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Advocacy, Support, and Care: The Teal House is a refuge for sexual assault victims

A safe space for victims of sexual assault, The Teal House is no cost service that provides advocacy, emotional support, and supportive care. The Teal House plays an important role in our community for child advocacy, an essential resource for children who have been victimized.
Lily Gray, Executive Director of The Teal House

A free service to victims of sexual assault, The Teal House in Statesboro provides advocacy, emotional support, and supportive care to victims of all ages. 

The Statesboro Regional Sexual Assault & Child Advocacy Center is a non-profit organization, designated by the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit and law enforcement agencies to serve Bulloch, Jenkins, Screven, and Effingham Counties. SRSAC is part of the Statesboro area's Sexual Assault Response Team which includes law enforcement, the prosecutor, the advocate, and the Forensic Nurse Examiners. Education, Awareness, and Prevention services are also provided.

The Teal House began back in 2007 when law enforcement, the DA's office, and local individuals requested the need for a sexual assault center. Initially, they only worked out of a local gynecologist's office or the hospital. Back then, the center only served victims over 18 by performing Forensic Medical Exams. 


Fast forward to 2024, and they are now a Dual Sexual Assault/Child Advocacy Center that serves all ages of victims. They provide advocacy through direct services and liaison relationships including medical, legal, social services, and law enforcement. They also provide follow-up support through referrals to other community services.

The Teal House truly feels like walking into a home. The dedicated staff have worked hard to create a warm, caring, and safe environment for those seeking assistance. 

Specialized, compassionate care for victims

The Teal House is now fully equipped with a medical exam room and an observation room that allows them to do forensic interviews. This is a specialized way of interviewing children who may have been assaulted sexually, physically, or mentally, or who may have witnessed a crime. Currently, child advocacy the majority of the work they do in coordination with law enforcement within our circuit and surrounding counties.


With seven Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs), The Teal House is equipped to handle all cases of sexual assault. A SANE is a specially trained, certified nurse who collect evidence for law enforcement. SANEs are on call 24/7 to provide care for victims.

The Teal House provides care for all ages and genders. When a sexual assault victim receives care, an advocate is always present along with the SANE to answer questions, walk them through the exam, and provide comfort. Advocates are volunteers and staff members who are trained to provide emotional support and crisis response to victims.

Lily Gray, Executive Director, says her goal as an advocate is “to make the worst days of a victim’s life a little better," even if she can make them smile for just half a second. She adds, “Medical exams can be long process, taking up to 6 hours. We work at the their pace. It's all about giving the victim their power back.” They comfort victims by offering them a hand to hold, a warm beverage, and a stuffed animal or a blanket. 

For Gray, her passion is working with the children they serve, making them comfortable, spending time with them, and reassuring them that they are in a safe environment. She emphasizes that The Teal House is an essential resource for children who may have been victimized. 

Executive Director, Lily Gray (at left), along with employees. 

Because of the emotional toll working with victims can take on her employees, Gray feels strongly about prioritzing mental health and urges her co-workers to take time and seek therapy for themselves. She wants to ensure they are their best selves so they can be there for the victims.

"I want to make sure we are surviving this too," she said. 

Community support needed

The Teal House relies on state and federal support and grants to fund the center. Since 2021, funding for VOCA (the Victims of Crime Act) has been cut by 50%. This means that more and more often, The Teal House must look locally for donations and host fundraising events to provide the vital care the victims in our community need. 

The Teal House’s biggest fundraiser of the year is The Teal Run, which was held in April during Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention month.

The Teal House also offers community outreach and awareness programs in Bulloch and surrounding counties. Gray says, “It is our goal to reach people far and wide to provide insight and education about who we are, what we do, and how you can reach us for our services."


The Teal House also raises awareness by participating in First Fridays, the Statesboro Mainstreet Farmer’s Market, and other local events. (Be on the lookout for an upcoming fundraiser in the Fall.) 

Gray shares that local donations are so important and helpful to the organization.

"It's important and so close to my heart when people donate and are willing to help, because this is something important for the community," she said. "And we want to able to maintain and continue to provide these services." 

The Teal House can always use help from the community in the form of donations. To help give comfort to victims, some of the most needed items are mini sodas, water, non-perishable snacks, toys, games, coloring books, blankets, and stuffed animals. Donations can also be made here.  

The Teal House is located at 209 South College Street in Statesboro, Georgia. For more information, visit The Teal House website here or contact Lily Gray at [email protected].

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a sexual assault, advocates are available to help 24/7. You are not alone. Please call 1-866-489-2225.