Family Crisis Center trains on-call advocates for sexual assault victims

(Source: KTRE Staff)
(Source: KTRE Staff)
(Source: KTRE Staff)
(Source: KTRE Staff)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Friday volunteers at the Family Crisis Center learned how to be the shoulder victims can lean on.

"We're just there to listen and be moral support," said Jamie West, Child Advocate, Family Crisis Center.

After completing Friday's eight hour training these volunteers will be able to serve as on-call advocates for sexual assault victims.

"I see the need and the need is great," said Teresa Matthews, Hudson ISD Intervention Therapist.

Teresa Matthews is an intervention therapist for Hudson ISD and she says the crisis center provides a necessary service to the community and she hopes to be there for any child in need.

"Working in a school system we see sexual assaults and so that's one of the things that prompted me to go ahead and come to this training," said Matthews.

Child advocate Jamie West has been working with the crisis center for almost five years and she says volunteers are learning how no two victims and how no two sexual assaults are ever the same.

But West says the advocates' purpose is to make the victim feel comfortable.

"We do not ask the questions, We don't ask them what happened to them, if they choose to tell us that's totally their decision," said West.

Angelina County Sheriff Greg Sanches says sexual assault crimes are becoming more frequent and says these advocates not only support victims but help authorities solve crimes.

"They feel safe, they feel comfortable to talk to somebody and in return that information helps law enforcement," said Sanches.

West says advocates also follow through with victims, giving them the proper resources to come full circle from victim to survivor.

The Family Crisis Center sexual assault service coordinator is on-call everyday 24/7 year round so these volunteers lend her a helping hand.

Next month in Nacogdoches the crisis center will host another advocate training anyone is welcome.

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