The V Word

Advocating to end sexual and domestic violence



Lisette Johnson – Surviving Domestic Violence and Gun Violence

Today Lisette Johnson guests to tell her story over the next broadcasts. Tune to hear her story and how she impacted changes in gun legislation in Virginia.

Listen to Episode 1 below.. and tune in Friday at 10:00 am to hear Part 2.

The V Word: Update on bills through the VA General Assembly session for Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault

Today Carol gives an update on what bills are progressing through the Virginia General Assembly that impact survivors of sexual and domestic violence.

Agencies tracking these bills and providing opportunities to engage are:

Virginia Legislative Information System

The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance 



The V Word: An Interview with Nationz

Today Carol talks with Zakia McKensey about her work with Nationz as part of our series with the Virginia Anti-Violence Project. Stacie Vecchietti and  Ha Tran join her.

You can listen to the show here:



Virginia Anti-Violence Project (VAVP) 


New Campus Sexual Assault Laws in Virginia

Today’s show is about the new sexual assault laws going into effect this month across Virginia.

You can listen to the show here

HB 1785. Campus police departments; sexual assault reporting. The law requires that mutual aid agreements between a campus police force and a law-enforcement agency require either the campus police force or the agency with which it has established a mutual aid agreement to notify the local attorney for the Commonwealth within 48 hours of beginning any investigation involving felony criminal sexual assault occurring on campus property or other property related to the institution of higher education. The law also requires institutions of higher education that have security departments instead of campus police forces to enter into a memorandum of understanding with a law-enforcement agency that requires similar notification to the local attorney for the Commonwealth.

HB 1930/SB 712. Institutions of higher education; reporting acts of sexual violence. The law requires any responsible employee of a public or private nonprofit institution of higher education who in the course of his employment obtains information that an act of sexual violence has been committed against a student or on campus property or other property related to the institution to report such information to the Title IX coordinator for the institution as soon as practicable, who must in turn report such information to a review committee that is required to meet within 72 hours of the receipt of such information. If the review committee determines that disclosure of the information regarding the alleged act of sexual violence is necessary to protect the health and safety of the victim or other individuals, the information, including personally identifiable information, must be reported to the law-enforcement agency responsible for investigating the alleged act. In addition, the law requires the governing board of each public or private nonprofit institution of higher education to (i) establish a written memorandum of understanding with a local sexual assault crisis center or other victim support service and (ii) adopt policies to provide victims with information on contacting such center or service. The law requires each public or private nonprofit institution of higher education to annually certify to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia that it has reviewed its sexual violence policy and requires the Department of Criminal Justice Services to monitor and report on the impact of the legislation on the workload of local victim witness programs.

SB 1193. Academic transcripts; suspension, permanent dismissal, or withdrawal from institution. The law requires the registrar of certain public and private institutions of higher education, or the other employee, office, or department of the institution that is responsible for maintaining student academic records, to include a prominent notation on the transcript of each student who has been suspended for, has been permanently dismissed for, or withdraws from the institution while under investigation for an offense involving sexual violence, defined as physical sexual acts committed against a person’s will or against a person incapable of giving consent, under the institution’s code, rules, or set of standards governing student conduct. Any notation due to a student’s suspension must be removed if the student completed the term and conditions of the suspension and has been determined by the institution to be in good standing.

Need to find a local sexual assault or rape crisis center near your school?  Look at the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance List of Member Agencies to find local centers.

The V Word Broadcast: New legislation to support sexual assault survivors on college campuses.

Carol talks about new legislation passed in Virginia designed to provide enhanced protections and access to services for survivors of sexual assault on campus.

Listen to the show here


WRIR 97.3 FM 

Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance 

Title IX information 

Repost: Fairfax County (Virginia) Office for Women & Domestic Violence Services

This is a great new collaboration that I am passing from the DVAC and as posted on the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance newsletter.


