LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Family Crisis Center of East Texas has provided an essential service for sexual assault and domestic violence victims for the past 30 years. Taking on the role of answering the crisis hotline is vital in more ways than one.
In 1979, two women used their home telephones as emergency numbers for women in need of crisis intervention. 30 years later that same service is used and provided for men and women in East Texas.
"You have to know that no crisis call is going to be the same as any other crisis call. You have to be well equipped to handle all kinds of situations," said Family Crisis Center advocate Jaime West.
Domestic violence has been viewed as a vicious cycle but advocates Jaime West have stepped in to break it and provide support.
"Our crisis hotline is 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. And we get the question sometimes if our hotline is answered locally or is it outsourced," said Family Crisis Center Executive Director Heather Kartye.
Every staff member at the center is trained to handle crisis hotline phone calls.
In 2012, the Family Crisis Center Crisis Hotline received more than 5,000 calls. That's roughly 14 calls a day.
Each call made to the 24 hour crisis hotline is documented.
"We actually go through the crisis sheet and there are a lot of questions pertaining to specifics of the case of the abuse," West said. "Throughout the call we reinstate we're here to help you, we're going to help you, and we're just trying to figure out your goals."
Advocates may never know when a call is going to come through or when someone may be seeking help from other outreach agencies in the state.
"If an individual doesn't qualify for services here at our agency, we try to connect them to another resource that can help them whether they're looking for shelter, counseling, or food," Kartye said.
In some instances calls are made to the crisis hotline first before they are made to 911. At any given time a trained advocate is assigned to handle the victims' urgent needs.