Kentucky has received a record $37.9 million in federal grants to support crisis intervention services for victims of crime, and over $1.1 million of that funding is going to local organizations.
In total, 135 Kentucky programs have received funding this year through the federal Victims of Crime Act grant program, known as VOCA. The awards mark a 50 percent increase over the amount provided in 2018 and a 511 percent increase compared to 2015.
VOCA funding originates from the federal Crime Victims Fund, which collects funds from criminal fines, forfeitures, special assessments, and gifts or donations and is not reliant on taxpayer money. The grants support programs that provide direct services to victims, including crisis counseling, shelter, therapy and support, and advocacy in the criminal justice system among other efforts.
The Williamsburg Police Department’s Victim’s Advocate Program received $65,000 in funding.
Cumberland River Behavioral Health received $272,492, which will go towards hiring an additional educator and employing four therapists.
The Cumberland Valley Children’s Advocacy Center in London received $398,256.
Cumberland Valley Domestic Violence Services Inc. in London received $197,087.
The Knox County Fiscal Court received $47,532.
The Laurel County Attorney’s Office received $95,580.
CASA of Knox and Laurel Counties received $58,881.
“We are blessed to have a strong, committed network of victim advocacy programs and providers who are willing to step up and support Kentuckians in times of hardship and crisis,” said Gov. Matt Bevin, who announced the awards during an Oct. 30 ceremony with members of the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet and victims advocates from across the state.
“VOCA grants are one way that the state can come alongside these groups and assist them with the resources they need to carry out their important work. I am grateful to the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet for their work to leverage federal dollars to assist additional groups, and I applaud each grant recipient for all they do to help their fellow Kentuckians. They truly embody what it means when we say ‘We are Kentucky.’”
VOCA dollars are available through the Office for Victims of Crime in the U.S. Department of Justice. The Kentucky Justice Cabinet’s Grants Management Division administers the grant awards for the Commonwealth and has worked aggressively in recent years to capture additional VOCA funding to match with programs.
Grants experts have focused on expanding services for underserved populations and rural areas, increasing technical assistance to participating programs, and responding to emergency needs, such as mass violence.
“These programs are a mission field for advocates, and often the only resource and comfort for those in a time of crisis,” said Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley. “Our grants team has done tremendous work to optimize the VOCA awards, and I’m especially thankful for the tireless sacrifices of our advocacy community who put in the long hours to assist victims through some of the worst experiences of their lives.”
The current grant cycle includes 14 child advocacy centers, 16 domestic violence shelters, 13 rape crisis centers, eight law enforcement-based programs, 34 prosecutor-based programs, six legal aid programs and 20 court appointed special advocates programs.
In addition, 30 awards will benefit community-based services, state and local government programs, sexual assault nurse examiners, pediatric forensic services, and statewide coalitions.
Programs must demonstrate a history of effective services, organizational and fiscal capacity, and a commitment to continued training and collaborative efforts to qualify.