By Leeann Akers - Editor
April 23, 2014 — The organization formerly known as the Northeast Kentucky Parents of Murdered Children has changed its name to Kentucky Voices for Victims of Crime.
The group will hold a memorial conference for all crime victims on Monday, April 28, at 6:30 p.m. at the New Beginnings Assembly of God Church in Grayson.
The conference will celebrate National Crime Victims' week.
“We were limited because we couldn't lobby and there were things with POMC we weren't allowed to do,” said organization spokesperson Anne Bauers. “We felt, as an organization, that we were limited. This change allows us to reach out to other victims of crime.”
The keynote speaker for the program will be Gerina Whethers, executive director of Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway’s Office of Victims Advocacy. Brandon Ison, commonwealth’s attorney for Carter, Elliott and Morgan counties, also will provide comments.
Carter Family Court Judge David Flatt will be the master of ceremonies. Music will be provided by Debbie Leonhart and John Stevens. Mark Griffith will share a devotion.
In her role as director of the state Office of Victims Advocacy, Whethers oversees an agency that provides appellate and referral resources and other services to thousands of crime victims in the commonwealth.
She also chairs by proxy the Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention Board and works on the annual Victims Assistance Conference, which provides training for hundreds every year.
Whethers previously worked as an assistant county attorney in the Domestic Violence Sexual Assault unit of the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office, where she prosecuted cases of child sexual and physical abuse, domestic violence and elder abuse. She also prosecuted cases in the county attorney’s Felony/Misdemeanor Division, specializing in the fugitive warrant area.
Whethers also served as a staff attorney in Jefferson Circuit Court, performing extensive research and authoring hundreds of legal opinions, and as a trial commissioner in Jefferson District Court. Prior to beginning her legal career, she served as assistant dean of admissions at Bellarmine University.
Bauers said the event will be a new chapter, but with the same core group of supporters.
KVCV is a non-profit organization that was formed to not only give grieving families a place to go, but to also provide advocacy services to those who are left behind searching for answers.
Their mission, according to the group's Facebook page, is to honor the memory of those who died tragically and prematurely; to provide a place of comfort and quiet reflection for victims' loved ones and to heighten public awareness of the increasing number of victims and surviving loved-ones who carry the burden of violent crime.
Leeann Akers can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at 474-5101.