Victim advocates are staff members of local agencies that provide free services to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, and stalking. Some advocates work in the criminal justice system and others work in community-based agencies.
Advocates are professionals trained to support victims of violence. They provide information and emotional support. Advocates explain the court process, make referrals for support services, and assist in determining the best options for you.
All advocates can:
- Provide information about the court process
- Help you understand what choices are available to you
- Provide information about and referrals to local agencies and resources
- Coordinate services with community agencies
- Help you in planning for your safety
- Accompany you to court
However, there are some differences in the services provided by advocates, determined largely by whether they work in a criminal justice agency or a community-based agency. These include differences in:
- Limits of confidentiality
- Who initiates contact
- When contact is initiated
- How long the advocate will work with you
When working with an advocate, please check with the advocate about the level of confidentiality he or she can provide.
VINE, which stands for Victim Information and Notification Everyday, is a free, automated service that helps victims stay informed through access to information related to court cases and offender custody status.
You can access VINE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
Vine can provide information about the status of your protective order and will notify you of upcoming court hearings and the expiration date of the order.
VINE can provide information about whether an offender is in jail or prison and will notify you if the offender is released, transferred, or escapes.
You can search for information on a specific criminal case (misdemeanor or felony) and register to be notified of upcoming court hearings or schedule changes in court dates.
NOTE: To receive notification you must register. You must register for each service (custody status, court information, and protective orders) separately.
IMPORTANT: VINE is not required to reach you in order for the offender to be released from custody. Once you have been notified of a release, transfer, or escape you may want to re-register to confirm you want to be notified of future releases, transfers, or escapes.
Some victims may stay with or return to an offender out of fear for the safety of a pet. However, you don’t have to choose between your safety and the safety of your pet.
GreenHouse17, which provides emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, and stalking, and their children, also accepts pets for residents of the shelter. To learn more, contact GreenHouse17 at 1 (800) 544-2022.
Ask a victim advocate about creating a safety plan. A safety plan helps identify risks and ways you can enhance safety. A good plan is personalized to your situation and considers different scenarios, such as when you are at work, when children are present when there is an argument and more.
Kentucky and Fayette County have additional protections for victims. Ask an advocate about the following and any additional programs and how they may assist in your situation.
- Address Confidentiality: the Secretary of State can keep your voter registration information private
- Emergency Financial Assistance: a few nonprofit agencies provide financial assistance to victims at risk of losing housing or having utilities shut off
- Lease Termination: a law enacted in July 2017 allows some victims to break a rental or lease agreement to move for safety reasons
- Safe Measures: a few programs provide items such as alarms, cameras, lock changes, etc. to help victims remain at home safely.
- Safety Escort: a police officer or Sheriff’s deputy may escort you or the offender when it is time to remove personal belonging from a shared residence
Fayette County offers a variety of services for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, and stalking. Many services are free of charge. Some of the primary services available in Lexington are listed below. For help in deciding which services are best suited to your needs and to identify services not listed, speak with a victim advocate.
ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES
Investigates all known or suspected incidents of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an adult as defined in KRS 209.020(4). Each report is considered for investigation or preventative services. Preventative services attempt to ensure safety and well-being while protecting their right to self-determination and due process. All adults are offered protective services and may refuse or accept services.
General adult services, which are voluntary, preventative services, are aimed at assisting an adult in attaining and functioning at their highest level of self-sufficiency and autonomy while remaining in the community. These services may be requested by an adult in need of services.
AMPERSAND SEXUAL VIOLENCE RESOURCE CENTER OF THE BLUEGRASS
Provides free and confidential services to victims of sexual violence and includes services to their families and friends. Ampersand has a 24-hour crisis hotline, provides crisis and individual counseling, medical and legal advocacy, education and awareness efforts.
Provides long-term residential substance abuse treatment and specialized support services to chemically dependent women admitted to Chrysalis House. Services for Chrysalis House clients include assessments, individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, case management, assistance with obtaining protective orders and filing criminal charges, safety planning, victim advocacy, community referrals, job readiness training, parenting classes, children’s services and community education.
CHILDREN’S LAW CENTER
Provides free civil legal assistance to child and adolescent victims and witnesses of domestic and sexual violence. Legal services include assistance in obtaining a protection order, whether petition filed by an adult on behalf of a minor or by a minor for him or herself; representation of children who will be called as witnesses during a protection order hearing; and civil legal advice to minor victims of family/ teen dating violence or sexual violence. These services are offered at no charge regardless of household income and is made possible by funding through the Victims of Crime Act.
