Leading the change on issues affecting survivors
Through our network of 15 regional domestic violence shelters, we provide state-mandated services including 24/7 emergency shelter and crisis line, counseling, legal advocacy, safety planning, transportation, community education, and housing and financial support to help survivors and their families live in safety and independently from their abusive partner.
Even with the additional funds provided in 2022 and 2023, ZeroV programs still experienced 1,258 unmet requests for shelter (FY23) due to limitations in program shelter capacity and staffing. 34% of Kentucky women, and 14% of Kentucky men, experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking with an intimate partner-related impact (IPV-Impact) in their lifetimes.
All the work we do is prevention work. Serving children, alleviating the impact of poverty, reducing homelessness, and pushing back against discrimination will lead to a Kentucky free from violence. State general funds are a critical part of this work.
ZeroV is the statewide voice on ending intimate partner violence.
Legislative Agenda 2023
2024-2026 Budget Requests for Increased Funding to support the work of the Coalition and its 15 regional Domestic Violence Shelter Programs.
LIVING WAGES & COMPETITIVE BENEFITS:
The Reality: Our programs are still unable to retain qualified, skilled advocates to provide essential and specialized services. Advocates are essential workers that provide crisis intervention, counseling, case management, court accompaniment, housing referrals, and safety planning to survivors experiencing a breadth of issues beyond their trauma of domestic violence including homelessness, poverty, mental health, and substance use issues.
The Solution: A sustainable living wage and competitive benefits such as health, dental, and vision insurance for staff is critical for recruitment and retention of skilled advocates.
CHILDREN SERVICES & SUPPORT:
The Reality: In FY23, crisis intervention services for children increased 88.5% with 869 more children receiving this service compared to FY22 and victim advocacy services for children increased 36% with 302 more children receiving this service in FY23 compared to FY22. In addition, survivors who are parenting need help with childcare so they can find and maintain employment or education, or attend court. Program staff often struggle to find affordable, quality childcare as well.
The Solution: Children exposed to IPV need services, and we have seen a significant jump in that need over the past year. Ideally, ZeroV member programs would have on-site childcare centers, with staff having early childhood education or development training, serving both survivors and staff.
SERVICES TO SUPPORT SURVIVORS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE EXPERIENCING MENTAL HEALTH & SUBSTANCE USE ISSUES:
The Reality: People who struggle with mental health (MH) conditions and substance abuse disorder (SUD) are at a higher risk of victimization by an abusive partner which often leads to homelessness. Due to a lack of accessible resources to treat MH conditions and SUD, a domestic violence shelter is often the only place these extremely vulnerable people have to turn to for help.
The Solution: Our programs need specialized professionals to meet the growing demand of shelter residents who have Mental Health Conditions and Substance Use Disorders.
INCREASE ACCESS TO SHELTER & SUPPORTIVE SERVICES:
The Reality: ZeroV Member Programs sheltered 4,242 survivors and children, for a total of 154,601 bed nights in FY22. The number of nights survivors spent in shelter has increased 13% from last year. Additionally, in 2022, ZeroV programs had 1,285 unmet requests for shelter. Our programs are operating at full capacity and are unable to meet all the requests for shelter.
The Solution: Survivors consistently report a lack of transportation as one of the most significant barriers to safety. ZeroV programs need more resources to provide survivors with transportation to and from jobs, schools, medical appointments and court. Funding is also needed to expand and renovate facilities to provide safe, accessible shelters to as many families as possible.
Our Policy Positions
ZeroV holds the following positions on issues that intersect with our work to address and end intimate partner violence.
ZeroV is committed to federal and state efforts to protect domestic violence survivors and their children from gun violence including legislation to prevent future tragedies from occurring while preserving the lawful use of firearms for sport and personal protection.
ZeroV is committed to expanding its knowledge of promising alternatives to the criminal justice system, including but not limited to restorative justice practices, and transformative justice initiatives, in order to promote processes that truly seek to address violence without causing more harm. We acknowledge that restorative justice, transformative justice, and related practices were developed in indigenous spaces and we are grateful for indigenous leadership in this area.
ZeroV supports the right to bodily autonomy, the right to live free of reproductive coercion, and the right to reliably access quality reproductive healthcare, especially for the most marginalized and vulnerable people in our Commonwealth.
Like physical or emotional abuse, poverty itself is a form of violence. It literally makes people sick, shortening lives, causing poor health outcomes, and increasing medical costs. It also undermines people’s dignity, restricts their opportunities to provide for their families as well as their ability to heal and thrive. Poverty is preventable. Having access to resources, including money, is essential for both preventing abuse and for survivors as they endeavor to build violence free lives. ZeroV is committed to both engaging in systems change work and supporting survivors to create conditions to heal, recover, and ultimately thrive.
ZeroV seeks to create a third pathway to nonviolence that will complement services to survivors and the criminal court response. That pathway is called the Education, Accountability, and Change Program which will build upon current batterer intervention programming but that invests in addressing and improving the life circumstances for someone using violence. This means that families, children, those who do harm, and the communities they live in will be healthier and safer.
Like all people, survivors of domestic violence have multiple identities, shaped and influenced by their ancestry, biology, life experiences, culture, family, community, historic institutions and systems, and social relations. Different combinations of these identities produce their own oppressions. For example, “the intersection of racism and sexism factors into Black women’s lives in ways that cannot be captured wholly by looking at race or gender dimensions of those experiences separately.” We cannot address domestic violence without addressing all other forms of intersectional oppression.
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