The funds 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.
“It is a priority for my administration to support direct services to victims and survivors of all types of crimes – they should have every resource we can provide to them as they walk the path toward healing and recovery,” said Gov. Beshear. “This funding is vital to these 133 programs that work tirelessly to respond to the emotional and physical needs of survivors and provide a much-deserved measure of safety and security.”
This year’s VOCA total represents a 511% increase over the amount awarded in 2015 – $6.2 million – when only 77 programs received funds.
Programs awarded include state government agencies, local government entities, such as prosecutor’s offices, law enforcement agencies and nonprofit organizations that offer direct services to victims of crime. Advocacy for victims of domestic or sexual violence, civil legal aid, services for children and families affected by physical or sexual abuse, Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) services and more are supported by VOCA funding.
“The Cabinet’s Grants Management Division focused this year on sustaining and, where possible, expanding direct services to crime victims,” Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Mary Noble said. “Special effort was made to support innovative practices like restorative justice, as well as culturally specific services and expansion of telehealth services in the wake of the novel coronavirus 2019 pandemic.”
Of the total grant funding announced, an estimated $9.5 million will help to provide services to domestic violence and $8 million will go toward services for victims of sexual assault or human trafficking. About $9.2 million will go to Children’s Advocacy Centers (CAC), Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) programs and agencies providing residential care and mental health services for child abuse victims.
An estimated $2.6 million will go to prosecutor-based programs providing advocacy services for victims of crime in jurisdictions around the commonwealth. Funding also will go to programs that serve victims with disabilities, elderly victims and other victims of crime.
Some of the programs funded by the 2020-2021 VOCA grant include:
Purchase Area Development District:
Merryman House Domestic Crisis Center and Lotus CAC and Sexual Violence Resource Center.
“Thanks to VOCA, Lotus is achieving unprecedented success in every aspect of our mission to support survivors, strengthen families and empower communities in ending child abuse and sexual violence. VOCA funding allows Lotus to not only improve safety, healing and justice for survivors but also to cultivate safe, equitable, just communities where all persons thrive. With VOCA support, each survivor has the trauma-informed, integrative care needed to truly heal and reclaim their lives,” said Lori Wells Brown, executive director for Lotus Sexual Violence Resource Center and Children’s Advocacy Center. “We are so grateful to the Grants Management Division team and the Office for Victims of Crime for supporting more and more of our Purchase Area survivors, families and communities to hope, heal and grow.”
Pennyrile Area Development District:
Christian County Attorney’s Office and Sanctuary Inc.
Green River Area Development District:
CASA of Midwest Kentucky and New Beginnings Sexual Assault Support Services.
Barren River Area Development District:
Hope Harbor Sexual Trauma Recovery Center and Kentucky Legal Aid.
Lincoln Trail Area Development District:
Silverleaf Sexual Trauma Recovery Services and SpringHaven Domestic Violence Shelter.
KIPDA Area Development District:
The Center for Women and Families, Family & Children’s Place, CASA of the River Region, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, ElderServe Inc. and Maryhurst.
“VOCA funding supports high-quality therapeutic services for child victims of crime residing at Home of the Innocents. The Home enriches the lives of children and families with hope, health and happiness. Our Treatment Team’s work, funded by VOCA, is essential to this mission because these highly trained team members bring hope to traumatized children who have been removed from their homes, helping them heal from their trauma and create a happier, healthier path for the rest of their lives,” said Paul Robinson, president and CEO for Home of the Innocents.
“Each year, for the past several years, Brighton Center’s Homeward Bound Shelter has served over 90 youth that are victims of crime related to physical, sexual, domestic violence or neglect. We are the only shelter for youth ages 11-17 in Northern Kentucky,” said Kate Arthur, community and youth services director for Brighton Center Homeward Bound Shelter. “We are fortunate that VOCA provides funds for a licensed therapist and case manager that work immediately to stabilize the youth, process their trauma and ensure all their needs are met.”
Buffalo Trace Area Development District:
Legal Aid of the Bluegrass, Buffalo Trace CAC, and CASA for Bracken, Fleming and Mason counties.
Gateway Area Development District:
DOVES of Gateway, Gateway CAC, and Pathways Inc.
FIVCO Area Development District:
Safe Harbor of Northeast KY, Hope’s Place CAC and CASA of Northeast KY.
Big Sandy Area Development District:
Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of KY, Judi’s Place CAC and CASA of Eastern Kentucky and Turning Point Domestic Violence Services.
Cumberland Valley Area Development District:
Laurel County Attorney’s Office, Cumberland Valley Domestic Violence Services and Cumberland River Comprehensive Care.
Lake Cumberland Area Development District:
CASA of Southern KY, the 11th Judicial Circuit and Adanta Sexual Assault Resource Center.
Bluegrass Area Development District:
Greenhouse17, Ampersand Sexual Violence Resources Center, CAC of the Bluegrass, CASA of Lexington, The Sunshine Center, Fayette County Attorney’s Office and Franklin County Fiscal Court.
“VOCA’s financial support has been transformative in our ability to reach and support survivors of intimate partner violence. With the additional staff we have been able to provide more comprehensive services designed to help survivors navigate the complexities of their unique needs throughout our 17-county service area,” said Darlene Thomas, Executive Director for Greenhouse 17. “Thanks to VOCA we expanded housing, legal, shelter and counseling support services and were able to sustain and expand our Child Visitation and Exchange Centers. We are grateful to be in service to survivors.”
The fund is replenished each year through fines, forfeited bail bonds, penalties and special assessments collected from federal offenders by U.S. Attorneys’ offices, federal U.S. courts and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. No tax money supports the Crime Victim’s Fund.