Frankfort, KY – Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown has announced that the cabinet awarded more than $7.9 million in grants to crime victim groups in 2012. The money was allocated through the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
The grants include 65 VOCA projects, totaling $5.6 million, which were funded statewide to provide crisis intervention, advocacy, counseling, shelter and other assistance to victims of violent crime.
“Our goal is to help as many crime victims as we can, as broadly as we can,” Brown said. “We are reaching out to victims, to help them get their life back in order.”
Among federal grant programs, VOCA is unique in that it relies on criminal fines, forfeitures and assessments instead of tax dollars to support victim services.
In addition, the cabinet funded 43 VAWA projects totaling $2.3 million to specifically assist adult victims of domestic and sexual violence. “We are pleased to be able to help communities across the Commonwealth address the unique needs of domestic violence and sexual assault victims,” Brown added. “Even with vigorous enforcement against perpetrators, victims of domestic violence and sexual assault may have many related legal, economic and social issues that these funds help address by providing shelter, support and other vital services.”
Eligible agencies include law enforcement, prosecution, service programs and courts; services include therapy, group counseling, court advocacy, legal advocacy and follow up.
Award decisions were particularly difficult due to recent reductions in federal funds, according to Tanya Dickinson, Grants Branch Manager for the Justice Cabinet. In order to maintain ongoing program services the cabinet had to supplement FY 2012 funds with de-obligated, old year federal grant funds, Dickinson said. She added that, if federal funding awards continue to decline, next year’s funding cycles will be particularly difficult and may result in additional reductions to vital programs.