Funding awarded for law enforcement, prosecutors, judicial strategies, victim services
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 29, 2021) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear and Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Kerry Harvey announced more than $2.1 million in grant funding has been awarded to 30 agencies across Kentucky to stop sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking as well as to enhance victim services.
The Governor said it is unacceptable that on average, 20 people per minute are abused by an intimate partner in the United States, and in Kentucky more than 45% of women and 35% of men experience intimate partner physical violence or rape in their lifetimes.
“We must end violent crime and sexual assault,” said Gov. Beshear. “These funds help us work together to end it and build that better Kentucky we all want.”
The federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Services, Training, Officers, Prosecution (STOP) Formula Grant Program are awarded to law enforcement, prosecution, judicial strategies and victim services throughout Kentucky. Funds are received from the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), a component of the U.S. Department of Justice.
OVW requires state administrating agencies allocate 25% for law enforcement, 25% for prosecutors, 30% for victim services, 5% for state and local courts and 15% for discretionary distribution. Accordingly, the funding should be used for projects that serve or focus on adults and youth (age 11-24) who are victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking. Awarded funding may also support complementary new initiatives and emergency services for victims and their families, including children 10 and under. Applications are submitted to and grant funding is administered by the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet’s Grants Management Division.
“We must support any and all efforts to curb intimate partner violence and amplify the voices and experiences of victims so they no longer have to navigate that painful journey alone,” said Secretary Harvey. “This grant funding furthers the administration’s pledge to ensure every victim knows they are not alone, and fosters supportive communities that help survivors seek justice.”
For a full list of 2021-2022 VAWA sub-award recipients, please visit the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet’s website. Leaders from several organizations said what receiving the funds means to their community and for the services that they provide.
“The Office of the Fayette County Sheriff is very appreciative of continued VAWA funding which allows the office to employee three full-time domestic violence officers to provide critical service of emergency protective orders, make arrests for violations and monitor GPS compliance for those offenders who have committed substantial violations. Additionally, this grant award also allows the office to employ an intake specialist who immediately assists victims when they file for protection,” said Fayette County Sheriff Kathy Witt.
“Thanks to VAWA funding for a special victims detective, Georgetown Police Department will now have the ability to dedicate more time, attention, and energy to investigating, charging, arresting, and prosecuting domestic violence, violations of protection orders, sexual assault and stalking/harassment crimes. The creation of this specialized unit will also allow for more consistent victim-tailored intervention across law enforcement and prosecution systems by reducing redundancy, eliminating inconsistencies and increasing continuity of care. We are excited to soon be able to provide an even higher level and quality of service in this area, with the addition of this detective,” said Georgetown Police Department Criminal Investigations Section Lt. Nicholas Lodal.
“VAWA funding is essential in supporting the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s work to ensure meaningful access to services for every Kentuckian experiencing domestic violence. It also provides the resources we need to invest in policy work that improves systems responses to domestic violence and improves outcomes for survivors,” Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence CEO Angela H. Yannelli said.
“Thanks to VAWA funding, Lotus and our Purchase Area community partners are working to successfully provide victim-sensitive and coordinated services, increase trained medical and legal professionals, ensure accurate evidence collection and preservation, and empower communities to prevent sexual violence. Our VAWA efforts improve victims' experiences when seeking help and achieving legal outcomes aligned with victims' rights,” Lotus Executive Direction Lori Brown said.
For more information on the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, visit: https://www.justice.gov/ovw.
Since taking office, Gov. Beshear has been committed to preventing violent crime, and has awarded more than $60 million in grant funding to victim service agencies across the commonwealth that work to prevent future acts of intimate partner violence and ensure the safety of survivors, while also providing victims access to and choice of domestic violence shelters and resources.
In July 2021, Gov. Beshear announced nearly $2 million VAWA grant funding.
Also in July 2021, Gov. Beshear announced $1.5 million in U.S. Department of Justice grants awarded to the commonwealth to form the Kentucky State Police (KSP) Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Investigative Team. To leverage existing investigative resources within the KSP Crime Lab, statewide investigative jurisdiction and existing connections with local law enforcement agencies, three trained investigators and a criminal intelligence analyst moved from the Office of the Attorney General to KSP. The team will continue to focus on investigating and identifying sexual offenders to assist in the fight to end domestic violence against all Kentuckians.
As part of the ongoing efforts of the Beshear-Coleman administration to protect victims of sexual assault, 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
Kentucky’s domestic violence programs and shelters are OPEN 24/7 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 1-800-799-SAFE, or visiting www.kcadv.org/.