SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) – The Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center located in San Marcos is in desperate need of volunteers. Over the past year the organization says it has seen sexual assault cases rise steadily in both counties.
Last year, the organization helped 453 sexual assault victims. So far this year, they have already helped 392 victims. That’s an increase of nearly 20 percent from this time last year.
Each month there are more than 60 shifts for volunteers to fill. On the schedule for June, only two shifts are covered, making members of the full time staff cancel things like counseling appointments when they have to respond to a call.
“This is a year-round issue,” said HCWC Volunteer Coordinator Zoe Arabzadegan, as she sits next to an empty calendar where volunteers have neglected to sign up.
“We understand that people are busy with their families, with work, with other things that they have to do, but even two nights or two days during the month helps a tremendous amount,” said Arabzadegan.
In the past year the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center has seen their sexual assault cases increase. For every case reported at a hospital, someone from the organization responds. In an ideal situation that person would be a volunteer. “In the fiscal year of 2014 – 2015, our hospital response calls went up 54 percent. Right now we are halfway through our fiscal year and we have already surpassed what we did half way through last fiscal year,” said Arabzadegan.
But as the cases increase the volunteers are not, forcing staff on site to leave and prolong the recovery of others. “They would have to cancel appointments with existing clients because they are spending their time at the hospital when that is something a community volunteer could be doing,” said Arabzadegan.
The women’s shelter says they will offer each volunteer with a thorough amount of training, and anyone is capable of doing the job. “They would be there with the victim and if the victim had friends or family with them they would be with them as well. And just give them information about HCWC services,” said Arabzadegan. “I don’t want people to be too afraid to try, because I think if they took that first step, they would really enjoy it.”
If you would like to become a volunteer, you can visit their website here. The next chance for training will be in September.