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Creating a "Safety Net" For Victims of Sexual Violence in Rural VA

September 9, 2008

Fredericksburg, VA - Rural Virginians often don't have access to the help they need to prevent and deal with sexual violence, according to advocates holding a conference today in Fredericksburg. Rose Leone with the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance says it takes teamwork to create a coordinated community response to help victims of sexual violence.

"We've got a forensic nurse, we've got sexual violence advocates, law enforcement, Commonwealth attorneys, coming together and discussing the actual relationships they have in place, and how that began."

Leone says rural Virginia faces additional challenges in creating a community safety net.

"We're talking about transportation just getting to those services, and financial burdens on folks. One of the other challenges is doing outreach for advocates getting out into those rural areas."

The conference is at Germanna Community College and also is available via videoconference in Abingdon, at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center.

Leone encourages anyone who can't attend the conference but is still interested in being involved to contact their local organizations or law enforcement agencies, or call toll-free 1-800-838-8238 to learn how to volunteer.

Eric Mack/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - VA