The V Word

Advocating to end sexual and domestic violence



Virginia and National Training Opportunities

Basic and Continuing Advocacy Training through the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence  Action Alliance
Basic and Continuing Advocacy Training offers advocates and staff of Sexual and Domestic Violence Agencies as well as allied professionals and community members a foundation to learn and practice many of the skills necessary to provide effective, trauma-informed responses to survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence. The Basic Advocacy Training (BAT) are scheduled to be held in Richmond, VA, while the Continuing Advocacy Training (CAT) will be held at locations around the Commonwealth of Virginia. If you would like to bring a BAT or CAT to your region, please visit our website and make a request.
All BATs and CATs are $45 and the fee includes materials and lunch.
Don’t forget to use your member discount code when registering.
Not a member?  Become one here. The 2015 codes will be provided when memberships are renewed at the beginning of the year. If you have questions about how to receive your member discount, please contact us at or get in touch with your staff liaison as assigned.
Upcoming training include:
Technical Assistance Calls & Webinars
These TA calls are free for member agencies of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. The calls will be from 10:00 a.m. -11:00 a.m. (unless otherwise noted). Click on the title to register and receive call-in information.


Training from End Violence Against Women International 

One of the most common requests we receive is for resources associated with the neurobiology of trauma, and the implications for trauma-informed interviews, investigations, and prosecutions. We would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the training and technical assistance resources we offer in this area.
Webinar on Neurobiology
We are delighted to offer a 90-minute webinar given by Dr. Rebecca Campbell on The Neurobiology of Sexual Assault. It is available for free in our webinar archives, so it can be accessed at any time.

Participants will learn about the neurobiology of trauma and its application to victims of sexual assault. By exploring how trauma affects victims’ emotions and behavior, special attention will be given to examining how the brain processes and recalls traumatic events. This will help law enforcement personnel and other professionals recognize how these concepts can be applied to sexual assault investigations and prosecutions – with the goal of improving both victim well-being and case success.
Along with the audiorecording of the webinar, we provide the slides in PDF format, with either 3 slides per page or 1 slide per page. A transcript of the webinar is also available, along with the responses to chat questions submitted by webinar participants. These questions were adapted for a general audience, and responses were co-authored by Sgt. Archambault along with EVAWI’s Research Director, Dr. Kim Lonsway.

Webinars on Victim Interviewing

 Also available is an archived webinar by Russell Strand, entitled A Paradigm Shift: The Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview (FETI). This webinar provides information on the neurobiology of trauma and the implications for successfully interviewing sexual assault victims.

We also have an archived webinar on Effective Victim Interviewing, presented by Roger Canaff and Joanne Archambault. While it does not specifically address the neurobiology of trauma and its implications, valuable guidance is provided for successfully interviewing victims of sexual assault with an eye toward criminal prosecution.

Published Articles
Another helpful resource is a short article written by Dr. James W. Hopper entitled, “Why Many Rape Victims Don’t Fight or Yell.” It appeared in the Washington Post on June 23, 2015, and provides an excellent and accessible summary of the neurobiology of trauma and the implications for victim behavior during a sexual assault.

Dr. Hopper also co-authored an article with Dr. David Lisak, entitled: “Why Rape and Trauma Survivors Have Fragmented and Incomplete Memories.” This article was posted on, and it also provides a detailed yet accessible explanation of how trauma can impact behavior and memory. The article draws helpful parallels to the scenario where a police officer is “suddenly staring at the wrong end of a gun.”

Online Resources
In the Best Practices section of our website, there are a variety of Resources as well as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the neurobiology of trauma and trauma-informed approaches.  For example, FAQs include the following:

  • Is there any kind of test to determine whether there is an increase in certain neurochemicals as a result of experiencing trauma?
  • Are the processes involved in the neurobiology of trauma affected by mental illness or other mental health issues? Are they affected by drugs or alcohol?
  • Are there studies about the neurobiology of trauma resulting from domestic violence? Is it similar to the effects of sexual assault? Are the implications the same for conducting interviews with victims of intimate partner violence?
  • Are there any experts who can testify about the neurobiology of trauma and the implications for victims of sexual assault?
OLTI Module on Victim Interviewing
We offer an OnLine Training Institute (OLTI) module onInterviewing the Victim: Techniques Based on the Realistic Dynamics of Sexual Assault. This module was written in 2007, and although we made updates in 2013 we have not yet incorporated information on the neurobiology of sexual assault and trauma-informed approaches. Nonetheless, we recommend this training module, because it offers hundreds of pages with detailed information on topics such as:
  • Strategizing an interview approach based on case facts
  • Preparing for heightened effectiveness and avoiding common pitfalls
  • Establishing rapport and building a relationship of trust with the victim
  • Gathering information to support a successful investigation and prosecution
  • Closing the interview and following up with the victim

For victims who have a disability, even more detailed guidance is provided in the OLTI module on Successfully Investigating Sexual Assault Against Victims with Disabilities.