Sexual and Domestic Violence Advocacy Agency Spotlight: Fairfax County Office for Women & Domestic and Sexual Violence Services

DVAC: A One-Stop Shop for Victims of Domestic Violence and Stalking

Photo below: Teresa Belcher, Advocacy Team supervisor and manager of the DVAC project

Victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking in Fairfax County can now access a variety of services in one accessible, centralized location. Located in the Historic Courthouse, at 4000 Chain Bridge Road in Fairfax, the Fairfax County Domestic Violence Action Center (DVAC) is a comprehensive, co-located service center, staffed by both county agency and community non-profit partners. These DVAC partners provide culturally responsive information and support services for victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking and their families as well as promote the accountability of offenders of these crimes through specialized prosecution and offender supervision. The Fairfax County Office for Women & Domestic and Sexual Violence Services (OFWDSVS) provides an on-site supervisor to coordinate services at the Historic Courthouse location among all the partners providing services on-site. The Advocacy Services team of OFWDSVS is located on-site. OFWDSVS also provides management of the US Dept. of Justice grant that currently funds a large part of this project and coordinates and collaborates with all partners to ensure client and community needs are met.

DVAC is made up of the following county & community-based partner agencies:

  • Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court’s Court Services Unit
  • Fairfax County Office for Women & Domestic and Sexual Violence Services
  • Fairfax County Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney
  • Fairfax County Police Department and the Victim Services Section
  • A Way Forward, providing direct client monetary & goods assistance
  • Ayuda, serving the legal and social services needs of the immigrant community
  • Legal Services of Northern Virginia, providing low-cost legal representation for family issues
  • Northern Virginia Family Services, providing multi-language counseling services
  • Shelter House, Inc., providing crisis shelter for domestic violence victims and services to homeless families
  • Tahirih Justice Center, helping immigrant women fleeing gender-based violence obtain legal status and representation
  • The Women’s Center, providing low-cost counseling services in the community

At DVAC, community victim advocates, system-based advocates, and other service providers offer a safe environment where victims can feel comfortable exploring their options and accessing the services and resources they may need. For the most part, services are free and confidential. Some of the services DVAC can provide to victims include:

  • crisis intervention,
  • emotional support and options for counseling;
  • education about the criminal and civil justice systems (including civil protective orders);
  • victim advocacy, including safety planning, court accompaniment, Criminal Injuries Compensation, assistance with emergency shelter, and
  • other referrals to off-site county and community-based resources.

DVAC also provides services to offenders (off-site only) through a protective order compliance officer, including probation counseling regarding compliance with conditions of civil protective orders and referrals to Batterer Intervention Programs or related treatment, family, or social service resources.

Victims can access DVAC services by calling the Information & Intake line at (703) 246-4573 from Monday through Friday, 8am to 4pm.

Support funding for Sexual and Domestic Violence to be increased in Virginia budget

The Virginia House and Senate have come back to Richmond to finalize the state budget.  They are dealing with a shortfall and additional cuts to the budget.  Help me make sure that funding for sexual and domestic violence remains a priority.

Below is a list of Senate Finance and House Appropriations members – call/email to show support for sexual and domestic violence services, thank them for supporting an increase, ask them to increase funding.  These funds will go to centers all over the state to provide needed services for Rape Crisis Centers, Domestic Violence Programs, Hotlines, Advocacy and other services for survivors.


Delegate Chris Jones (R-Suffolk)  — (757) 483-6242  —
Delegate Steven Landes (R-Augusta)   —  (540) 255-5335  —
Delegate Kirkland “Kirk” Cox (R-Colonial Heights)  —  (804) 526-5135  —
Delegate John M. O’Bannon, III (R-Henrico)  —  (804) 282-8640  —
Delegate Thomas A. “Tag” Greason (R-Loudoun)  —  (703) 203-3203  —
Delegate Johnny S. Joannou (D-Portsmouth)  —  (757) 399-1700  —

Senator Walter A. Stosch (R-District 12)  —  (804) 527-7780  —
Senator Charles J. Colgan (D-District 29)  —  (703) 368-0300  —
Senator Janet D. Howell (D-District 32)  —  (703) 709-8283  —
Senator Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-District 3)  —  (757) 259-7810  —
Senator Emmett W. Hanger, Jr. (R-District 24)  —  (540) 885-6898  —
Senator John C. Watkins (R-District 10)  —  (804) 379-2063  —
Senator Richard L. Saslaw (D-District 35)  —  (703) 978-0200  —


Thanks to the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance for the information and their advocacy.  If you have questions, please contact Kristine Hall at or 804-377-0335

The V Word: Sex Trafficking

Welcome to today’s edition of The V Word

Last week I talked about soliciting sex and prostitution. I am continuing that conversation today with a focus on human trafficking.

