Move to boost center’s services for rape victims

In order to accommodate more patients and expand services, the Rape Crisis Center moved to a new location April 27.

The center’s relocation from the College of Southern Nevada’s Charleston campus to 801 S. Rancho Drive, Suite B-2, has provided the nonprofit with 1,000 additional square feet and put it in close proximity to the Metropolitan Police Department, the courts and University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, which employs certified forensic examiners specializing in sexual assault cases.

The center’s response time to patients at UMC has dropped from 20 minutes to five. In a situation such as sexual assault, 15 minutes can make all the difference, said the center’s therapist, Debi Bhattacharyya .

“It is critical we get them out of the situation as quickly as possible,” she said.

In addition to the convenient downtown location of the new offices, the center, now with its own offices and classroom space, no longer has to abide by CSN’s schedule.

“Before, everything was disjointed, parking was a problem and classrooms had to be reserved for training and support groups,” executive director Daniele Dreitzer said. “Now everything is under one roof.”

Dreitzer said since coming on board with the nonprofit in March, procuring a more suitable facility was a priority.

“Because we were on a college campus, we dealt with certain challenges,” she said.

Dreitzer said because of the nature of the Rape Crisis Center’s work, wading through a busy academic building posed a potentially uncomfortable situation for patients.

Bhattacharyya has worked as the center’s therapist since 2010 and said the new location is more conducive to training, group therapy sessions and the healing of patients.

“Clients can feel safe and secure,” she said. “It’s very quiet, and the larger offices make people feel more comfortable.”

Bhattacharyya’s new office is nearly twice as large as her previous one, she said.

The Rape Crisis Center saw an average of 15 to 20 patients a week in its previous location. Dreitzer said that with the expanded office space, the center will look to hire an additional counselor, enabling it to increase the number of patients seen on a weekly basis.

“Ideally, we’ll double the number of (patients),” she said. “I don’t think that is outside the realm of possibility.”

The nonprofit receives funding through federal and corporate grants and private donations.

The center helps victims of sexual assault with everything from providing a change of clothes and filling out a police report to courtroom advocacy and long-term therapy.

“It’s amazing, with the prevalence of (sexual assault cases), how few resources there are here,” Dreitzer said. “It helps so much when people get the support they need.”

For more information, visit therapecrisiscenter.org or call 702-385-2153. The center’s 24/7 hot line is 702-366-1640.

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