Gov. Matt Bevin and Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley announced Thursday that grant money to help victims of violent crime is more than doubling this year – all thanks to an aggressive effort to capture federal funding and pair grants with Kentucky organizations. This includes funding for an organization in Corbin and another in Williamsburg.
In total, the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet is awarding more than $14 million in grants to programs that aid crime victims, including rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters and child advocacy centers. That’s a 127 percent increase over the $6.2 million given out last year.
The funds are awarded to Kentucky under the federal Victims of Crime Act – known as VOCA – which supports public agencies and non-profit programs that provide direct services to victims. Services include crisis intervention and follow-up, therapy, group counseling, information and referral, court advocacy, and assistance with victim compensation claims, among many others.
The Cumberland River Comprehensive Care Center in Corbin received a $75,000 grant, and the Williamsburg Police Department received a $55,027 grant.
Other local agencies also received grant money.
The Knox County Attorney’s Office in Barbourville received a $65,382 grant, and the Laurel County Attorney’s Office in London received a $67,249 grant.
In addition, Cumberland Valley Children’s Advocacy Center in London received a $280,000 grant, and Cumberland Valley Domestic Violence Services Inc. received a $200,000 grant.
“In the prior year a significant portion of Kentucky’s Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding was withheld from the very crime victims for whom it was designed,” said Gov. Bevin. “I am grateful for the diligent efforts of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet in securing these federal VOCA grants. By capturing more than double the funds from prior years, Kentucky is better able to support organizations that assist victims of crime.”
Secretary Tilley also praised the cabinet’s Grants Management Branch for seizing the opportunity to help victims.
“Our grants team has worked tirelessly to catch every available dollar and bring this vital funding back to Kentucky for the benefit of crime victims,” Tilley said. “These victims are coping with appalling hardships, and they deserve nothing short of our best effort to provide care and resources.”
Funding for VOCA is generated through fines and restitution paid into the court system. In 2014, the federal Office of Justice Programs lifted an artificial cap on the amount of money available to states to give out in the form of grants; however, Kentucky declined to release the money in 2015.
Under the leadership of Secretary Tilley, who took office in December, the cabinet has taken a more ambitious approach this year. Not only has funding significantly increased for most of last year’s grant recipients, the number of grantees has also expanded from 77 to 94. This higher level of funding is expected to be available until at least 2020.
A full list of the grant recipients is attached. It includes rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, children’s advocacy centers, court-appointed special advocates, legal aid organizations, new prosecutor-based programs, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, an elder abuse program, therapy services, and police-based advocacy groups who work with victims.
In addition, the Grants Management Branch expects to issue a request for proposals in February in hopes of providing grants to new agencies that did not apply this year, such as programs providing respite care or services to the elderly, services to victims with developmental disabilities, and other underserved victims.