HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) – At the state Capitol today, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear and First Lady Britainy Beshear were joined by survivors and advocates to proclaim October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the Commonwealth.

They were joined by Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman, ZeroV CEO Angela Yannelli, OASIS Executive Director Andrea Robinson and State Senator Whitney Westerfield of Fruit Hill for the signing of the proclamation. Governor Beshear also announced the awarding of a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to Kentucky to further help law enforcement in bringing justice to victims of sexual assault. This year’s funding is the second-largest award from the department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance in Kentucky history.

The new grant will allow the Kentucky State Police’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) team to expand its work by hiring additional personnel dedicated to testing sexual assault kits and improving data collection to better identify predators.

“This month, and every month, let’s lead with the strength and bravery survivors show daily and take intentional steps to end domestic violence in Kentucky,” said Governor Beshear. “From providing survivors and their families with the resources they need to rebuild their lives to tackling the root issues of violence in our communities, I am going to keep fighting for the inches that become the miles of progress until we reach our goal of building a safer Kentucky.”

The First Lady thanked the survivors in attendance for their courage and recognized that in Kentucky, more than 45% of women and 35% of men experience intimate partner violence in their lifetimes.

“As First Lady, and as a mom to two great kids, one of my primary goals is to make our commonwealth a safer place for all our families,” Mrs. Beshear said. “I am proud to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month by honoring our survivors, raising awareness and showing appreciation for the dedicated Kentuckians working hard to end domestic violence in Kentucky.”

The Beshear-Coleman administration has awarded more than $131 million in grant funding to victim service agencies across the Commonwealth, which have provided services to roughly 258,000 Kentuckians.

Kentucky’s domestic violence programs and shelters are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are safe for survivors and their families to receive emergency shelter and support. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence and needs assistance, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE or the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence at (502) 695-5382.