The only section of the Victim Interviewing module that requires caution at this point is the topic of Cognitive Interviewing. There are certainly some valuable lessons to be learned from that approach, and there is a body of research supporting its use for certain purposes, but we caution that it should not be adopted wholesale for use with sexual assault victims. When we update that module and incorporate information on trauma-informed approaches we will reduce that content and frame its utility in somewhat narrower terms (e.g., recalling specific facts, events, details).


Other State and National Training Opportunities

National Children’s Advocacy Center – Virtual Training Center. Various free online training opportunities.

Enhancing the Campus & Community Response to Adult Sexual Assault: A Team Approach. Free. Hosted by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. Monday, August 31, 2015 – Tuesday, September 1, 2015 — Hampden-Sydney, VA Wednesday, September 2, 2015 – Thursday, September 3, 2015 — Williamsburg, VA

National Sexual Assault Conference. September 2-4, Los Angeles, CA, $475 and up (transportation, lodging, and most meals not included), Hosted by CALCASA, NSVRC, and PCAR {Scholarships available}

reposted from the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance  and End Violence Against Women International 

Repost from VSDVAA: Legislative Update – 2015 Virginia General Assembly

The Virginia General Assembly regular session ended on February 28, 2015. Below is an update on the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance’s (Action Alliance) priorities and other key legislation of interest to our constituency. Legislation that has passed must still be approved by the Governor and may be subject to additional amendments. In most cases, the Governor has until March 29th to act on the legislation. The Governor’s amendments and vetoed legislation will be considered by the General Assembly during the reconvened session in April.

When available, we have noted the Action Alliance’s position on the legislation. For actual votes and language of the bills, please click on the link provided. Please note that we only provided links to legislation that is still active. Unless noted in the law, legislation becomes effective July 1, 2015.


Crime Commission—Sexual and Domestic Violence Study

SB1094 (Chief Patron: Sen. Howell)
HB2092 (Chief Patron: Del. Peace; Chief Co-Patron McClellan)
Supported by the Action Alliance. Establishes the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Program Professional Standards Committee and requires the Department of Criminal Justice Services to administer its activities by providing technical assistance and administrative support. This Committee is tasked with establishing voluntary accreditation standards and procedures by which local sexual and domestic violence programs can be systematically measured and evaluated with a peer-reviewed process. An Advisory Committee on Sexual and Domestic Violence is also established and has the responsibility for advising and assisting state and local entities on matters related to the prevention and reduction of sexual and domestic violence and to promote the efficient administration of grant funds.

Campus Response

SB712 (Chief Patron: Senator Black; Chief Co-Patrons: Senators Deeds, Saslaw, & Barker)
HB1930 (Chief Patron: Delegate Bell; Chief Co-Patrons: Delegates Albo & Gilbert)
Supported by the Action Alliance.
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. The bill provides several exceptions to the reporting requirements, including when information is obtained through any communication considered privileged under state or federal law, including communications received by licensed health care professionals, counselors, accredited rape crisis or domestic violence counselors, campus victim support personnel, clergy, or attorneys.

The Title IX Coordinator must report such information to a review committee, which shall meet within 72 hours of the receipt of information of an alleged act of sexual violence. The review committee shall include the Title IX coordinator, a representative of law enforcement, and a student affairs representative and conduct its review in compliance with federal privacy laws that protect student privacy. The Title IX Coordinator must disclose information regarding the alleged act of sexual violence, including personally identifiable information, to the law-enforcement agency responsible for investigating the alleged act if the Title IX Coordinator determines such disclosure is necessary to protect the health and safety of the community.

