Shelter helps survivors transition from crisis stage to independent living
Richmond, Va. (Jan. 30, 2018) – Safe Harbor and Bon Secours Richmond Health System together announce the establishment of a second human trafficking shelter to serve the Central Virginia area. The shelter will provide transitional housing and services for survivors and is the latest service addition to Safe Harbor’s human trafficking program. This will be the region’s first dedicated shelter of its kind to provide transitional shelter, counseling and case management in a single location to adult female human trafficking victims.
Residents of the six-bed transition shelter, donated by Bon Secours, will already have succeeded in addressing immediate emotional support needs during the crisis stage through the Safe Harbor’s emergency shelter, which opened in January 2017. The primary goal of the transition shelter is to provide victims with a place to live while they learn life skills, secure employment and gain an education while also focusing on the next stage of their counseling program.
“Bon Secours and Safe Harbor recognize the specialized needs of survivors of human trafficking,” said Toni R. Ardabell, CEO of Bon Secours Virginia Health System. “Survivors are still vulnerable, even after the emergency stage. Donating this shelter is one of the many ways Bon Secours is actively working to end human trafficking and to support its victims in their courageous effort to rebuild their lives.”
Safe Harbor received a two-year grant of $500,000 per year from the Department of Criminal Justice Services VOCA New Initiative Victim Assistance Grant Program to establish both the emergency and transitional human trafficking shelters. The grant funds victim services staffing, essential equipment and supplies for the shelters. Safe Harbor has also received generous monetary and service denotations from the community at large to help make the house feel like a home.
The confidential location will welcome residents upon its official opening in early 2018. The shelter meets critical needs for survivors of human trafficking who have been stabilized and who are in need of a safe place to move their lives forward.
“There are many paths human trafficking survivors can take to facilitate a move to independent living. One includes migrating from emergency shelters to transitional shelters,” said Cathy Easter, executive director, Safe Harbor. “The transition shelter provides critical support to victims who are on their way to living independent and happy lives.”
While Henrico County is the shelter’s primary service territory, victims of human trafficking who will reside in the shelter will be referred from localities throughout the Central Virginia region. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the shelter may also house federal crime victims including international victims of human trafficking.
“We look forward to continued collaboration with the community to advocate for human trafficking victims in all stages of their journey,” continued Easter.
Bon Secours forensic nurses collect evidence from victims of physical abuse and sexual violence, including human trafficking, in the greater Richmond area and beyond. Many of the victims of human trafficking have not received basic medical care in years, however, forensic nurses at Bon Secours are trained to identify and respond to victims of trafficking who present for care in the health care sector.
They are expertly trained leaders in their field, providing education to police, EMTs, teachers, physicians and other health care providers, emergency departments and many others, with the goal of identifying and assisting victims, preserving evidence and obtaining justice. Bon Secours forensic nurses have seen more than 100 human trafficking patients in the last two years.
To learn more about the shelter and Safe Harbor’s work with victims of human trafficking, please visit www.safeharborshelter.com.
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About Bon Secours Richmond Health System
Bon Secours Richmond is part of Bon Secours Virginia, which provides compassionate medical care to thousands of Virginians through a network of hospitals, primary and specialty care practices, ambulatory care sites and continuing care facilities across the Commonwealth. The fourth largest and only faith-based health system in Virginia, Bon Secours Richmond is a Catholic health ministry that partners with the community to create a more humane world, build health and social justice and serve those who are vulnerable. Bon Secours Richmond provides nearly $130 million in community care through Medicare, Medicaid, charity care and other community benefits. As one of Richmond’s largest employers, the not-for-profit health system employs more than 9,000 people, including nearly 420 providers as part of the Bon Secours Medical Group. Bon Secours Richmond includes St. Mary’s Hospital, Memorial Regional Medical Center, Richmond Community Hospital, St. Francis Medical Center, Rappahannock General Hospital and Westchester Emergency Center. The Bon Secours Richmond Health Foundation raises charitable funds to help Bon Secours Virginia Health System address the community’s growing health care needs with compassion and excellence.
About Safe Harbor
Safe Harbor empowers survivors of sexual and domestic violence to transform their lives, and promotes healthy relationships for all. Since the agency opened in April 2000, it has grown from an emergency shelter to offering additional critical supportive services including community counseling programs for adults and children, community support groups in English and Spanish, court advocacy, hospital accompaniment and community education and outreach services. Visit our website (safeharborshelter.com) or facebook.com/SafeHarborRVA to learn how you can support our work. Safe Harbor is also an active partner in the Greater Richmond Regional Hotline, which consolidates five nonprofit agencies’ call centers into one central 24-hour confidential helpline (804-612-6126) serving Richmond and the surrounding counties.