Date: February 16, 2023
Categories: Press Release

LEXINGTON, Virginia – On Thursday, February 16, Augusta Health celebrated the opening of their Augusta Health Forensic Nursing Center with a Ribbon Cutting hosted by the Lexington-Rockbridge Chamber of Commerce.

In partnership with Project Horizon, the Augusta Health Forensic Nursing Center will serve pediatric and adult victims of sexual and domestic violence, strangulation, and human trafficking from Rockbridge County, Lexington, and Buena Vista. There will be an Augusta Health forensic nurse on-call to do exams and Project Horizon will have advocates available on-call 24-7 to either transport or meet the victim at the new forensic center.

“When survivors of sexual and domestic violence are told they will have to travel at least an hour to receive a forensic medical exam, they often turn down this important service,” said Judy Casteele, Executive Director of Project Horizon. This is what motivated her and her staff at Project Horizon to attend the Family Justice Center Conference a few years ago. “We learned a lot about The Family Justice Center model at that conference, but that concept, which is perfect for urban areas, had to be adjusted to work best for our area.”

In 2021, Casteele pitched the idea of a satellite forensic nursing center in Lexington to a team of leaders at Augusta Health, and their leaders knew it was a critical service for the Rockbridge community. Before, many victims would travel approximately 40 miles north to the Fishersville Forensic Center location, having a center in Lexington will allow for access to support and evidence to be collected in a much timelier manner. It was a perfect concept, and Augusta Medical Group was able to offer free office space attached to Augusta Health Primary Care in Lexington. The space is convenient as it is close to Project Horizon and its multidisciplinary team partner agencies, including the Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Office. The space has its own private entrance and waiting area.

Augusta Health forensic nurses are registered nurses with specialized training in the collection of evidence, injury identification, detailed documentation, expert witness testimony in court, consultation with investigative agencies, and maintaining the privacy and dignity of all patients. Based on the exam results, a forensic nurse can help get the right treatment and support. The Augusta Health Foundation has also been very involved with making this happens and provides continuous support for both Fishersville and Lexington Forensic Nursing Center locations. “We are so grateful to everyone who worked so tirelessly to make it happen,” Casteele said.

For more information, please contact Project Horizon at 540-463-2594 or by emailing

About Project Horizon
Project Horizon began in 1982 as a grassroots effort to provide confidential services free of charge to battered women in the Rockbridge County area. What began as a small group of women around a kitchen table has grown into a comprehensive, accredited program serving the Rockbridge community. From working directly with survivors and victims to providing education and violence prevention programs, Project Horizon is now a recognized leader in efforts locally and statewide to address the pervasive problem of domestic and sexual violence.

About Augusta Health
Augusta Health is an independent, community-owned, not-for-profit hospital whose mission is to promote the health and well-being of its community through access to excellent care. Over the years, Augusta Health has been recognized by many external rating organizations: 100 Top Hospitals in America, HealthGrades’ America’s 50 Best Hospitals, US News and World Report Best Regional Hospital, and Leapfrog Top Hospital 2020. For more information about Augusta Health, its programs, or its services, please visit the website,