Teal House finds a new home

"The Teal House is a non-profit sexual assault support center. The organization has decided to move into a more spacious facility."

Brendan Ward


The Teal House is moving to a new location in October because they have outgrown their current location.

Their new location, 209 S. College St., is just down the street from their current location.

What is it?

The Teal House or Statesboro Regional Sexual Assault Center is a nonprofit sexual assault and child advocacy center that provides emotional and advocacy support for victims of sexual assault in Bulloch, Jenkins and Screven county.

Their goal is to support and empower victims of sexual assault through the process of recovery.

They also act as a buffer between the victim and the police and provide victims with the information they need to pursue legal action if desired and to learn to handle life post assault.

“Our two biggest jobs are making sure that victims are well informed and that they feel supported,” Christie Perry, executive director of the Teal House said.

Why Are They Moving?

The current Teal House building is a small four room building with one room dedicated to the forensic exams and another dedicated to the forensic interviews. This only leaves two rooms free for the three full time staff members to use.

The current waiting room doubles as the office of the executive director and the assistant for victim services was using the forensic interview room as her office. The SANE coordinator’s office is also being used as storage as well as being the room that law enforcement use to oversee the forensic interviews.

The new building will have individual offices for all the full time staff members, dedicated storage and a dedicated waiting room for victims.

With the new building, they also plan to hire a full time therapist to offer in house counseling to victims.

What Services They Offer

The SRSAC offers a variety of services to the Statesboro community.

24 Hour Crisis Line

They have a crisis line that provides support and information to victims of sexual assault. The crisis line is manned by trained professionals that are available 24 hours a day every day of the week. The crisis line can be reached at 1-866-489-2225.

Medical Accompaniment

They offer medical accompaniments in which trained professionals accompany victims to forensic exams and provide support and information during the exam.

Forensic Exams

They also offer onsite forensic exams by Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, who are specially trained, certified nurses who are trained to collect any evidence. The collected evidence is then turned over to the police to aid in their investigation.

Forensic Interviews

Forensic interviews are similar to the exams, except the goal is to get the victim to talk about their abuse.

The forensic interviews are offered as an alternative to going directly to the police.

The Teal House has a specific room dedicated to these interviews where a victim can go and speak to a staff member in a more friendly environment. The interviews are recorded and supervised by law enforcement and used in their investigation.

Forensic interviews are used on child victims, as well as adults, but they must be ordered by law enforcement.

“[Interviews] have to be ordered by either law enforcement or [Department of Child and Family Services],” said Perry. “It has to come as part of an investigation.”

In-Person Crisis Intervention Counseling

Short-term crisis intervention counseling is available to victims of sexual assault and their family and friends.

Information & Referral

The SRSAC offers information about sexual assault to victims. They will also refer other social service agencies to victims who request additional services.

Advocacy

The SRSAC offers advocates to victims. Advocates support and accompany victims throughout the legal processing, providing help where it is needed.

All these services are confidential and free of charge.

Getting Help

There are a few different ways that a victim can get help from the Teal House.

Victims can voluntarily get help by either calling the Teal House’s crisis line or by calling and scheduling an exam. Anyone who reports an assault to a hospital or to the police will be directed to the Teal House as well.

Once a victim shows up at the Teal House, they chose what services they want. They will never be pressured to make a certain decision or take a certain action. 

“We wouldn’t try to encourage anyone to make a certain decision, we would just make sure they have all the information necessary to make the decision about what they need,” Meghan Mercer, assistant for victim services at the Teal House said.

S.A.N.E Program

SRSAC offers a program to nurses called the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program.

Under this program nurses and nurse practitioners are trained to provide forensic examinations to victims, as well as care to survivors of assault.

To become a SANE, one must have a current Georgia nursing license, at least two years of nursing experience, up to date malpractice insurance and a current CPR certification.

Individuals who meet these requirements must go through a 40-hour didactic course and a 40-hour clinical preceptorship. These two programs are designed to provide nurse examiners with the knowledge to properly assess, examine and collect forensic evidence.

SANEs are required to be on call either a 12-hour shift or a 24-hour shift to provide examinations to victims. An average exam lasts between two to five hours with the average time being about 3 hours.

For more information on the SANE program, email the SANE Coordinator at [email protected]

Events

The SRSAC has a few upcoming events in 2017.

The Sexual Assault Survivors Conference will be held on Sept. 30 in the Statesboro Holiday Inn from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. There is a $20 registration fee to attend.

The conference is hosted by the SRSAC and provides survivors classes and workshops on a variety of topics ranging from self-care and stress-management to cooking and yoga.

There will be multiple workshops led by professionals during the conference. A few of the listed sessions include: Inhale Courage, Exhale Fear, Nutrition on a Budget and Survivor Process Group.

More information about the conference can be found on the SRSAC website under the SAS Conference tab.

Get Involved

The Teal House offers a few different ways to get involved.

College students can apply for an internship with the Teal House. Students with experience in PR, healthcare, marketing, business, or graphic design are preferred, but they welcome students of any major.

To get more information about an internship email Christie Perry at [email protected]

Another way to get involved is to become a volunteer advocate. Advocates must go through 30 hours of training before they can have any direct contact with a victim.

The training covers the definition of sexual assault, statistics involving sexual assault, child sexual abuse, as well as the skills that advocates should have and role-playing so advocates can practice what they learned.

Once the advocate finishes training they would then shadow an experienced advocate during a medical exam. Advocates are expected to man the 24-hour crisis hotline and provide accompaniment to victims.

For information on becoming a volunteer advocate email Meghan Mercer at [email protected]

Finally they accept donations on their website under the donation tab.