LEXINGTON POLICE DEPARTMENT
It is the policy of the Lexington Police Department, and the overall goal of the department’s Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Unit to provide enforcement assistance to victims of domestic/dating violence and abuse as outlined by Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) and to maintain effective partnerships with community social services agencies dealing with domestic/dating violence incidents.
Each case will be assigned to a detective and/or victim advocate within the Domestic Violence Unit for follow-up investigation and services. This follow-up process includes gathering all relevant information pertaining to the latest incident as well as documentation concerning any and all previous abuse. A primary purpose of this follow-up is to explain the criminal justice process, describe options the victim has in regards to prosecution, and provide information about the community and social service agencies that can assist and support the victim.
FAYETTE COMMONWEALTH’S ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
Prosecutes all felony criminal matters of domestic violence. This office has crime victim assistance staff who help victims access appropriate community resources, keep victims informed as their cases proceed through the criminal justice system, provide accompaniment in court, assist in filing crime victim compensation forms, and help prepare Victim Impact Statements for Circuit Court.
FAYETTE COUNTY ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
Prosecutes all misdemeanor charges involving domestic violence. Our advocates help domestic violence victims navigate the court system, both criminal and civil. We can assist victims file emergency protective orders (EPOs/IPOs) and criminal charges, make referrals to community resources, explain the court process and possible outcomes, provide accompaniment to court, and help file crime victim compensation claims. The advocates act as a voice for the victims by keeping the prosecutor informed of the victim’s needs and expectations. They are also available to discuss court options for those who have not yet filed anything. Our mission is to hold offenders accountable while ensuring victim safety and do whatever we can to help the victim traverse the often confusing and overwhelming court system.
FAYETTE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
Amanda’s Center for Local Resources is a central information point that connects victims of domestic and intimate partner violence to services in the community. Amanda’s Center operates within the Office of the Fayette County Sheriff as a collaborative community response to family violence and gives victims access to resources they need to be safe. Amanda’s Center advocates work with victims face-to-face, guiding them through the legal process, answering questions, and referring victims to partner agencies. Amanda’s Center also offers counseling sessions with a grant-funded Licensed Clinical Social Worker. A Safety Planning Deputy is available to meet with victims in their homes and assist in the development of a safety plan to fit their individual needs and take photographs for evidence collection. The Safety Planning Officer changes locks and installs security equipment at the petitioner’s residence. A Court Order Monitoring Program is also available to oversee respondents’ compliance with Domestic Violence Orders (DVOs) or Interpersonal Protective Orders (IPOs).
The Office of the Sheriff is responsible for service of all domestic violence process including Emergency Protective Orders (EPO), Temporary Interpersonal Protective Orders (TIPO), Domestic Violence Orders (DVO), Domestic Violence Bench Warrants, Domestic Violence Summons, and Show Cause Orders in Fayette County and makes warrantless arrests in cases of violation of protective orders. The Office of Sheriff maintains all intimate partner violence documents in the Law Enforcement Network of Kentucky (LINK) and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), state and federal computer systems. LINK and NCIC make information regarding protective orders easily accessible to law enforcement throughout Kentucky and the United States. The Office of the Sheriff is the primary agency responsible for the confiscation of firearms pursuant to court order. These firearms remain in the custody of the Office of the Fayette County Sheriff until further orders of the court. Additionally, Deputy Sheriffs collect photographic evidence, execute Escort Orders, respond to domestic violence incidents, diffuse dangerous situations, and ensure the safety of each victim they encounter.
FRIEND OF THE COURT
Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government
120 North Limestone Street, 4th Floor
The Office of the Friend of the Court (FOC) is often ordered to perform custody and timesharing evaluations in custody cases. In cases involving domestic violence, stalking, child abuse, and sexual assault, Family Court Judges refer cases to a Domestic Violence Specialist for “DV Risk Assessments” to determine how child exchanges or supervised visits between the nonresidential parent and child(ren) can be safely provided.
The Office of Multicultural Affairs is located at GLOBAL LEX, an international center where local residents and our international population can obtain information, access programs and services, and connect with staff of local government and community service providers. Staff is fluent in various languages: Spanish, Arabic, French, Japanese, and German. Global Lex has access to telephone interpreter assistance in over 240 languages.
