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Nov. 1—FRANKFORT — 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.
Christine Laster, 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.
Local recipients include:
—Cumberland River Behavioral Health, Inc. $63,379 ARPA and $148,408 VOCA
—Cumberland Valley Children's Advocacy Center $188,462 ARPA and $162,100 VOCA
—Mountain Comprehensive Care Center $62,206 ARPA and $195,009 VOCA
—Adanta Sexual Assault Resource Center $95,295
—Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of Kentucky, Inc. $347,302
—Bethany House Abuse Shelter, Inc $122,516
—CASA of Clay, Knox and Laurel Counties, Inc $42,394
—Children's Advocacy Centers of Kentucky, Inc. $77,000
—City of Williamsburg $46,800
—Cumberland Valley Domestic Violence Services, Inc. $85,362
—Kentucky CASA Network $77,000
—Kentucky Office of the Attorney General $111,413
—KVC Behavioral Healthcare Kentucky, Inc $31,594
—Public Protection Cabinet $95,152
—Volunteers of America Mid-States $85,024.
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.