The bill requires the governing board of each public or private 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 bill also provides that each institution shall ensure that a victim of an alleged act of sexual violence is informed of (i) the applicable federal or state confidentiality provisions that govern information provided by a victim; (ii) the available on-campus resources and any unaffiliated community resources, including sexual assault crisis centers, domestic violence crisis centers, or other victim support services; (iii) the importance of seeking appropriate medical attention; (iv) the importance of collection and preservation of evidence; (v) the available law-enforcement options for investigation and prosecution; (vi) the available options for a protective order; (vii) the available campus options for investigation and adjudication under the institution’s policies; and (viii) the victim’s rights to participate or decline to participate in any investigation to the extent permitted under state or federal law.

HB1785 (Chief Patron: Delegate Massie; Co-Chief Patron: Delegate Filler-Corn).
Supported by the Action Alliance. Requires that mutual aid agreements between a campus police force and a law-enforcement agency contain provisions requiring 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 any investigation involving felony criminal sexual assault occurring on campus property or other property related to the institution of higher education. The bill does not require law enforcement to disclose the victims’ personally identifying information. The bill 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 and such memorandum of understanding shall contain similar provisions requiring reports to the local attorney for the Commonwealth.

SB1193 (Chief Patron: Senator Norment; Co-Chief Patron Senator Deeds)
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 a violation of the institution’s code, rules, or set of standards governing student conduct. The bill provides that any notation due to a student’s suspension shall be removed if the student completed the term of the suspension and any conditions thereof and has been determined by the institution to be in good standing. The bill exempts the Virginia Military Institution (VMI).

Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault/Stalking/Protective Orders

SB941 (Chief Patron: Senator Stuart)/HB2329 (Chief Patron: Delegate Simon)
Supported by the Action Alliance. Provides for the compensation of counsel or a guardian ad litem for the required representation of a respondent in a proceeding for the issuance of a protective order under Chapter 9.1 of Title 19.2.

HB2120 (Chief Patron: Delegate Cline)
Supported by the Action Alliance. Adds strangulation to the list of crimes charged for which there is a rebuttable presumption against admission to bail.

SJ245 (Chief Patron: Senator Favola)/HJ600 (Chief Patron: Delegate Kory)
Supported by the Action Alliance. Designates the month of April, in 2015 and in each succeeding year, as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Virginia.

SB1187 (Chief Patron: Senator Obenshain)/HB 1928 (Chief Patron: Delegate Bell)
The bill adds to the list of offenses for which an adult convicted of certain offenses must have a sample of his blood, saliva, or tissue taken for DNA analysis. The bill adds misdemeanor violations of §§ 16.1-253.2 (violation of a protective order), 18.2-60.3 (stalking), 18.2-60.4 (violation of a stalking protective order), 18.2-67.4:1 (infected sexual battery), 18.2-102 (unauthorized use of animal, aircraft, vehicle, or boat valued at less than $200), 18.2-121 (entering property of another for purpose of damaging it), 18.2-387 (indecent exposure), 18.2-387.1 (obscene sexual display), and 18.2-479.1 (resisting arrest). Under current law, a sample is taken for DNA analysis from adults convicted of only five misdemeanor sex offenses: (i) § 18.2-67.4 (sexual battery), (ii) § 18.2-67.4:2 (sexual abuse of a child 13 years of age or older but under 15), (iii) § 18.2-67.5 (attempted sexual battery), (iv) § 18.2-130 (peeping), or (v) § 18.2-370.6 (penetrating the mouth of a child under 13 with the tongue). The bill also increases the fee collected for the withdrawal of the DNA sample from $25 to $53. The provisions of the bill apply only to persons convicted on or after July 1, 2015.

SB1417 (Chief Patron: Senator Petersen)
Requires any person licensed by the Board of Counseling and operating in a nonhospital setting to post a copy of his license in a conspicuous place. The posting shall also provide clients with (i) the number of the toll-free complaint line at the Department of Health Professions, (ii) the website address of the Department for the purposes of accessing the licensee’s record, and (iii) notice of the client’s right to report to the Department if he believes the licensee may have engaged in unethical, fraudulent, or unprofessional conduct.

HB1558 (Chief Patron: Delegate Rust)
Allows for the creation of local or regional adult fatality review teams upon the initiative of any local or regional law-enforcement agency, department of social services, emergency medical services agency, attorney for the Commonwealth’s office, or community services board. The bill provides that such teams may review the death of any person age 60 years or older, or any adult age 18 years or older who is incapacitated, who resides in the Commonwealth and who is in need of temporary or emergency protective services (i) who was the subject of an adult protective services or law-enforcement investigation; (ii) whose death was due to abuse, neglect, or exploitation or acts suggesting abuse, neglect, or exploitation; or (iii) whose death came under the jurisdiction of or was investigated by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner as occurring in any suspicious, unusual, or unnatural manner. A violation of the confidentiality of the review process is punishable as a Class 3 misdemeanor.