So here’s a question for those out there. Have you ever tried to coerce or force someone into having sex for money? Has someone ever tried to force or coerce you into having sex for money? Remember my story last week about how often I was approached? How often other women and trans-women were approached? How often children are approached?

My story last week was about the more open and brazen means to recruit someone into sex work. And were you thinking just adults are coerced? And did you imagine the stereotypical idea of a prostitute hanging on a street corner, with a pimp as her manager? You know, the TV image.

Human trafficking for sex is way broader and more pervasive than movies show, and involves more children than people are aware of. Where is this happening you may be asking by now? Not in Richmond you may be hoping. Yes in Richmond. In fact Richmond is listed along with Virginia Beach and Northern Virginia with the highest rates. While it may be focused on the larger cities with major highways, it happens all over the state.

Next you may want to know how it happens.

Traffickers look for people who have vulnerabilities: victims of sexual abuse, children living in poverty, children marginalized in our society by gender, race and economic class, and people who have been made vulnerable after natural disasters.

How does a Trafficker find vulnerable people: You probably did guess this one – through social networking, along with other means. If the parent is already being used as a sex worker, often the children are vulnerable to exploitation.

What happens next, once the Trafficker identifies someone? A process called grooming starts, promises are made to lure someone vulnerable. Another way is for a parent to pimp out their own child or outright sell the child. Yes you heard right, people sell their children and not just because they are evil people but also because they are desperate.

Once in, the victim is used in multiple ways, and not just on the street but through hotels, clubs, escort services, etc.

How does the Trafficker maintain control: isolation from others, shame, physical violence or threats of violence, drugs.

I know you will ask: why doesn’t the victim run away or ask for help? Remember the list of control tactics? All of those create fear and dependency and it’s extremely effective.

How many in Virginia: The Polaris Project reported 375 in a 6 month period. It is suspected it is widely under reported, like most sexual or interpersonal crimes.

So what is Virginia doing? The Virginia General Assembly just passed legislation that harshens the penalties for people who solicit children for sex. It allows felony prosecution now and listing on the sex offender registry.

What are some of the current laws you can use to prosecute such crimes?

§ 18.2-48. Abduction with intent to extort money or for immoral purpose, to extort money or pecuniary benefit, with intent to defile – for the purposes of prostitution, child pornography… is a Class 2 felony which can offer up life imprisonment.

18.2-46 Prostitution: commercial sexual conduct, commercial exploitation of a minor by offering money or its equivalent for the purposes of engaging in sexual acts is a Class 5 or 6 felony.

18.2-355 Taking, detaining, etc a person for prostitution, or being a parent or guardian consents to a person to be taken for prostitution or sex work is guilty of pandering and is a Class 4 felony.

Virginia’s new law will help close the gap and make it easier to prosecute offenders.

Need help or more information? Here are some options…

For information on how to report in the Richmond, Virginia, USA area, you can call the non-emergency line at 804-646-5100, that is 804-646-5100 or go by a local police station office. The main Richmond office is located at 200 West Grace street.

Are you a victim or do you know someone who needs help: The Gray Haven Project is a local resource for survivors of human trafficking. Tel: 804.365.2529 or email to

For help with counseling and advocacy, local rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters can provide services. In Virginia, USA, to find a center closest to you… you can call the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline, hosted by The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance at 1-800-838-8238.

That is the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238.
Listening from outside of Virginia? You can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-800-373-7888 that is 1-800-373-7888 or text 233722

Want to share a story or ask a question? Email me at or tweet me at my twitter account: @preventviolence. You can read the transcript for this show and past shows on my blog at

The V Word is recorded in the studios of WRIR-LP 97.3, read and produced by me, Carol Olson.

Ways to Support Stalking Awareness Month #9 – subscribe to journals to keep educated

Subscribe to local blogs or journals to get regular information on stalking and interpersonal violence in your community.

The Source: Stalking in the News

OVW Blog

SafetyWeb – a site about cyber stalking

In Virginia:

Joining the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance provides you with a subscription to their journal: Revolution

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