$2 million in grants provided to fight violence against women

Funding awarded to law enforcement, prosecution,            judicial strategies, and victim services

NEWS RELEASE

Gov. Andy Beshear and Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Mary Noble have announced that $2,116,636 has been awarded in grant funding from the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Services, Training, Officers, Prosecution (STOP) Formula Grant Program to 28 agencies across Kentucky.

VAWA STOP Formula Grant Program funds are used to develop and strengthen effective law enforcement, prosecution, judicial strategies, and victim services throughout Kentucky in response to cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and/or dating violence. Funds are received from the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), a component of the U.S. Department of Justice.

“We are grateful that OVW awarded the Commonwealth of Kentucky this federal funding in order for us to better support the insurmountable work provided by victim advocacy services, law enforcement agencies, and local units of governments to victims of violent crime,” said Gov. Beshear. “We must continue to work together to stop domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, and hold the offenders accountable.”

OVW requires state administrating agencies to allocate 25 percent for law enforcement, 25 percent for prosecutors, 30 percent for victim services, 5 percent for state and local courts, and 15 percent 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.

Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Mary Noble said that VAWA STOP funds are critical to helping survivors of violent crime stabilize their lives after victimization, and assist in developing prevention strategies to stop the violence before it starts, while simultaneously holding offenders accountable. “Reports indicate that domestic violence has increased while the nation battles against the COVID-19 pandemic. As a state we must support all efforts to curb domestic violence and provide a voice to victims so they no longer have to suffer in silence,” said Secretary Noble.

Some of the programs funded by the 2020-2021 VAWA STOP Formula Grant include:

Chrysalis House, Inc.

Chrysalis House, Inc. has been awarded $51,830 to continue funding a Domestic Violence Therapist to ensure physical and emotional safety is established prior to treatment for women who have experienced intimate partner violence.

“Recent admissions data show that approximately 80% of women entering Chrysalis House have experienced interpersonal violence.  VAWA funding permits Chrysalis House to dedicate a therapist to address women’s issues specifically related to interpersonal violence, allowing women the opportunity to focus directly on these issues in order to develop new coping skills, envision a lifestyle in which they are able to make effective and safe choices for their futures, and believe that a life free of violence and substances is possible,” said Chrysalis House, Inc. Executive Director Kama McKinney.

DOVES of Gateway, Inc.

DOVES of Gateway, Inc. has been awarded $59,890 to continue funding of one full-time and one part-time victim advocate to provide life-changing services at their emergency shelter as well as meet the needs of non-residential survivors.

“DOVES of Gateway is so grateful for VAWA funding. VAWA monies allow us to provide lifesaving services through advocacy for survivors of domestic violence,” said DOVES of Gateway, Inc. Executive Director Kelli Petronella.

Green River Regional Rape Victim Services (New Beginnings)

Green River Regional Rape Victim Services (New Beginnings) has been awarded $40,000 to continue funding one victim advocate to provide crisis sessions for sexual assault victims, training of law enforcement, hospital personnel, and other key stakeholders in the Green River Regional service area, as well as help, facilitate the Sexual Assault Interagency Council.

“VAWA funding has allowed us to collaborate with community partners through the Sexual Assault Interagency Council to ensure we address gaps and identify better practices for survivors.  These funds also help survivors to access the criminal justice system through our victim advocates who provide them a safe and compassionate response to a traumatic event,” said New Beginnings Sexual Assault Support Services Executive Director Karla Ward.

Jefferson County Attorney’s Office

Jefferson County Attorney’s Office has been awarded $163,119 to continue to support a prosecutor position and an intake clerk position at Jefferson County’s multi-agency Domestic Violence Intake Center to assist domestic violence victims in filing EPOs/IPOs and criminal complaints, assist with evidence collection and educate/inform victims about the complicated legal system. In addition, funds will be used to hire two experienced investigators to increase evidence collection and serve subpoenas to enhance offender accountability. All four of these VAWA-funded employees will receive specialized training in domestic violence.

“These competitive grant dollars are critical for us to keep extended hours to serve victims of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and stalking,” said Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell. “VAWA funding also supports our Special Victims Unit investigators who obtain evidence and testimony to hold domestic violence perpetrators accountable. We could not sustain our current service to victims in Louisville without this vital support.”

Merryman House Domestic Crisis Center

Merryman House Domestic Crisis Center has been awarded $56,264 to increase the safety of domestic violence survivors in the Purchase Area Development District by sustaining and improving collaboration efforts with local law enforcement and prosecution. This funding will sustain the organization’s Lethality Assessment Program in existing counties within their service area, provision of comprehensive case management and crisis response services, and thorough documentation and communication of victim needs to improve prosecution and civil protections.

“The MHDCC is able to provide critical access to victims of domestic violence through our Lethality Assessment Program as a direct result of VAWA funds. This program equips law enforcement to assess cases on the scene and link survivors to emergency services,” said Merryman House Domestic Crisis Center Executive Director and Clinical Psychologist Dr. Mary E. Foley. “In short, VAWA funds save lives, and our communities are safer as a result.”

The Nest – Center for Women, Children, and Families

The Nest – Center for Women, Children, and Families has been awarded $116,780 which will allow it to continue to hire two contracted attorneys who will provide legal services at no charge to families obtaining an order of protection against their perpetrator in Anderson, Bourbon, Boyle, Clark, Estill, Fayette, Garrard, Jessamine, Laurel, Lincoln, Madison, Mercer, Montgomery, Nicholas, Powell, Rowan, Scott, and Woodford counties.

“The Nest is extremely grateful for VAWA’s grant funding and continued support for our free legal services for survivors of intimate partner violence. The service we provide has been critical, particularly with rates of intimate partner violence on the rise during the pandemic,” said  The Nest – Center for Women, Children, and Families Parenting and Intimate Partner Violence Programs Director Katie Mooney. “The funds granted have one hundred percent supported our attorneys and court advocates to help survivors file protective orders.”

For a full list of the 2020-2021 VAWA STOP Formula Grant sub-award recipients, visit the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet’s website.