Funding will expand sexual violence services
(FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla.) January 12, 2016 – White-Wilson Community Foundation recently awarded Shelter House a grant for $22,542 to expand the agency’s sexual violence services. Shelter House currently provides services including a 24/7 rape crisis hotline, peer counseling and victim accompaniment during medical exams and law enforcement interviews.
The White-Wilson Community Foundation grant enables Shelter House to create an on-site sexual assault forensic exam room at the agency’s program office in Fort Walton Beach. The funds will also be used to establish a certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program in Okaloosa and Walton counties with plans to train and certify five local nurses in the first year.
“Currently, sexual assault victims sometimes wait up to six hours for an exam in an emergency room,” explained Shelter House Executive Director Rosalyn Iovieno. “This generous gift from White-Wilson Community Foundation means survivors can come to our office, a safe space away from the chaos of the ER, and meet with an advocate, have a forensic exam by a certified SANE nurse and meet with law enforcement. The goal of this approach is to provide victim-centered, trauma-informed care.”
The exam room project includes the renovation of a bathroom with a shower and wash station as well as purchasing an exam table, camera, medical lighting and other exam equipment and medical supplies.
The Florida Council Against Sexual Violence designated Shelter House as the certified sexual violence center for Okaloosa and Walton counties in 2014. In less than two years, Shelter House has fielded almost 300 sexual assault hotline calls, counseled more than 150 rape and sexual assault survivors and activated the Rape Response Team (RRT) to local hospitals more than 100 times.