HB1698 (Chief Patron: Delegate Wilt)
Requires each school board, in any case in a questionnaire or survey requesting that students provide sexual information, mental health information, medical information, information on student health risk behaviors, other information on controlled substance use, or any other information that the school board deems to be sensitive in nature is to be administered, to give the parent 30 days’ written notice of the nature and types of questions, the purposes and age-appropriateness of the questionnaire or survey, how such information will be used, who will have access to such information, the steps that will be taken to protect student privacy, and whether and how any findings or results will be disclosed. The bill gives the parent the right to request that an advance copy of the questionnaire or survey be sent to him, to review the document in person at the school, and to exempt his child from participation. Under current law, (i) such written notice only applies to surveys or questionnaires on sexual information and information on student health risk behaviors, (ii) the detailed contents of the notice only apply to information on student health risk behaviors, and (iii) the parent has the right to review questionnaires and surveys but no right to request that a copy be sent to him.

Human Trafficking

HB2040 (Chief Patron: Delegate Bell)
Supported by the Action Alliance. Increases from a Class 4 felony to a Class 3 felony the penalty for taking a minor, for the purposes of prostitution, into a bawdy place; persuading, encouraging or causing a minor to enter a bawdy place; or taking or causing a minor to be taken to any place for such purposes.

SB1188 (Chief Patron: Senator Obenshain; Chief Co-Patron Senator Edwards)
HB1964 (Chief Patron: Delegate Hugo; Chief Co-Patrons: Delegates Anderson, Rob Bell, and Gilbert)
Supported by the Action Alliance. Creates new felonies for trafficking of persons for commercial sexual activity. The bill provides that any person who solicits, invites, recruits, encourages, or otherwise causes or attempts to cause a person to engage in prostitution with the intent to receive money or other valuable thing or to assist another in receiving money or other valuable thing from the earnings of the solicited person from an act of prostitution is guilty of a Class 5 felony. Felonies are increased if such behavior is done by an adult and the person solicited is a minor (Class 3 felony) and if force, intimidation, or deception is used against the person solicited (Class 4 felony). The new crime was added to the definition of violent felony for the purposes of the sentencing guidelines, predicate criminal acts for street gangs, the Virginia Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization Act, multijurisdiction grand jury, and asset forfeiture and, if a minor is solicited, the Sex Offender Registry. The bill also amends two existing Code sections on receiving money for procuring a person for prostitution and receiving money from the earnings of a person engaged in prostitution to increase penalties if the crime involves a minor.


Funding Increase for Sexual Assault Victim Services

Budget Amendments #389 1s (Senator Vogel) & #389 1h (Chief Patron: Delegate Peace)

Employment Protections for Victims

SB 990 (Chief Patron: Senator Lucas)/HB1945 (Chief Patron: Delegate McClellan)
HB1430 (Chief Patron: Delegate Herring)
HB2150 (Chief Patron: Delegate Yancey)

Firearm Restrictions Related to Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking

SB943 (Chief Patron: Senator Favola)/HB 2085 (Chief Patron: Delegate Murphy)
SB909 (Chief Patron: Senator Howell)/HB 2045 (Chief Patron: Delegate Filler-Corn)
HB2328 (Chief Patron: Delegate Simon)


SB1297 (Chief Patron: Senator McEachin)/HB1453 (Chief Patron: Delegate Miller)
HB1902 (Chief Patron: Delegate Lopez)

To learn more about any of these defeated bills, please visit and click on “Bills & Resolutions” to search by bill number.

If you have questions, please contact Kristine Hall at or 804-377-0335.

About the Action Alliance
The Action Alliance has been Virginia’s leading voice on sexual and domestic violence for 30 years and enhances response and prevention efforts through training, public policy advocacy, public awareness programs, and technical assistance to professionals. To find out more about the Action Alliance, call 804.377.0335,, or visit us on the web: You may also call the Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238 (v/tty).

