Attorney General Andy Beshear created a special panel Monday to help victims of violent crime.
At a news conference in the Capitol Rotunda, Beshear said the Survivors Council will advise and assist his office on “matters related to victims of crime, including advancing victim-centered services, trainings and policy and raising awareness.”
He was joined by 27 violent crime survivors who will serve on the council.
“These survivors have persevered through the unimaginable. They have real courage and know firsthand what is needed to seek and ensure justice for victims,” Beshear said. “I am thankful to each member for their willingness to devote their time and passion to help pave a better way for other survivors.”
The council will be housed in Beshear’s Office of Victims Advocacy. He said the council’s work will be woven into current office initiatives, including the Victim Assistance Conference, Victims’ Rights Day and regular training of law enforcement and prosecutors.
“Being victim-centered means that survivors have a seat at the table, not simply to share their story of victimization, but to share their wisdom and insight on how to make the process better for other victims,” said Gretchen Hut, director of the Office of Victims Advocacy.
The members were selected after an open nomination and application process. They will meet quarterly and can serve two-year terms.
Beshear said Monday’s announcement comes after a year of progress on one of his office’s core missions of seeking justice for victims of sexual assault, human trafficking, violent crime and child abuse.
In 2016, Beshear helped reduce a backlog of more than 3,000 untested sexual assault examination kits by providing $4.5 million in settlement money to lawmakers for upgrades at the Kentucky State Police crime lab.
Recently, Beshear announced that his office is launching a collaborative research project with the University of Louisville to provide accountability in Kentucky’s efforts to address the backlog and provide justice to victims.
Members of the Survivors Council
Tammy Lynn Quetot
Dontoe Tomei Jr.
Jennifer Lynn Williams