NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The Center for Survivors of Sexual Assault is safe and inclusive for all ages.
The Center is the only rape crisis center on the Peninsula with a 24-hour crisis hotline.
The crisis services are completely free. Survivors do not need insurance for one-on-one counseling or support groups.
The staff also offers educational training with colleges and military personnel.
“It is a community issue. It is something that everyone should care about, which is why we feel our work is so important. We want our survivors to feel supported, respected and heard, and listened to,” explained Jessi Brown, The Center Victim Services & Programs Manager. “Sexual violence is so prevalent, more than maybe a lot of people understand.”
The crisis team is funded by the Department of Criminal Justice Services. Trained volunteers assist with answering questions and calls through the hotline.
From January 2021 to August 2022, The Center received 177 hotline calls, offered 148 individual counseling sessions, and provided 108 support group sessions.
Asia Austin, crisis treatment specialist at The Center, works with adults on their journey to healing. Every session is tailored for the survivor.
“I just want to help people. I want to be there for them being that sexual assault is so prevalent now,” said Austin. “When you get into the session, you will learn that they have other sexual assault traumas from the past, from childhood that they never even had the opportunity to talk about.”
To keep the crisis services free for all ages, the Board of Directors must raise money.
“There are more people than we know that are impacted or that are survivors,” said Elsa Vasquez, Board Vice President. “We are here for those people that nobody believes, or nobody wants to hear.”
The Center relies on donations to keep helping survivors.
If you would like to help out, the Board invites you to the “Light of Hope” gala on October 8. The tickets are on sale now.
Check WAVY.com for the latest updates.