FRANKFORT, Ky. (WHAS11) - There are victims of crime all over the Commonwealth, and a group close to the cause wants to help them heal. Attorney General Andy Beshear is working with the Survivors Council on a better response system from the state. On Wednesday morning they announced their plans for improvements at the state capitol.
The Attorney General's office created this group last year to assist and advise the state on all issues related to crime. Since it started, the 25-member council has worked on a report with nearly 60 recommendations to more than a dozen leaders and groups across Kentucky.
“They are the voice for the silenced, the fearful, and the brokenhearted,” Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said. “You have fought for yourselves, for your families, and now you’re fighting for all of those other survivors and those future survivors out there.”
The council members have experienced all sorts of crimes including shootings, sexual abuse, and domestic violence. Their work as a group is focused on increasing awareness of the lingering effects of crime and spreading compassion for its countless victims. The men and women said they want to make sure every publication, policy, and training is victim-centered, trauma-informed, and seeks the best outcomes. Some of the recommendations include continued funding for the council and its work, a victim advocate in every prosecutor’s office in the state, and full funding for victims services and prevention efforts.
"This is about people who have been made vulnerable, silenced, and traumatized. They deserve, at the least, to not be revictimized by a system due to inadequate funding, personnel, or training,” council member Meghan Wright said. “We seek justice for others, revolutionary change in Kentucky, and spreading a message of hope that healing is more than possible.”
"The work of our council and our Attorney General's office is critical to ensure these cycles of crime that contribute to the cycles of poverty, interrupted educational opportunities, and various forms of exploitation are addressed and ultimately eliminated,” council member Donna Pollard said.
The members said their work the past year has also helped them heal after their own experiences with violent crime.
Senate Bill 48 is also a part of the recommendations. It modifies the current laws regarding child marriage and establishes a minimum age for marriage and criteria for a judge to approve before it can happen. Since 2000, there have been nearly 11,000 cases of child marriage in Kentucky.