Phoenix Project is Awarded Professional Accreditation

In May of this year, Phoenix Project received notice that we have been granted Full Accreditation Status as a domestic violence agency and we could not be more excited over this accomplishment. The process for accreditation, which was started during the height of the pandemic in late 2020, included a thorough look at our Agencies policies and procedures, a site visit from the standards team, and a public vote from the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Professional Standards Committee. The Professional Standards Committee, under Virginia Code § 9.1-116.3, are required to be leadership staff of local sexual and domestic violence programs representative of regional and geographic locations of the Commonwealth that also represent the racial and ethnic diversity of the state. Also included in the Committee are members employed by the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, Department of Social Services, Victim/Witness Program staff, and Millstone International Logistics. The Professional Standards Team Members, who recommended our Agency for full accreditation, are through the Department of Criminal Justice Services.

The creation of the Standards themselves are the culmination of many years of input from the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, Directors of Sexual and Domestic Violence Agencies state-wide, the amended passing of House Bill 2092 and Senate Bill 1094 during the 2015 Regular Session of the Virginia General Assembly, and a great deal of communication between state and local Agencies. It is important to note that Accreditation process is voluntary- Phoenix Project was not mandated to participate in the accreditation process. We chose to participate to ensure that the services we are providing to Front Royal and Warren County residents – the survivors themselves and their families who are at the heart of our mission - are receiving the best we have to offer. The standards we met and the way in which we continue to meet them are survivor-centered, survivor determined, trauma-informed, and of course free and confidential.

The standards themselves are organized into four categories – Administration Standards, Crisis Intervention Standards, Advocacy Standards, and Community Engagement Standards. Written responses were submitted to the Standards Team in January of 2021. In December of 2021 Phoenix Project had our site visit. The visit included a facility tour, an entrance conference with Director Tammy Sharpe, a document and inventory review, interviews with Agency staff and volunteers, and an exit conference with our Director. In 2022, the members of the Professional Standards Committee were interviewed and selected. In May of 2023, the Committee Team made their presentation and recommendation to the voting members of the Professional Standards Committee. Phoenix Project, along with 10 other Agencies, are the first Professionally Accredited Agencies in Virginia.

The following lists the Agencies that made it through this process:

Accredited Sexual and Domestic Violence Agencies

  • Alexandria Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Program (Alexandria)
  • Avalon Center (Williamsburg)
  • Family Violence Sexual Assault Unit (Emporia)
  • GoochlandCares (Goochland)
  • The James House Intervention/Prevention Services, Inc. (Petersburg)
  • Project Horizon (Lexington)
  • Services of Abuse Families, Inc. (Culpeper)
  • Thrive Virginia (New Kent)

Accredited Sexual Assault Agencies

  • The Collins Center and Child Advocacy Center (Harrisonburg)
  • Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault (Fredericksburg)

Accredited Domestic Violence Agencies

  • Phoenix Project (Front Royal)

It is important to note that when Phoenix Project began this process, we had not yet acquired dedicated funding for a Sexual Assault program, so we went through the process as a Domestic Violence Agency, not as a dual Agency. We became a dual Agency, serving survivors of domestic violence AND sexual assault, in January of this year, and hired on a Sexual Assault Advocate to our team.  We are currently building capacity for the sexual assault program which will include medical accompaniment, court advocacy, crisis intervention, counseling, and support for children and families. Once we have our program in place, we will be able to apply for Professional Accreditation as a dual Agency. Our current accreditation status is valid from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2026.

Phoenix Project would like to thank our Board of Directors for their leadership and guidance; our Volunteers and Staff for being the point of care and contact when a victim is in crisis; our Community Partners for believing in our mission and seeing its need locally; our Director, for being the heart of our Agency, and our client-survivors who endure and like a Phoenix, who rise to overcome and rebuild their lives – you are the soul of this work.

“Ensuring freedom from all forms of domestic and sexual violence through empowerment, education, and community.”