Gov. Beshear and First Lady Join Advocates and Survivors To Proclaim October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Governor announces $2.5 million federal grant to bolster sexual assault kit testing program

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 18, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear and First Lady Britainy Beshear were joined by survivors and advocates at the state Capitol to proclaim October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Kentucky.

Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, ZeroV CEO Angela Yannelli, OASIS Executive Director Andrea Robinson and Sen. Whitney Westerfield of Fruit Hill joined the Governor and First Lady for the signing of the proclamation. The Governor also announced a $2.5 million U.S. Department of Justice grant has been awarded to Kentucky to further assist law enforcement in bringing justice to victims of sexual assault. This year’s funding is the second-largest award in the history of the commonwealth from the department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.

“This month, and every month, let’s lead with the strength and bravery survivors show daily and take intentional steps to end domestic violence in Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “From providing survivors and their families with the resources they need to rebuild their lives to tackling the root issues of violence in our communities, I am going to keep fighting for the inches that become the miles of progress until we reach our goal of building a safer Kentucky.”

The First Lady thanked the survivors in attendance for their courage and recognized that in Kentucky, more than 45% of women and 35% of men experience intimate partner violence in their lifetimes.

“As First Lady, and as a mom to two great kids, one of my primary goals is to make our commonwealth a safer place for all our families,” Mrs. Beshear said. “I am proud to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month by honoring our survivors, raising awareness and showing appreciation for the dedicated Kentuckians working hard to end domestic violence in Kentucky.”

The new $2.5 million U.S. Department of Justice grant announced today will allow the Kentucky State Police (KSP) Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) investigative team, formed in July 2021, to enhance its critical work by hiring additional personnel dedicated to testing sexual assault kits and improving sexual assault data collection to better identify predators. Funding will also be provided to the Louisville Metro Police Department to hire personnel to assist KSP with testing and for the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet’s Criminal Justice Statistical Analysis Center to perform a study of sexual assault kit data.

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

Gov. Beshear has consistently championed reducing and preventing domestic and dating violence and abuse while helping victims and survivors receive the services they need.

The Beshear-Coleman administration has awarded more than $131 million in grant funding to victim service agencies across the commonwealth, which has provided victim services to approximately 258,000 Kentuckians.

This year, the Governor signed Senate Bill 271 and House Bill 535, requiring the collection and analysis of data related to domestic violence in the commonwealth, including domestic violence fatalities, domestic violence shelter use and reports of child abuse. In June, the Beshear-Coleman administration compiled the first statewide data report on domestic violence statistics.

Also in June, Gov. Beshear and Secretary of State Michael Adams celebrated legislation becoming law that created the Safe at Home Program, which protects 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 legislation that 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.

Report Domestic Violence
Kentucky’s domestic violence programs and shelters are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are safe for survivors and their families to receive emergency shelter and supportive services. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence and needs assistance, please reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 800-799-SAFE or visiting