We are victim centered. Our work includes helping to enact legislation, both state and federal, presenting at seminars, giving press conferences and generally working to raise awareness.
The mission of H-E-A-R-T is to provide HOPE for victims of sexual assault through the provision of essential and therapeutic support, by affecting positive change in laws influencing their lives, and by educating both the public and professionals commissioned to serve victims. A vital issue in this matter involves the use of DNA. To enhance that use, H-E-A-R-T will promote the continued use of DNA, and through educating legislators, law enforcement officials, and others, promote it’s expanded use and continued improvement. H-E-A-R-T promotes victim empowerment and encourages the public to have a greater understanding of and respect for sexual assault victims.
Our approach to helping rape victims is to provide them with some sense of security after this trauma that shakes the very foundation of the life they once knew. With the donations we receive, we will provide a change of locks, a simple alarm system, a few of nights away in a hotel or even assist with the expenses of moving to a new location. We want to do whatever we can to make this victim feel that she/he can and will survive this ordeal. We will also provide funds for child care or to replace lost wages in order that the victim will be able to attend court and prosecute the rapist, eliminating him as a threat to others. Victim-2-Victim Retreats are offered twice per year to provide specific training to enable victims to understand their ordeal, speak out, establish a network with other victims, and begin their journey on the pathway to healing.
Debbie has appeared on TV talk shows, including 60 Minutes, Oprah, Jane Pauley, John Walsh and Biography Channel’s “I Survived”. She has been interviewed in numerous national magazines and newspapers. Lifetime TV produced a TV movie entitled, “A Life Interrupted”, about Debbie’s battle to pass legislation reference DNA. The movie is available through iTunes. Debbie has served on several boards of other agencies to assist with aiding victims of all crimes. She has been appointed to four different state boards in Virginia by three different governors.