LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Gov. Andy Beshear signed a proclamation declaring October Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the Commonwealth on Monday.
Kentucky has one of the highest domestic violence rates in the United States, with 45.3% of women and 35.5% of men experiencing some form of intimate partner violence in their lifetimes, according to the state.
The governor joined victims' rights advocates at the state Capitol to sign the proclamation.
Beshear said it’s the responsibility of every Kentuckian to take a stand against violence.
“We cannot achieve our potential with our people being harmed every single day, and our morals, values, and faith ought to push us to create that better world where no one ever has to experience that type of fear, terror, harm, or even death,” Beshear said.
State leaders also recognized the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) system. It automatically notifies victims and their families when an offender is released from jail.
“This is vitally important, potentially life-saving information,” said Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Kerry Harvey.
“As a victim, you shouldn’t have to actively monitor the case of your perpetrator, of somebody that has harmed you. The amount of stress and trauma that can cause is avoidable,” Beshear said.
Pat and John Byron pushed for the creation of VINE after their daughter Mary was killed by her abuser in 1993. The family said they asked to be notified of the estranged boyfriend’s release from jail, but were never alerted.
“Our family has championed this system for 25 years and have always fought so that other victims can avoid the pain and suffering that our daughter and our family had to endure. No one should go through this, and VINE has made a difference not only in Kentucky but across our country,” said Pat Bryon.
In 2020, Kentucky VINE searches totaled over 2.1 million, and the total number of notifications was 322,899. Also, in the last year, there have been 74,682 new registrations.