Governor Beshear announces more than $ 29 million in grants to support victims of crime
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WBKO) – Today Governor Andy Beshear and Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Kerry Harvey announced more than $ 29 million in grants to support victims of ‘criminal acts.
The funds are allocated to 132 victim service providers throughout Kentucky, including prosecutor’s offices, law enforcement agencies and nonprofit organizations that provide direct services to victims of crime. victims of crime. The 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 services ( CASA).
“We remain steadfast in our fight to obtain justice for victims of crime and to ensure that they have a lawyer who works for them, speaks for them and calls for justice for them,” said Govt. Beshear. “We will continue to fight for every Kentuckian and make sure every victim gets the services they need. “
“The Justice and Public Security Cabinet is the state administration agency for VOCA and strives to ensure that the most effective and efficient service delivery is made available to survivors to strengthen their emotional, mental and physical well-being following a crime ” Secretary Harvey noted.
The funds allocated to Kentucky by the Office for Victims of Crime, a component of the programs of the Office of Justice of the United States Department of Justice, 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 and victim compensation programs in every state, the District of Columbia and the US territories.
VOCA funds are replenished annually through fines, forfeited bonds, penalties, and special assessments collected from federal offenders by US prosecutors’ offices, US federal courts, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. No tax money supports the Crime Victims Fund.
Of the total grants announced, approximately $ 6.2 million will help provide services to victims of domestic violence and $ 3.4 million will go to services for victims of sexual assault or human trafficking. About $ 11.7 million will go to Children’s Advocacy Centers (CAC), Court Appointed Special Advocate Programs (CASA) and agencies providing residential care and mental health services to abused children. An estimated $ 2.6 million will go to prosecutor-focused programs and $ 1.7 will support law enforcement-focused programs providing advocacy services to victims of crime in Commonwealth jurisdictions. An additional $ 4.6 million has been allocated to programs that serve victims who need services for more than one purpose.
Local agencies that have received funds include:
– Barren River Area Children’s Advocacy Center $ 556,868
– Barren River Area Safe Space, Inc. $ 583,047
– CASA of Southern Kentucky, INC. $ 68,483
– Hope Harbor, Inc. $ 625,308
– Kentucky State Police $ 1,168,208
For a complete list of the 2021-2022 VOCA Sub-Prize recipients, please visit the Justice and Public Security Cabinet website.
Leaders of several organizations explained what receiving funds means for their communities and for the services they provide.
“Since receiving VOCA’s support, we have been able to successfully develop and deploy a dedicated victim resource unit to help our victims of crime in need. This unit works hand in hand with our police officers in Berea to help, support and guide our victims of crime with the resources they need to reduce the overall damage from the incident, ”said Eric Scott, Police Chief of the Berea Police Department. “With the support of the VOCA grant, we now have more tools in our toolbox to help those we serve. “
“VOCA’s funding enabled CASA of Northeast Kentucky to expand child advocacy services to three counties that had never had access to CASA services before. Carter, Elliott and Morgan counties are very rural and small in size, so they would generally not be candidates for a stand-alone program, ”said Carol Adams, Executive Director of CASA of Northeast KY Executive Director. “However, thanks to a VOCA-funded expansion of Northeast Kentucky CASA, they are now receiving one-on-one advocacy services. We are very grateful to serve more children and are very aware that this would not continue to happen without VOCA funding. VOCA gave a voice to the children of these small rural counties who probably wouldn’t have one. “
“The support of families victims of delinquency by the Center La Casita has been enormously impacted by the VOCA grant that we received last year”, declared Karina Barillas, Executive Director of Center La Casita. “It has given us the opportunity to increase our capacity for the incredible work we have done as pioneers in the State serving the Latinx families. It has also given us the opportunity to provide more resources, supports and services to families who present unique challenges and marginalization. Muchas gracias from our hearts! ”
“The funding from VOCA allows us to provide forensic interviews as quickly as possible, so that the victims can begin to heal and the legal process can be initiated,” said Pamela Carey, Executive Director of Kentucky River Children’s Advocacy Center. “The funding we receive from VOCA also provides a case manager, who works with the victims we serve, so their needs can be met immediately and in the future. Without funding from VOCA, we would not be able to provide these services in a timely manner.
“The safety and security of citizens should be the number one priority of a county attorney,” said Tom Weddle, Casey County District Attorney. “The passage of Marsy’s law confirms this belief and protects the rights of victims of crime. Due to the limited funds available for this office, it would be difficult to comply with Marsy’s Law and provide the best possible services to victims of crime. The decision to award a VOCA grant to this office and provide additional funding to ensure Marsy’s law compliance will allow this office to provide better services to Casey County voters and victims of crime. The County of Casey and this office sincerely appreciate this award, and we would like to thank everyone involved in the decision-making process.
“Thanks to VOCA funding, adult and pediatric victims of sexual and physical assault receive 24/7 medico-legal services. These victims also receive follow-up care which helps in healing. Offering the only SANE / Forensic program in our 10 county area, the number of victims of Baptist Health Hardin continues to rise, so we must continue to provide this much needed specialist care, ”said Tracee Troutt, vice president and director of development for the Baptist Health Foundation Hardin.
In 2020, 125,126 victims in the Commonwealth were served and 236,505 services were provided through VOCA grant funds.
Since taking office, Governor Beshear has awarded more than $ 60 million in grants to victim service agencies across the Commonwealth.
In July 2021, Governor Beshear announced that nearly $ 2 million in grants are available to address violence against women. The grant program supports law enforcement, prosecution, court strategies and victim services.
Also in July 2021, Governor Beshear announced a $ 1.5 million grant from the US Department of Justice to the Commonwealth of Nations to train the Police Sexual Assault Kit Investigation Team ‘State of Kentucky (KSP). To leverage existing investigative resources within the KSP Crime Lab, statewide investigative jurisdiction and existing links with local law enforcement agencies, three trained investigators and one criminal intelligence analyst moved from the attorney general’s office to the KSP. The team will continue to focus on investigating and identifying sex offenders to help address domestic violence against all Kentuckians.
As part of the Beshear-Coleman administration’s ongoing efforts to protect victims of sexual assault, Governor Beshear signed HB 310, sponsored by Senator Morgan McGarvey of Jefferson County. HB 310 allows a Commonwealth lawyer to file a motion for involuntary recognizance for violent offenders who are incompetent to stand trial and would not benefit from further treatment, but who are considered a danger to themselves or to others . By signing this bill, the governor filled a loophole in state law that allowed some defendants to avoid both jail and mental health care.
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