The Kentucky Justice Cabinet will distribute $2 million to organizations across the state to support survivors of domestic and dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault.
The funds come through the federal Violence Against Women Act’s Services, Training, Officers and Prosecution program, or STOP,which dictates 50 percent of the grant must go toward law enforcement and prosecutors, 30 percent toward victim services, and 5 percent toward state and local courts, with the other 15 percent left to the state’s discretion.
Director of the purchase area’s domestic violence program Merryman House, Mary Foley, says funding from from local, state, and federal governments, which constitutes the majority of the program's budget, has dropped significantly in the last two years.
“Those that have been answering this charge for years and years have been saying for years and years that the demand for services is greater often times than what service providers are able to accommodate,” Foley said.
Last year the network of domestic violence programs across the state sheltered over 4,150 victims of the crime, 99 percent of whom were women and children, but were unable to shelter 3,000 more. Foley says money that goes to law enforcement or legal aid for domestic violence boosts the Merryman House’s work by making victim services more accessible to their clients.