Rape Crisis Center increases volunteer training with expansion

Adult survivor support groups used to be unable to meet while The Rape Crisis Center was training new volunteers so it could address the growing need for services.

The center, 801 S. Rancho Drive, Suite B-2, can now do both simultaneously after its 2,800-square-foot office expanded into a neighboring suite in September, adding 1,100 square feet. In fact, it can now train volunteers three times per year instead of two. Sessions were held in spring and fall and will now take place during summer, too.

“Previously, people have expressed interest in training, but spring and fall doesn’t work for them,” said Claudia Magana, volunteer coordinator.

The number of clients needing assistance from center volunteers at the hospital has increased 23 percent over last year, said Daniele Dreitzer, executive director. Also, calls to the center’s hotline are up 12 percent over last year, and the number of volunteer hours rose 11 percent.

“There’s a huge need for volunteers helping us go to the hospital and answer our hotline calls,” Magana said.

The center currently has 11 full-time employees and about 40 active volunteers. The next round of volunteer training sessions is scheduled to start Feb. 8, and the deadline to apply is Jan. 28. Fifty hours of instruction are provided over five weeks.

The center’s added space also will allow it to offer more counseling, as well as launch a teen support group and a parent support group, which it plans to do in December, Dreitzer said. Currently, the center offers only adult survivor support groups.

“The ones that we’re adding are actually therapeutic-led,” Dreitzer said.

People who want to attend the adult support groups can just show up, but those who want to participate in the teen groups must contact the center beforehand.

“If they’re interested, they should call,” Dreitzer said. “That will be a closed group. It’ll probably be capped at 12. It will be a formalized 12-session program.”

Counseling hours at the center also have increased, up 80 percent over last year, due in part to a Spanish-speaking counselor being hired. To help meet the demand, the center plans to add Saturday counseling hours thanks to the added space, Dreitzer said.

Dreitzer said the uptick in the need for services may be due in part to increased media coverage about sexual assault.

“We believe more people are feeling comfortable coming forward, and the fact that, as an issue, this is coming out of the shadows,” Dreitzer said. “There’s a lot of social media conversation about sexual assault; there’s a lot of public awareness about the issue.”

Most people are sexually assaulted by individuals with whom they are familiar, such as family members, she said.

“Particularly with children, we know it’s primarily family members,” she said.

To help address that issue, the center recently expanded its Enough Abuse campaign, which aims to combat and raise awareness about child abuse. The campaign is led in partnership with Prevent Child Abuse Southern Nevada and involves offering presentations to groups that are interested around the valley.

Visit rcclv.org or call 702-385-2153. The 24/7 hotline is 702-366-1640.

— To reach Henderson View reporter Cassandra Keenan, email ckeenan@viewnews.com or call 702-383-0278. Find her on Twitter: @CassandraKNews.

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