The Office of the Attorney General embraces its mission to seek justice for victims. Through investigations, prosecutions and direct services to victims, the office seeks to be an advocate for the rights of victims.
Ending Kentucky's Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence (SAFE) Kit Backlog
To help ensure justice and healing for Kentucky's crime victims, Beshear provided $4.5 million in settlement money to fund the requested crime lab upgrades to "ensure Kentucky never has a rape kit backlog ever again." The office provided an additional $1 million from the settlement to aid law enforcement and prosecutors in the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault cases. The Attorney General's office partnered to hold a summit to support individuals
working to end Kentucky's SAFE kit backlog and issued a
tool kit to support Kentucky's law enforcement community in investigating and prosecuting the results of sexual assault forensic exam kits. The office is now conducting statewide trainings on backlog cases. The office is also partnering with the University of Louisville to provide accountability in Kentucky’s efforts to address sexual assault. The Kentucky SAFE Kit Backlog Research Project with the University of Louisville’s Department of Criminal Justice will provide valuable data to ensure a rape kit backlog never happens again. Most recently, in Oct. 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice has awarded a nearly $3 million National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) grant to the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office to seek justice for victims of sexual assault. As a result, Beshear’s office will establish a sexual assault cold case unit comprised of a victim advocate, investigator, prosecutor and a SAKI coordinator. The unit will focus on investigating and prosecuting sexual assaults while providing key services to victims during the cold case process. Additionally the grant will allow the AG to fund an extra Kentucky State Police (KSP) cold case unit sexual assault detectives.
In 2017, Beshear and his Office of Victims Advocacy, announced the formation of a 27 member
Survivors Council. The inaugural members of the Survivor's Council include survivors of different crimes from across the Commonwealth, including individuals who have survived the violent death of a family member, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, domestic violence, gun violence and other violent crimes. The members directly advise and assist the Office of Attorney General on matters related to victims of crime, including training, awareness and policy initiatives.
Through the VINE system, which stands for Victim Information and Notification Everyday. Crime victims can recieve and access critical information through a computer system designed to provide details about inmates housed in local jails and adult correctional facilities as well as certain juvenile offenders. This information can be accessed 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Kentucky is the first state in the nation to provide an automated, statewide victims notification system. Visit our VINE webpage to learn more about the system and how to sign up.
Combating Sexual Assault on College Campuses
Beshear's office also works with the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs to support campus sexual assault awareness and prevention efforts across the Commonwealth. Beshear and his legal team are also working to bring transparency to the reporting of sexual assault on college campuses. Prevention and prosecution of campus sexual assault is a critical mission of the office. With the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs, the office hosted video contests for college students to increase awareness of campus sexual assault.
Fighting Human Trafficking
The Office of the Attorney General has established itself as the leading agency in Kentucky's fight against human trafficking, a modern-day form of slavery in which adults and children are forced into sex or labor services. Human trafficking victims are often the most marginalized in society – victims of abuse and violence, runaways, refugees, immigrants or those who are homeless. The Office of Child Abuse and Human Trafficking Prevention and Prosecution is working on multiple human trafficking cases and has assisted local law enforcement with resources in an effort to resolve nearly a hundred other human trafficking complaints. The office offers training to organizations throughout the Commonwealth and has trained more than 9,000 individuals statewide, while forging partnerships with the trucking and hospitality industries and the Baptist Convention.