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Beshear recognizes October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 5:27 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2021 at 10:08 AM CDT
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KENTUCKY (WFIE) - Governor Beshear joined advocates at the state Capitol to proclaim October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Kentucky, where he urged Kentuckians to speak out and take a stand against the crime.

The Governor said it is unacceptable that in Kentucky more than 45% of women and 35% of men experience intimate partner physical violence or rape in their lifetimes.

Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Kerry Harvey joined the Governor and Pat Byron, whose daughter’s murder in 1993 caused her and her late husband, John, to fight tirelessly for a system that would notify victims when their offender is released from jail.

Pat and John’s daughter, Mary, was killed by her estranged boyfriend, who she thought was still in jail on charges of raping, assaulting and stalking her. Mary’s parents had requested to be notified upon the offender’s release from jail, but that notification never came.

The Governor thanked Pat for her work that led to the creation of Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) 25 years ago. VINE is a free and automatic notification for victims that provides timely custody status updates via email, phone call and text messages.

In 2020, Kentucky VINE searches totaled over 2.1 million and the total number of notifications was 322,899. Additionally, in the last year, there have been 74,682 new registrations.

Secretary Harvey also announced significant enhancements to VINE, made possible through a federal grant awarded last year. New features include a voice search option, enhanced security, a personalized watch list and a zip code and county provider search feature.

Since taking office, Gov. Beshear said he has awarded more than $60 million in grant funding to victim service agencies across the commonwealth that works to prevent future acts of intimate partner violence and ensure the safety of survivors, while also providing victims access to and choice of domestic violence shelters and resources.

Kentucky State Police also provides a Victim Advocate Support Services program, which connects victims with an advocate to help them find needed services and legal support. Kentuckians can contact a local KSP post to obtain assistance through the victim advocate program.

State officials say Kentucky’s domestic violence programs and shelters are OPEN 24/7 and are safe for survivors and their families to receive emergency shelter and supportive services.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence and needs assistance, please reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, by calling 1-800-799-SAFE, or visiting KCADV.org.

You can watch Beshear’s full new conference here.

In our area, Oasis in Owensboro will be hosting a candlelight vigil for those who lost their lives to domestic violence.

Officials say they’ll also celebrate the survivors and bring awareness to the community.

This will be at Smothers Park from 5 to 7 on Thursday.

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