KRS 209A: Professional Referral Information

Per revised KRS 209A effective June 29, 2017, professionals in health care, school, faith, law enforcement, social services, and other sectors are required to provide resources and referrals for suspected Kentucky victims of domestic violence. The professional requirement to inform and refer victims, outlined in HB 309, replaces the previous “Mandatory Reporting” law.

What does the law require?
If a professional has reasonable cause to believe that a victim with whom he or she has had a professional interaction has experienced domestic violence and abuse or dating violence and abuse, the professional shall provide the victim with educational materials related to domestic violence and abuse or dating violence and abuse including information about how he or she may access regional domestic violence programs or rape crisis centers and information about how to access protective orders.

What information should professionals provide?
Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence (KCADV) has created a brochure that meets the new KRS 209A referral and education requirements. The pdf of this brochure is available at the link below. Please note the document should be printed on legal-sized paper in landscape orientation.

Click here to open and download the KRS 209A brochure.

What professions are included?
The following list includes examples of professionals included in KRS 209A: Physician, osteopathic physician, coroner, medical examiner, medical resident, medical intern, chiropractor, nurse, dentist, optometrist, emergency medical technician, paramedic, licensed mental health professional, therapist, CHFS employee, child care personnel, teacher, school personnel, ordained minister or denominational equivalent, victim advocate or organization/agency employing any such professional.

What are the definitions of victim and abuse?
A victim of domestic violence is defined as any individual who is or has been abused by a spouse, former spouse, or intimate partner with whom they live or have lived, or have a child in common. A victim of dating violence is defined as any individual who is or has been abused by a dating partner (dating relationship is defined as one of a romantic or intimate nature).

Abuse is defined a physical injury, serious physical injury, stalking, sexual abuse, or assault or the infliction of fear of imminent physical injury, serious physical injury, sexual abuse or assault.

What about child abuse?
Changes to KRS 209A do NOT affect mandatory reporting of child abuse/neglect or vulnerable adult abuse/neglect/exploitation. Per various other Kentucky statutes, any person having reasonable cause to suspect child or vulnerable adult abuse shall immediately report orally or in writing to local law enforcement, KSP, CHFS, Commonwealth Attorney, or County Attorney.

What other resources are available for professionals?
KCADV has prepared a slide presentation about the transition from Mandatory Reporting to Professional Referral and Education. These slides explain the reasoning for the change and include examples of how professionals can fulfill the legal requirement:

Click here to view and download the slide presentation 

Additional resources, including a schedule of training opportunities, are available from the KCADV website:

Click here to be redirected to the KCADV KRS 209A resource page.

Who supported the change in law?

  • Sen. Ralph Alvarado – Clark, Fayette and Montgomery counties (sponsor)
  • Rep. Melinda Prunty – Hopkins and Muhlenburg Counties (sponsor)
  • Cabinet for Health & Family Services’ Department for Community-Based Services
  • Children’s Alliance
  • Homeless & Housing Coalition of Kentucky
  • Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs
  • Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • Kentucky Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Midwives
  • Kentucky Commonwealth Attorneys Association
  • Kentucky County Attorneys Association
  • Kentucky Equal Justice Center
  • Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet
  • Kentucky Medical Association
  • Kentucky Mental Health Coalition
  • Kentucky Psychological Association
  • Kentucky Voices for Health
  • Kentucky Youth Advocates
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness Kentucky
  • Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky