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Kentucky’s New Data Collection Law will Track and Report Statewide Domestic Violence Homicides and DV-related Crimes

Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence

KCADV's mission is to end domestic violence in Kentucky.

Kentucky did not previously require and regulate statewide collection and reporting of domestic violence crimes

FRANKFORT, KY, USA, May 6, 2022 / -- The Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence (KCADV) celebrates the passage and adoption of SB271, the state’s first data collection law to robustly capture and report critical data related to domestic violence crimes in Kentucky.

Sponsored by Senator Whitney Westerfield, the law outlines a coordinated data collection process among key state agencies that will result in a published annual report.

Prior to April 20, 2022, when Governor Beshear signed SB271 into law, Kentucky was one of a few states which did not have any formal requirement to compile and share statewide DV-related data, resulting in challenging gaps of information that service providers and lawmakers need to better serve survivors.

“Without reliable access to timely reporting of statewide domestic violence data, we have been missing key pieces of the story of domestic violence in Kentucky,” says Angela Yannelli, CEO of KCADV.

Until now, KCADV’s most reliable data source has been its member programs—15 regional domestic violence shelters that collect and report data—but KCADV’s internal reports are limited in scope to the number of survivors provided with shelter and the number of supportive services rendered, such as crisis intervention, legal advocacy services, and counseling and support groups.

The new law expands the sources of coordinated statewide data gathering to include the Kentucky State Police, Administrative Office of the Courts, State Medical Examiner’s Office, and State Coroners’ Office and directs the Criminal Justice Analysis Center to compile and publish an annual report.

“The importance of gathering information on domestic violence homicides, in particular, through a coordinated statewide effort is important not only because it will give a more accurate and complete report of the crime of domestic violence,” says Yannelli, “but also because it allows the community to speak the names of those who lost their lives and left family and often young children behind.”

For years, KCADV was forced to rely on accounts of homicides in the media and through information gathered from local domestic violence shelters to develop its annual Speak My Name listing of victims who lost their lives to domestic violence each year.

“Capturing this data is just one part of a coordinated response to ending domestic violence, especially since we know that domestic violence is underreported,” says Yannelli. “We must be able to apply best practices and primary prevention strategies if we truly want to make a Violence Free Kentucky."

Candace Chaney
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