Lexington, KY – Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has announced the allocation of some five and a half million dollars in federal grants to agencies that support programs for victims of violence. The money comes from the federal Victims of Crime Act, which relies on criminal fines, forfeitures, and assessments instead of taxpayer dollars. Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center Executive Director Rhonda Henry says the half million dollar grant it recently received is a literal lifeline.
"This money is what funds our direct services. For us to be able to hire qualified staff who can work directly with victims of sexual violence, we have to be able to pay for the staff and the offices. We have eight offices altogether in Central Kentucky and this money fully funds seven of those that are out in our rural counties. There's just no way we could provide the service at the level we do without this funding."
Henry says she sees a direct correlation between the increase in need for such services, and the social consequences of the economic downturn.
"Everything that we provide is free and confidential and we've certainly seen that need increase over the last year or two as folks have felt the pinch financially and have not been able to go out and seek services that they might be able to afford, like private counseling."