Averett receives federal grant, starts partnership with local organizations

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DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - Whether it's a friend, a sister, or even yourself, knowing someone who has been a victim of sexual assault is common.

"We're having this conversation now, because the taboo is being stripped away," said Lisa Caviness, Director of Haven for the Dan River Region.

The statistics say one in three women and one in six men experience some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime.

So Averett University applied for a grant - but they didn't do it alone.

"The only way you really produce lasting change is through partnership," said Danville Chief of Police, Scott Booth.

Danville Police Department, Haven of the Dan River Region, and SOVAH Danville are all involved. The federal grant of $500,000, over a three year time span, comes from the US department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

According to a press release on the announcement, the project team will work to establish agreed protocols, processes, service delivery, coordination and prevention education that will increase support for survivors of sexual assault in the City of Danville, Va.;in Pittsylvania County, Va.;and in Caswell County, N.C.

Key objectives of the initiative include:
1. Establishing a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) presence at area hospitals;
2. Developing a pool of trained domestic violence/sexual assault advocates to enhance sexual assault service delivery;
3. Training all responders in evidence-based Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview (FETI) techniques;
4. Developing the Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART) protocol; and
5. Establishing a Coordinated Community Education and Prevention (CCEP) “See it, Say it” awareness campaign on domestic and sexual violence.

"What we've accepted in the past, is no longer what we're gonna accept," said Caviness.