The Volusia Rape Crisis Center (VRCC) may be one of SMA Healthcare’s smaller programs, but its staff is making a major impact. Last year (2018-19), they provided a safe place for 446 victims of sexual assault to talk, cope, and begin to heal. Located in New Smyrna Beach, VRCC is the only sexual assault/rape crisis center located in Volusia County. With a staff of only five individuals — a director, a counselor, and three advocates — the VRCC operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, taking crisis calls for sexual assault.
On any given day (or night), the advocates take calls from police, emergency departments, prisons and jails, crisis stabilization units, and victims themselves. Advocates meet victims where they are, often at the emergency room, to provide comfort and support. Advocates accompany victims throughout forensic exams (which can take up to 5 hours), accompany survivors while they report to law enforcement, and inform victims of their rights. They also assist with transportation, personal needs, and finding shelter for individuals who cannot return home after the assault — and most of that is done in just the first day!
After the initial encounter, advocates meet with survivors, introduce them to the counselor, set up counseling appointments, and offer assistance with victim compensation and relocation benefits. They also provide resources for housing, transportation, jobs, and offer support groups and services. Advocates may also accompany survivors to court dates and help them file protective orders. Advocates provide support to victims by phone or in person for weeks, months, or even years after the assault. Counseling services can continue until the victim is ready to end services, and can begin again at any time a survivor chooses to re-engage. Furthermore, the counselor has the ability to do video conference sessions if a victim has chosen to relocate outside of the county.
In addition to all of that, the staff organizes and participate in six to eight outreach and education events every month. These events may include visits to college campuses and assisted living facilities, Crisis Intervention Training for law enforcement officers, talks at faith-based organizations, and community fairs and walks. The Volusia Rape Crisis Center is more than just a crisis center; it truly is a community needs center that aims to meet the needs of the community through education, care, empowerment, and support.
VRCC is dedicated to helping individuals heal after sexual assault and uses many avenues to achieve empowerment and healing. From equine therapy, self-defense classes, support groups, counseling services, or just a friendly voice to answer questions on the phone, VRCC is there for everyone.
If you were a victim of sexual assault at any time in your life, or know somebody that was, supportive services are available, free of charge. Call 1-800-503-7621 any time, night or day, to see how this small, dedicated staff can help you or others find healing.