violence response team event

Introducing Our Violence Response Team: After Nearly 30 Years, Forensic Nursing Program Renamed to Incorporate Expanded Services

Oct 26 2022

Last month, the violence response team in our Richmond market came together with team members, community members and donors to celebrate their official renaming and to take a look at their new suite!

For nearly 30 years our violence response team (VRT), formerly known as the forensic nursing program, has been a critical resource for adults and children impacted by violence. They care for individuals not only in the Richmond area but in more than 40 locations across the Commonwealth.

Since it was founded in 1993, this team has expanded services to meet patients’ needs. In addition to its forensic nurses, the VRT includes a group of dedicated hospital-based victim advocates that provide wrap-around care from the bedside all the way through to a transition home.

And because this team has expanded, it is only fitting to rename them so their name encompasses these new services they now offer.

“We are proud to offer compassionate, specialized care to victims impacted by violence, not only when they are in crisis, but also after they leave our hospital,” Bonnie Price, DNP, administrative director for community health advocacy in our Richmond market, shares. “This wrap-around care model is critical to improving the success of these victims’ healing journeys. Our violence response team is just one of many resources that are able to make an impact on victims of violence in our community, and we couldn’t do any of it without the support of our ministry, donors and many community partners.”

Our violence response team members are available 24/7 at all of our Richmond hospitals and freestanding emergency departments.

As one of the busiest programs in the country responding to an average of 3,000 calls for service annually, this team serves victims of all ages who have experienced violence or abuse of any kind.

This includes:

  • domestic violence
  • intimate partner violence
  • sexual assault
  • physical assault
  • strangulation
  • abuse/neglect
  • substance exposed infants
  • human trafficking
  • workplace violence

When responding to a call, our forensic nurses and victim advocates respond in tandem to victims of violence. The work of these two roles is complementary. Together, they offer comprehensive care to victims including specialized medical attention, evidence collection, emotional support, advocacy support, hospital accompaniment, follow-up phone calls and referrals for community resources.

In 2021, our violence response team moved into a new suite on the campus of Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital.

The 3,800-square-foot suite, which underwent a $650,000 renovation specifically to meet the needs of this team, was fully funded by philanthropic support through generosity of local donors as well as our foundation. The new suite, which is more than triple the size of the previous space utilized by the team, now contains two waiting rooms, two exam rooms, an area designed for children, a resiliency room where staff can recharge, a training room, as well as office space and meeting areas that can be utilized for meetings with community partners or family members.

Also in 2021, our ministry was honored to invested $1.6 million in our violence response team, which provided resources such as staff, equipment and supplies. Now, there are nearly 25 full-time employees, which is more than double the number of full-time employees in 2019.

The violence response team can be reached during normal business hours at 804-281-8184 or 804-281-8574.

Learn more about our violence response team.

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