim's home must apply to the secretary of state's office to have the address protected.

In April, the Governor signed Senate Bill 282, which doubled the weekly amount available for crime victims 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.

On March 27, Gov. Beshear signed into law three bills to protect all Kentuckians from heinous crimes, such as incest, as well as protect children against those who have committed these crimes.

In December, the Beshear-Coleman administration awarded more than $2 million in VAWA STOP grant funding to 33 agencies to stop sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, as well as to enhance victim services.

Last year, Gov. Beshear and Secretary Harvey announced that an additional $849,491 in federal grant funding had been awarded to the Kentucky State Police to hire a new investigator with the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative investigative team to focus on investigating and identifying sexual offenders in Jefferson County. On Aug. 28, the KSP SAKI investigative team announced that in conjunction with state and local partners, their team had achieved a significant breakthrough in a series of sexual assault cases that occurred in 2005.