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NKY Agencies Receive Part of $37.9 Million in Victim Advocacy Grants

The Commonwealth of Kentucky awarded $37.9 million in federal grants to support crisis intervention services for victims of crime, Governor Matt Bevin's office announced.

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.

“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 Bevin. “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.

Local programs receiving grant funds include:

Boone County CASA $49,708

Brighton Center $79,010

Campbell County Attorney's Office $78,614

CASA for Kids of Kenton and Campbell Cos. Inc. $103,919

Children's Law Center 169,875

Holly Hill Child and Family Solutions $71,987

Legal Aid of the Bluegrass (which has an office in Covington) $767,543

Northern Kentucky Children's Advocacy Center $381,151

St. Elizabeth Medical Center $110,917

Welcome House $221,273

Women's Crisis Center $1,515,059

-Staff report