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

It’s Time to Ask: What will Congress do to get VAWA passed

Domestic Violence Awareness Month
It’s time to ask–What will Congress do to get VAWA passed

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and an ideal time to ask Virginia’s Congressional Delegation to commit to passing VAWA as a matter of priority during the lame duck session. The recent report from the Office of Chief Medical Examiner indicates that while homicides in Virginia have gone down, intimate partner homicides in Virginia have increased by an alarming amount–21% between 2009 and 2010.

Requested Action
Email, call, tweet, or tell your Members of Congress (who are now back in their districts until after the elections) this simple message:

“October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We all play a role in ending domestic violence. Congress’s role is to pass VAWA – lifesaving legislation that has transformed the way our nation addresses violence against women. It is essential that a strong, bipartisan VAWA, that safely and effectively meets the needs of all victims, is promptly reauthorized after the elections. Will you commit to passing VAWA as a matter of priority during the lame duck session?”

Use the tweets below, post on Facebook/websites, and/or have this conversation when you see your Members of Congress at events.

Oct is #DVAM2012 . Do your part to end violence against women. Let’s pass #VAWA

Support #DVAM2012! Commit to passing a #VAWA that safely and effectively meets the needs of all victims.

Fact: #VAWA saves lives! Reauthorization must be a priority after the elections

The Background
Despite our collective hard work urging Congress to pass VAWA, they did not do so before they left for recess. As you know, passing major legislation can be contentious in an election year and VAWA’s reauthorization became more politicized than it ever had been in the past. There is still an opportunity, however, for Congress to reauthorize VAWA after the elections (during the “lame duck” session). With the combination of additional pressure from you throughout October and the work of NNEDV and others at the national level, we believe that it is very likely that Congress will act on VAWA upon their return.

So keep up the pressure right through this election cycle—urge your Member of Congress to prioritize post-election passage of a VAWA reauthorization bill that safely and effectively protects all victims.

Click here to find your Representative:

Click here to find your Senator:

About the Action Alliance
The Action Alliance has been Virginia’s leading voice on sexual and domestic violence for 30 years and enhances response and prevention efforts through training, public policy advocacy, public awareness programs, and technical assistance to professionals. To find out more about the Action Alliance, call 804.377.0335,, or visit us on the web: You may also call the Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238 (v/tty).

Address postal inquiries to:
Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alli
5008 Monument Ave.
Ste. A
Richmond, VA 23230
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End Sexual and Domestic Violence In Virginia -join the Action Alliance

Want to be part of the voice against violence? Want to impact health and safety in your community in a positive way? Want to provide support to survivors of interpersonal violence?

Join the statewide coalition and engage actively in the work to end violence in our communities.

Membership Information

Questions about membership? For more information email

Become or Renew a Membership on-line

Membership Types

Standard Individual/SDVA Staff $30 Lifetime Member $1000 (PDF Brochure)
Affiliate Membership $250 Sexual & Domestic Violence Advocacy Membership (3-10 FTEs) $500
Sexual & Domestic Violence Advocacy Membership (3 or Fewer FTEs) $250 Sexual & Domestic Violence Advocacy Membership (10-19 FTEs) $1,000
Sexual & Domestic Violence Advocacy Membership (20+ FTEs) $2,000
Individual/SDVA Staff Members

Individual/SDVA Staff ($30)
Benefits =participation in Action Alliance membership meetings, Task Forces and Caucuses; reduced training registration fees; public policy alerts; Revolution
Lifetime Member ($1000)

A lifetime membership constitutes a lifetime connection between you and the Action Alliance. You will never have to pay dues again. Lifetime members will receive all benefits of an individual membership and never have your annual dues increased. Lifetime members will recieve special recognition and be invited to participate in select Action Alliance events.
Affiliate Membership

Affiliate Members: agencies, organizations, businesses and units of state or local government agencies with a commitment to the mission of the Action Alliance ($250)
Benefits in addition to above = resources for victims; access to borrowing public awareness displays (e.g. Silent Witness, Art of Surviving, Beating Hearts)
Sexual and Domestic Violence Advocacy Membership

SDVA Advocacy Members: private non-profit agencies and units of local government, colleges and universities, and military installations whose primary function (at least 75% of activities) is services to victims of sexual/domestic violence and/or community-based prevention of sexual/domestic violence. Tiered membership fee of $250 if fewer than 3 FTEs; $500 if 3 FTEs up to 10 FTEs; $1,000 if 10-19FTEs, $2,000 if more than 20 FTEs.
Benefits in addition to above = Resonance, access to Technical Assitance Calls, access to use of VAdata, reduced Accreditation Fee

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