History of The Rape Crisis Center
In 1981, several members of the Brazos County District Attorney’s Office began to discuss the need for services to victims of sexual assault. Beginning in December of 1981, three individuals, Justice of the Peace Carolyn Hensarling, District Attorney Travis B. Bryan, III, and Assistant District Attorney Carolyn Ruffino, became the incorporators of Brazos County Rape Crisis Center, Inc., a non-profit, private corporation. At its annual meeting in 1982, the incorporating members were elected to the Board of Directors, adopted the by-laws and established polices and procedures for the operation of the organization.
During 1982 and 1983, training of volunteers began. The center opened in October of 1983. Meetings with area law enforcement agencies and more in-depth training programs were set up for all new volunteers which continued from 1984-present, with over 1,000 volunteers having been trained to date. Training sessions are held in the Spring, Fall and Winter and continuous in-service training sessions are held for continuing volunteers, with an annual review a requirement in addition to a screening process in order to be considered an active volunteer.
The overall purpose of the Rape Crisis Center, Brazos Valley (RCCBV), is designed to provide support services to all victims of sexual assault, to reduce the number of sexual assaults, and to increase the number of convictions. These purposes are designed to be accomplished through goals in a three-fold area.
First, the center continues to improve its on-going victim-oriented procedures throughout the entire community and outreach counties. Support services are offered to victims of sexual assault by a trained volunteer during the hospital exam, police investigation and statement giving, and court proceedings, as well as to enhance empathetic treatment of the victims by law enforcement, medical, and prosecutorial personnel. These personnel participate in our training program, belong to our Sexual Assault Task Force, are represented on our Board of Directors, and the Executive Director of the center and representatives of the agencies are in continuous communication to improve treatment of victims and to assist each other with cases, including educational seminars presented by the center to the agencies on a regular basis, both one-on-one and group presentations. The center also provides support groups for adult and adolescents Victim/survivors of sexual assault. Individual support counseling by appointment and 24-hour hotline are also provided.
Secondly, the center continues giving speeches to the community, showing public service announcements (PSAs) on television and announcing them on the radio, and participating in community educational seminars. All these help to alter the communities’ concepts regarding the crime of sexual assault and its many myths, increase their awareness of sexual assault prevention techniques, increase their awareness of services the center provides, and increase public support for the community wide efforts to financially fund the center’s programs. These services will help to reduce the number of sexual assaults.
Thirdly, the center is directed toward improving the criminal justice proceedings in order to increase reporting of the crime, increase investigations for arrest, increase prosecution of sexual assault cases, and increase the number of convictions.
The staff at the center includes an Executive Director, Assistant Director, Coordinator of Volunteers, Staff Assistant and a Direct Service Provider. The center is governed by a Board of Directors, which consists of 19 members.
The center continues to grow. Survivors are contacting the center at an increased rate, including survivors who were sexually assaulted before a rape crisis center existed in Bryan. The Friends of the Family program, a program for 13-17 year old adolescents, continues to be successful in providing child victims of sexual assault all of our support services, which were not available to them before our program. The Center has opened almost 5,000 cases since its opening in 1983, and opens approximately 1,300-1,500 new cases per year.
Services offered by the center include the following: 24 hour hotline, 24 hour escort (to hospitals, police departments, and court), speaker’s bureau/public education, individual support counseling by appointment, Friends of the Family Program, support groups for adults sexually abused or molested as children, sexually abused teens, court monitoring and anonymous and confidential support across the Internet.
Funding for BCRCC, Inc., is provided by: Brazos County United Way, Brazos County, Nina Astin Winkler Trust, State of Texas Attorney General’s Office, Violence Against Women Act and Victims of Crime Act -Texas Governor’s Office, Criminal Justice Divison, Fundraisers, and Donations.
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