SCVP to stop service in Lunenburg

Published 1:04 pm Wednesday, February 19, 2020

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The Southside Center for Violence Prevention (SCVP) will be dramatically reducing its service area effective July 1, 2020.

As a result of the reduction, Lunenburg County will no longer utilize the services of the SCVP.

The non-profit organization provides free, confidential and comprehensive services to those affected by domestic and sexual violence. It previously served the counties of Amelia, Brunswick, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Powhatan and Prince Edward.

The reduction in coverage means that the use of SCVP’s services will only be available to the counties of Amelia, Buckingham, Cumberland, Nottoway and Prince Edward come July.

SCVP Executive Director Dr. Michele Laaksonen said in a statement to The K-V Dispatch that the decision to reduce the coverage area comes after a recommendation by grantors concerned about the organization’s ability to secure state/federal funding and sustainability.

Laaksonen said that at the organizational level, many nonprofits struggle with being able to maintain adequate staffing with salaries that are rarely competitive with the for-profit sector. Organizations like SCVP also sometimes struggle with ensuring accessibility of services to their clients, particularly in rural areas, as well as finding allied professions/organizations that will refer clients and enter into grant partnerships.

At the state and federal levels, nonprofits often struggle to compete for very limited funding.

Laaksonen said the organization took the recommendation of its grantors seriously, particularly in light of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Virginia’s decision to block SCVP’s application needed for accreditation in most of the current service area.

She advised that those wondering what can be done to aid the organization can help by utilizing the services of nonprofits when in need and by referring those they know who are in need of any services.

Individuals can donate their time or money, discuss concerns with elected officials and advocate for the passing of legislative acts that protect and fund these programs.

Lunenburg County Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Clement said in late January he would possibly reconsider the county’s participation in SCVP’s forensic advocacy program after Prince Edward Commonwealth’s Attorney Megan Clark raised questions about the forensic examinations performed by SCVP and whether they could be challenged in court cases under allegations of bias.

After the reduction in service area come July, counties like Lunenburg that lost coverage will no longer be able to utilize any of SCVP’s services, including crisis intervention, psychological evaluation, short-term counseling and therapy, psychoeducation, peer-support and forensic advocacy.

“Just like in the work we do with survivors, we encourage the public to become educated on issues that affect them, to make informed decisions, and to advocate for themselves to ensure they receive the services they want or need. In this situation, that means learning about the business, the politics, and the challenges of nonprofits,” Laaksonen said.