A team from the Concho Valley Rape Crisis Center (CVRCC) has graduated from the Advocacy Learning Center, a national program through the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

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The team includes Karla Payne-Executive Director and Heather Hodge-Director of Victim Services.

The Advocacy Learning Center (ALC) is offered by Praxis International and Manavi in partnership with the Office on Violence Against Women. During the 18-month course, the team focused on strengthening how they engage with survivors of violence, work to improve institutional responses to violence against women, and involve the community in ending violence. “The ALC training really allowed us to realize that we can make a big difference as a small agency,” Heather Hodge said.

Team members traveled to three in-person events and participated in numerous distance learning activities.  Karla Payne also participated in a site visit to Picture the Homeless in New York City, NY to explore new ways of engaging and mobilizing the community, including those most affected by violence. Karla stated, “Picture the Homeless is a grass roots organization that uses the actual people who utilize their services as their spokespersons.  I was truly impressed at the training and organization that goes into their protests and other events.”

The CVRCC was selected to participate as one of only 16 programs from across the country. As graduates of the ALC, they now join 205 programs and 544 advocates who have participated in the ALC.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that one in five women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime and one in three women will be a victim of domestic violence. The programs participating in the ALC are working to end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, prostitution, and human trafficking. The CVRCC’s work includes providing victim assistance to survivors of sexual assault/abuse, providing education/training/awareness to the community of the Concho Valley and providing support services and a safe space for the LGBT+ population of the Concho Valley.

Everyone in the community has a role to play in ending violence against women. For more information about how you can help, contact the Concho Valley Rape Crisis Center at 325-655-2000, or visit their website at http://cv-rcc.org.