By REBECCA HAZEN
The Sexual Assault Victims Advocacy Center, Inc., located in Fort Oglethorpe, is opening an outreach center in Trenton this fall.
The Sexual Assault Victims Advocacy Center (SAVAC) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that serves Dade, Catoosa and Walker counties.
“We serve the three county area, and we feel like we need more of a presence over there in Trenton. If a victim from that area needs our services, they are having to come to Catoosa County. We want this to be more convenient,” SAVAC Executive Director Kristy Lawson said.
The SAVAC serves victims of sexual assault, stalking, dating violence and human trafficking. The center can also help serve the families of the victims as well.
The services include: a 24–hour crisis line, 24/7 hospital accompaniment, on-site forensic medical exams and crisis intervention.
In addition, SAVAC provides personal advocacy, counseling and support groups, as well as accompaniment for filing a police report and the court process. The SAVAC also focuses on community outreach and education.
“All of our services are free and confidential,” Lawson said.
The outreach center in Trenton will offer all of the same services as the main location in Fort Oglethorpe. It will be located in the Gross Shopping Center.
“We are doing some work to the space, so we haven’t set a date yet, but we are hoping to have it open by October,” Lawson said.
With the addition of the outreach center, Lawson says there is a possibility of awareness events and support groups, depending on the community’s needs.
The center will be staffed by people who currently work at the main location in Fort Oglethorpe, but Lawson hopes to hire additional people in the future.
The center will also feature a thrift store, with proceeds supporting SAVAC.
“It is not only to help our needs, but we feel a thrift store will help the community as well,” Lawson said.
Volunteers are always needed, according to Lawson. Anyone that would like to volunteer can call the main office at (706) 861-0929, and they will be put in touch with the volunteer coordinator.
“We have been providing these services since the 90s. Just because someone doesn’t report an assault, doesn’t mean that they can’t receive our services. It is important that we let victims know that we are here. We can assist them in making that report to law enforcement, if that makes them feel more comfortable,” Lawson said.
For more information, visit savacenterga.org, or call (706) 861-0929. The helpline is (706) 419-8775.