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Deficits Found in Kentucky's Response to Domestic Violence

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Kentucky's domestic violence shelters report cuts in government funding as the primary reason survivors seeking help are sometimes turned away. (Pixabay)
Kentucky's domestic violence shelters report cuts in government funding as the primary reason survivors seeking help are sometimes turned away. (Pixabay)
May 22, 2017

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Despite the hard work of agencies and advocates, requests for help are not being heard for some survivors of domestic violence in Kentucky.

The National Census of Domestic Violence Services surveyed the state's 15 domestic violence shelters on Sept. 14, 2016, and found that while 1,100 adults and children received services, 47 people were turned away.

Katie French, communications coordinator for the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence, says, simply put, there are not always enough resources, but advocates at the shelters are doing what they can to help those in need.

"Programs, despite these deficits, are still providing the majority of victims of domestic violence the chance to heal from traumatic abuse and give them an opportunity of safety for them and for their children so they can move forward and live full and safe, healthy lives," she states.

According to the survey, 738 survivors received emergency shelter or transitional housing, and 368 others were assisted with other services such as counseling, legal advocacy, transportation or child care.

French says many programs are short on funds and staff, which impacts the ability to provide vital assistance.

"We've made tremendous strides in meeting needs of those who've been abused in the last 20 years especially gender-based violence, and we don't want to backtrack on that,” she says. “So while things have gotten a lot better, we still are not completely meeting needs of victims of violence."

The survey noted more than a dozen staff positions were eliminated from the state's domestic violence shelters last year, and programs cited cuts in government funding as the primary reason survivors seeking help are sometimes turned away.


Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - KY