2020 Violence Against Women Act Needs Assessment

The Administrative Office of the Courts is pleased to present the 2020 Violence Against Women Act Statewide Needs Assessment: Findings & Recommendations Report for the Kentucky Court of Justice. We appreciate the 2020 VAWA grant that funded this yearlong project.

In Kentucky, 36% of men and 45% of women have experienced violence by an intimate partner. Domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence and stalking cases have a significant and negative physical and psychological effect on individuals, families and children.

These complex cases require careful consideration by the courts, which are in a unique position to help victims be heard and gain access to justice.

This report assesses the readiness of Kentucky courts to meet the needs of victims. It also examines barriers that prevent survivors and their families from accessing support services.

While this project did not identify how local courts and communities have effectively addressed domestic and interpersonal violence since the last VAWA needs assessment in 2012, several jurisdictions are already carrying out initiatives that can be shared and used as templates statewide.

Nevertheless, the 2020 needs assessment report confirms that there are opportunities for improvement across the board. Whether it be to enhance training efforts, address language access gaps, implement robust safety measures or improve offender accountability, these recommendations can be adapted and tailored to fit the needs, priorities and resources of local jurisdictions. 

And while these recommendations are by no means an exhaustive list, they do provide a strong starting point for courts and communities to be more proactive and intentional about providing a trauma-informed and culturally inclusive response to victims and survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence and stalking.

We plan to use these findings to educate judges, circuit court clerks and court personnel on best practices in domestic and interpersonal violence cases. We also plan to promote a coordinated statewide response to help courts and communities work together to address the barriers that dissuade victims from seeking help through the court system.

This report was compiled by the AOC’s Department of Family & Juvenile Services, which will offer resources to those who want to implement these recommendations. The AOC appreciates everything you already do to support victims and their families. Together we can continue to make a positive difference.​