LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — At the newly expanded Las Vegas Rape Crisis Center, Executive Director Daniel Staple has been busier than ever before in the first six months of 2019.
Requests for sexual assault group counseling has skyrocketed by 84% in the first six months of the year, critical one-on-one therapy is up by 32%, and calls to the center's crisis hotline have gone up by 15%.
"We never want any victim of sexual assault to go through it alone," Staple says.
She says the number of sexual assaults volunteers responded to stayed flat over the same period of time that calls for support services steadily rose, an indicator many victims were no longer afraid or ashamed to seek help.
"They are inspired by what they've seen with the Me Too movement, with Time is Up," Staple says.
She says the Rape Crisis Center is looking for people to join those already helping victims in their moments of crisis.
Applicants need to be 21, pass a background check and drug test, and complete a 50 hour training course before they can work at the crisis center.
She acknowledges it can be a lot of work for some people, but says it was worth it when a sexual assault survivor tells a volunteer how much their services helped them.
"Be like, I'm really doing well and I just wanted to let you know how much you helped me," Staple says. "That is the greatest reward we can ever hear."
Staple says they have a training course scheduled for August 20, and volunteer hopefuls would need to submit their applications by August 16 to be considered for that round of training.
She and her crew will need even more help soon because, despite the extra stress on their staff, they plan to expand their services outside of the office.
Staple announced Friday they would be assigning two volunteers to every police station in the valley who would be on call 24/7 to provide advice and emotional support to victims as soon as they report their assault.
Staple says they've worked through a pilot program at the Northwest Las Vegas Command Post for nearly a year.
"Where we could have private conversations, what would our response time be, how can we make this work?" she says.
The Rape Crisis Center Hotline is open for survivors at (702) 366-1640 24/7 for anyone in need of support.