Services we offer in Washington County, VT
SACT provides one-on-one, individualized services for people who have experienced sexual harm. Sexual harm against one person impacts the entire community and we are here to support you, your friends, family, school, associations, and more.
Everyone responds to sexual harm differently. You are not alone. We can provide a listening ear, help you sort through your thoughts and responses, and offer some possible explanations for some of the ways you may be feeling. We also offer other, more tangible resources, when the need arises.
You do not need to identify as in crisis, or as having experienced a sexual assault or assaults in order to reach out. Sexual harm can impact us throughout our lives and now may be the time for you to reach out.
- 24-hour, 7-day/week HOTLINE (802) 479-5577.
- Hospital advocacy at Sexual Assault Nurse Examinations (SANE) to provide support and inform people who have experienced harm of their options.
- Emergency shelter for people who are homeless due to fleeing sexual violence.
- Support, training, education, school, and community programs.
- Referrals to and support in accessing community services and programs.
If You’ve Just Experienced Sexual Harm:
You have options–whether or not to report the assault, seek medical attention, and more. Medical attention is recommended, whether or not you report the assault to authorities. Calling your local hotline can help you sort through your options. If you are located in Washington County, Vermont, call: 802-479-5577 to reach the Sexual Assault Crisis Team hotline. The advocates are trained to explain all your options to you and support you in whatever way you choose. Anything you tell the advocate will be considered confidential (except in cases where child abuse or neglect is suspected) and will never be told to anyone else without your consent.
Many people would prefer to talk to a friend or family member about what happened. It is always your choice to do so, and may be what you need to do to process and heal. Please note that sharing details about what happened to you with people other than SACT advocates may mean that they have to become part of any investigation, should an investigation be started.
If you decide to go to the hospital
SACT recommends that you seek medical care, whether or not you request a full SANE exam (see below). It is important to assess your risk of sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy, and to have your other medical needs evaluated. This can be done without making any kind of report to authorities if you are eighteen years or older.
You will be able to decide whether to have an exam called a Sexual Assault Nurse Examination (SANE) using a type of kit that will be anonymous and used to gather all evidence. This kit and your file will be given a number only. No associated name will be used. Once you are given the number, you will have a few months to decide whether or not you want to move forward and report to the police.
You will be able decide to report the rape or assault at the hospital. If you decide to do so, a police officer may come to visit you at that time, or may make a plan for later.
If you are eighteen years or older, you have the right to decide whether or not you’d like to report the rape or assault. We strongly recommend that you talk to a confidential advocate before making any decision. Additionally, it is important to understand that your case will be investigated as soon as you speak to law enforcement, a representative of Title IX, college staff/faculty or security (if you are in college).
Regardless of which option you choose, a medical exam and any associated costs are paid for by the Vermont Center for Crime and Victim Services.
Preserving any available evidence
You may request a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examination) at the emergency department in order to collect evidence, and decide later whether or not you want to report. You will want to bring a full change of clothing with you. If you choose this route, the SANE kit will likely produce more information if you do not:
- Change your clothes
- Shower, bathe, douche
- Brush your hair or teeth
- Wash your hands
- Eat or drink anything
If you have already removed the clothing you were wearing during the assault, fold them inward, into themselves. Don’t shake them out or wash them. Place them in a paper bag (be sure the bag is not plastic, as plastic will cause moisture and encourage mold-growth). If you do not have a paper bag, place the clothes in a clean pillow case. Bring them with you to the hospital.
If the assault happened in your home or dorm room, do not clean up the room. Leave everything exactly as it was during the assault so that law enforcement can collect evidence.
Regardless of whether or not you choose to report the assault, help is available 24⁄7 from trained sexual assault advocates
SACT offers a variety of services to support people who have experienced sexual harm.
Bobbi’s Place Shelter
SACT has an eight-bed emergency, temporary shelter located in Barre, VT that serves people of all genders who are homeless due to fleeing sexual violence. In honor of survivor and former Executive Director, Bobbi Gagne, whose vision and determination brought it to fruition, SACT’s shelter is called Bobbi’s Place.
Bobbi’s Place is a safe place to rest, assess, and rebuild following sexual harm. Stays are temporary and include significant support from Advocates to help access services such as permanent housing, employment, and more. If you are in need of shelter due to sexual violence, please contact SACT’s hotline to learn more and inquire about availability of shelter beds: 802-479-5577.
Bobbi’s Place beds are prioritized for residents of Washington County, VT. However, as space allows, SACT works to support people from other areas who have experienced sexual harm and need to relocate for safety reasons.