GreenHouse17 is an advocacy agency committed to ending intimate partner abuse in families and the community. The agency’s emergency shelter is situated on a 40-acre property in rural Fayette County. GreenHouse17 provides confidential, comprehensive services throughout the agency’s 17-county service area. The following services are provided to nurture lives harmed by intimate partner abuse: 24-hour crisis hotline, 32 bed emergency shelter, legal advocacy, transportation advocacy, medical advocacy, individual and group support, parenting support, children’s programming, case management, referrals, service coordination, limited emergency financial assistance, housing support, and financial literacy training. All services are offered free of charge.
GreenHouse17 operates supervised visitation and monitored exchange services in a supportive environment for children who cannot be alone with a non-custodial parent or if contact between parents needs to be prevented for safety reasons.
GreenHouse17 also operates a community-sponsored farm on its emergency shelter property. The farm offers a nature-based healing environment and a source of field-to-table produce for preparation of meals for shelter residents. Further, the farm offers survivors the opportunity to establish a current work reference and learn small-business management skills.
Health and Human Services Information
Provides callers with information regarding available resources for food, housing, health care, senior services, child care, legal aid, and more.
KENTUCKY CLAIMS COMMISSION
Formerly known as the Crime Victims Compensation Program, the Kentucky Claims Commission may be able to provide financial assistance to victims of crime who have suffered injuries. This may include compensation for lost wages, medical bills, or other expenses that are the result of the crime.
LEGAL AID OF THE BLUEGRASS
Legal Aid of the Bluegrass provides free civil legal assistance to survivors of domestic and sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking, regardless of income, as well as to other vulnerable populations such as the elderly, veterans, and those experiencing poverty. In addition to helping you obtain an Order of Protection, they can also assist with the following types of legal cases: divorce, custody, housing, employment, bankruptcy, consumer, public benefits, immigration, crime victim compensation, elder law, and issues impacting veterans. They have four offices which are located in Lexington, Covington, Morehead, and Ashland, Kentucky.
THE NEST: CENTER FOR WOMEN, CHILDREN & FAMILIES
The Nest provides individual and group counseling to English and Spanish-speaking survivors of domestic violence. Court advocacy and legal representation are also provided for survivors filing for protective orders. The Nest also provides free respite child care for children 5 years and younger, parenting classes, and Crisis Care items such as infant diapers and formula, toiletries, car seats, cleaning supplies, food, and children’s clothing. All services at The Nest are provided free of charge.
SANE (SEXUAL ASSAULT NURSE EXAMINER)
Lexington Police Department
150 East Main Street
Provides a comprehensive response to victims of sexual assault who are age 14 years and above. Individualized care is provided by a sexual assault response team (SART), which includes a sex crimes detective, a sexual assault nurse examiner, and a rape crisis advocate. There is no charge to victims for the forensic examinations, which are available at the University of Kentucky Hospital 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
UK TARGETED ASSESSMENT PROGRAM (TAP)
Provides free, individualized services to families with children who have open cases with the Cabinet to address barriers to safety and self-sufficiency including intimate partner violence victimization, substance use, learning difficulties, and/or mental health problems. Services available to domestic violence victims include comprehensive assessments, safety planning, and assistance obtaining orders of protection. TAP also provides resource information and referrals to other agencies for assistance with counseling, shelter, transportation, basic needs, housing, employment, and supportive services. To be eligible for TAP services, families must have low incomes and reside in Fayette County.
BLUEGRASS COMMUNITY & TECHNICAL COLLEGE (COOPER, LEESTOWN, & NEWTOWN CAMPUSES)
UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY
Responds to reported incidents of dating, domestic, or sexual violence on campus.
NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE
Responds to calls 24/7, 365 days a year. Online chat available. Advocates provide free, confidential, one-on-one support for crisis intervention, information, and referrals.
NATIONAL SEXUAL ASSAULT HOTLINE (RAINN)
Responds to calls 24/7. Online chat available. Connects you with a trained sexual assault provider in your area. Provides free and confidential support for crisis intervention, information, and referrals.
NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE
Responds to calls 24/7. Online chat available. Provides free, confidential emotional support for people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress and prevention and crisis resources.
NATIONAL TEEN DATING ABUSE HELPLINE: LOVEISRESPECT
Responds to calls 24/7. 365 days a year. Online chat available. Offers free and confidential education, support, and advocacy to teens and young adults, as well as their concerned friends and family members.