Rape Crisis Center celebrates opening of larger Las Vegas office

The Rape Crisis Center has a new, larger office space, which officials said will help its staff better serve the increasing number of sexual assault survivors who are choosing to come forward and seek services in the #MeToo era.

For about a month, Rape Crisis Center staff and volunteers have been operating at the new location, 801 S. Rancho Drive, Suite C3 — a few doors down from its last location.

On Tuesday, Nevada dignitaries including Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, Rep. Steven Horsford and Rep. Dina Titus helped cut a large blue ribbon to signify its grand opening.

The center offers free counseling and crisis support for sexual assault survivors. It also operates a 24/7 crisis hotline, which can be reached at 702-366-1640.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement — which saw film industry figureheads fall after waves of sexual harassment and assault allegations, and later hit casino mogul Steve Wynn — the Las Vegas organization saw a nearly 20 percent jump in hotline calls and a 35 percent increase in counseling clients from 2017 to 2018.

The surge in survivors last year prompted the organization to add a new support group. But it immediately filled up, Executive Director Daniele Staple said.

“It was very tough for us to have to turn people away,” she said.

The new, grant-funded office boasts an additional 3,000 square feet, which allowed the organization to create three new counseling offices and accommodate more survivor groups.

In a handful of offices, there’s more decorating to be done. But for now, the space is meant to be warm and welcoming for Rape Crisis Center clients, who range from people in long-term recovery to people working through the immediate aftermath of an assault.

That’s why the new location isn’t far from the old one — because it is familiar, but also because it is so close to University Medical Center, where Rape Crisis Center advocates are available daily to support survivors who elect to undergo forensic sexual assault exams.

Last year, advocates met with 727 survivors at the medical center. Eleven were 13 or younger. Ten were were 65 or older.

“This is a fabulous, beautiful facility,” Titus said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “What comfort it will give to people who come and avail themselves of your services.”

Contact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3801. Follow @rachelacrosby.

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