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Project Empower

When experts from many different areas come together, we can make a difference. That’s why the team at Project Empower works around-the-clock to help families who experience violence intimate partner (domestic) violence, sexual violence or human trafficking, and are connected to VCU Health, VCU or the communities we serve.

You may be eligible for services if you are a:

  • Patient or employee of VCU Health
  • Pregnant and have children younger than 2
  • Student or employee of VCU

Our Services

Here, you can count on support from trained advocates. Our free and confidential services include:

  • Legal Advocacy (protective orders, reporting, appts)
  • Resource support (shelter, transportation, food/necessities)
  • Crisis intervention and Safety Planning
  • In-hospital support (forensic appts, health appts, inpatient stays)
  • Community-based advocacy
    • Referral to local centers
    • K-12 schools/McKinney-Vento Act
    • Landlords
    • Universities/Title IX
    • Workplaces
  • Referral to our IVPP Counseling program


At Project Empower, we follow federal and state regulations regarding access for people with disabilities. These include:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA)
  • ADA Standards for Accessible Design
  • Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

And providing accessible care means ensuring that all patients have the right to receive care at VCU Health without regard to:

  • Age
  • Culture
  • Ethnicity
  • Genetic information
  • Language
  • Marital status
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Pregnancy
  • Protected veteran status
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation, gender identity or expression
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Any other protected status

From interpreters for those who sign or do not speak English, to information in large print, audio and electronic formats, we are here with free aids and services to help people with disabilities communicate.

If you need assistance, please call Language Services at (804) 628-1116 or reach out to a patient resource coordinator at (804) 628-0400.

Read our Patient and Visitor Notice of Non-Discrimination.

To learn more about patient and crime victim rights:

Patient Bill of Rights and Responsibilities (English)

Read Virginia’s Victims’ Bill of Rights

Training & Technical Assistance

“Go-to” Resource for hospital-based injury intervention and prevention program development and growth. We assist other hospital-based programs growing the expertise needed to develop and sustain new programs.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Community Violence Intervention
  • Youth Violence Prevention
  • Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence, and Human Trafficking advocacy and intervention
  • Intimate Partner Violence and Human Trafficking screening
  • Gendered violence prevention
  • Geriatric Falls prevention
  • Distracted and Impaired prevention and education
  • Substance abuse and misuse education and court diversion program

Services Provided

  • Program development, including:
    • Job Descriptions
    • Employee requirements
    • Resume review
    • Interview assistance
  • Virtual or in-person staff onboarding
  • One-on-One Coaching
  • In-person site visits
  • Shadowing at VCU Health
  • Program Evaluation
  • Program Sustainability
  • Grant review, and application support
  • Assistance as needed

Special Topic Webinars

  • Pitfalls and Lessons Learned
  • Data collection and management
  • Building a community resource network
  • Trauma-informed care
  • Violence as a public health issue
  • Barriers to accessing health, education, and employment
  • Screening for Intimate Partner, domestic and sexual violence
  • The intersection between domestic violence and community violence
  • Rapport building
  • Identifying social determinants of health
  • Overcoming bias
  • Implicit bias training

Interested in learning more?

Amy Vincent, MSW
Assistant Director of IVPP

Contact Us

Reach Project Empower by phone: (804) 628-3361

Email the team: projectempower@vcuhealth.org

Contact us by mail:

Project Empower
West Hospital
Box 980141
Richmond, VA 23298

After-Hours Support

While the Project Empower team is not on-site around the clock, the Regional Hospital Accompaniment Response Team (RHART) provides additional support. 

Our Partners & Connected Resources

If you have an emergency, please dial 911.  
Help is also available around the clock from emergency medical technicians with agencies such as the Richmond Ambulance Authority, and from Richmond Behavioral Health (RBH)

Please note: The local agencies listed may not offer walk-in services or could have limited staff members on site. Please call before traveling to a physical location.

Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance works to create a Virginia free from sexual and domestic violence by providing help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via chat, text (804) 793-9999 or hotline (800) 838-8238.

They also operate the Project for the Empowerment of Survivors, designed to assist survivors who need legal support beyond what’s provided locally.

Contact the Action Alliance office at (804) 377-0335.

Virginia Victims Fund (VVF) is a state program created to help victims of violent crime with out-of-pocket expenses. VVF covers items such as medical bills, prescriptions, funeral expenses and more.

The LGBTQ+ Helpline (866) 356-6998 is operated by Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance.

The Virginia Anti-Violence Project (VAVP) is Virginia’s only statewide anti-violence agency focused on the LGBTQ+ community. Check their website for current services. 
General information is available by email requests to info@virginiaavp.org. Or survivors can reach VAVP team directly at vavpadvocacyandservices@virginiaavp.org.
The agency also offers training and technical assistance to allied professionals and organizations. Requests for VAVP training or outreach can be made completing this Google form.

Side by Side is dedicated to creating supportive communities for Virginia’s LGBTQ+ youth and support for families and caregivers, so young people can define themselves, belong and flourish. Check their website for current services.

You can reach Side by Side through social media, their contact page or by phone at (804) 644-4800. 

Youth needing assistance may call (888)-644-4390, anytime. The Action Alliance team monitors the Youth Support Line around-the-clock.

Latinos in Virginia Empowerment (LIVE) Center (Latinos en Virginia Centro de Empoderamiento) serves Spanish-speaking communities across Virginia and has multicultural staff who speak multiple languages. 

You can reach LIVE’s Spanish hotline at (888) 969-1825, send an email to hola@latinosenvirginia.org or contact LIVE by phone at (804) 658-3341.

Planned Parenthood is a trauma-informed, survivor-centered healthcare provider with several locations in Virginia.

Bon Secours Mercy Health is another resource for forensic services in the Richmond area.

EmpowerNet is a collaborative of local sexual and domestic violence agencies in the greater Richmond area.
It provides a 24/7/365 hotline and text service (804) 612-6126   to coordinate

Local sexual and domestic violence agencies offer many services. It’s best to contact local agencies directly for details about individual or family needs and services, as services may vary. For example, each support group is not offered weekly. The focus and languages spoken in these groups may vary as well.

  • Hanover Safe Place serves Ashland and Hanover County. Office line (804) 752-2702.

  • Safe Harbor serves Henrico County. Office line (804) 249-9470.

  • The James House serves the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell and Petersburg, as well as Dinwiddie, Prince George, Surry, Sussex and parts of Chesterfield Counties. The James House also responds to Fort Lee. Office line (804) 458-2704.

  • YWCA of Richmond serves the city of Richmond and parts of Chesterfield. Office line (804) 643-6761.

National organizations that offer direct services (such as a hotline, chat and/or text) include:

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline

  • Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN).