Human trafficking shelter to open next month

Bon Secours Virginia Health System Vice President of Mission Peter J. McCourt speaks at an event last week announcing the creation of a human trafficking shelter.
Central Virginia's first shelter for human trafficking victims – the result of a medical-nonprofit partnership – will open in the region next month.

During an event last week (pictured), Bon Secours Richmond Health System and Henrico-based Safe Harbor (a shelter and service organization for victims of abuse) formally announced plans to open the Central Virginia Emergency Shelter for Human Trafficking Victims.

The facility's primary service territory will be Henrico County, though victims from throughout the region may be referred to it. It will be equipped to house as many as 15 victims at a time.

Safe Harbor received a grant of $500,000 to establish the shelter through the Department of Criminal Justice Services VOCA New Initiative Victim Assistance Grant Program. The grant will help hire staff, provide equipment and supplies to the operation of the shelter and define program development, among other items.

Many of the victims of human trafficking have not received basic medical care in years, officials said. Bon Secours Richmond, which helped open Safe Harbor in the late 1990s, will address medical needs of the victims, including the provision of emergency and primary medical care for shelter residents. Forensic nurses from Bon Secours Forensic Nursing Program – who collect evidence from victims of sexual abuse – will help them to get back onto their feet and on the road to recovery.

Currently, many human trafficking victims are sent to shelters in other areas of the state and out of state because no such shelter has been available locally. The new facility could house as many as 25 residents in Fiscal Year 2018, officials said.

The Bon Secours Richmond Human Trafficking Task Force

“The shelter’s ultimate goal is to help victim’s live independent and happy lives," said Cathy Easter, executive director of Safe Harbor. "Since our opening in 2000 as an emergency shelter for domestic violence victims, we have been growing increasingly concerned with the amount of human trafficking that goes on in Central Virginia.
Through the shelter’s unique aspect of providing services in a single location, we will be able to reduce the impact of trauma on these victims.

“We look forward to continued collaboration with the community to advocate for human trafficking victims and help them navigate systems that can be complex and re-traumatizing."

The Henrico County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office has prosecuted more cases involving human trafficking offenses than any other jurisdiction in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Victims of human trafficking who will reside in the shelter will be referred from Henrico and other localities in the region, including Chesterfield, Hanover and Albemarle counties and the city of Richmond.

In partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the shelter will also house federal crime victims including international victims of human trafficking.

“These women need a place to build a life again,” Easter said. “This shelter provides the entire package of help, in one location.”
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Challenger Day will get students with disabilities onto the field

Students from 22 Henrico County elementary schools will take to the baseball field Oct. 18 and learn how to field, hit and run the bases. The students will take part in Challenger Day, an annual event at the Tuckahoe Park Baseball Complex that introduces students with significant disabilities to the fundamentals of baseball. The students will also enjoy games, an art project, roaming mascots and a picnic lunch. > Read more.

Business in brief

Eisenman & Associates, Inc. employee Tracie Grady recently was named the 2017 Virginia Business Meeting Planner of the Year. Grady was chosen by a committee of industry leaders among 19 nominees. The award is a partnership between Virginia Business magazine and the Virginia Society of Association Executives. Its goal is to recognize the unsung hero of the association, non-profit, and business world, the professional meeting planner. Grady works with clients in a number of areas, including membership management, publication design, membership directories and convention/tradeshow programs. She has worked in the association industry, primarily focused on meeting planning, for more than 20 years. She is a graduate of VCU. Eisenman & Associates, Inc. is an association management and meetings consulting company. > Read more.

Lakewood to break ground on $64M expansion

A senior community in Henrico's Far West End is planning a massive expansion project.

Lakewood, located on Lauderdale Drive, will break ground on the project Oct. 19 during a celebration that also will commemorate the community's 40th anniversary. > Read more.

Henrico to hold Oct. 19 workshop on Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill Study

The Henrico County Planning Department will hold a workshop Thursday, Oct. 19 for residents and other members of the public to provide additional input for a study of the Route 5 corridor and Marion Hill areas.

The workshop will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at John Rolfe Middle School, 6901 Messer Road. The meeting will include an overview of community input received so far and an explanation of how it is reflected in the study’s draft goals and objectives. > Read more.

Nominations open for REB awards for principals

Nominations are open for the 2017-18 REB Awards for Distinguished Educational Leadership, The Community Foundation’s yearly awards that identify, recognize and support leadership excellence in the Richmond area.

Honorees receive an unrestricted $7,500 cash grant, and $7,500 to be used for school initiatives. Nominees can be principals from public schools in Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover counties and the city of Richmond who have served in their current positions for at least three years. > Read more.

Henrico Business Bulletin Board

October 2017

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The Weinstein JCC will screen the documentary “Denial” at 3 p.m. When professor Deborah E. Lipstadt includes World War II historian David Irving in a book about Holocaust deniers, Irving accuses her of libel and sparks a legal battle for historical truth. With the burden of proof placed on the accused, Lipstadt and her legal team fight to prove the essential truth that the Holocaust occurred. Based on the book “History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier.” A talk-back panel will follow. Cost is $6 for JCC members and $10 for nonmembers. For details, visit Full text

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