Victim Services of Big Spring is a non-profit organization that focuses on providing the necessary assistance and direct quality service to all victims of violent crime. Our goal is to provide crisis intervention and continuing support to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, homicide and other violent crimes as well as their families. We focus on rendering needed services to speed their recovery from the victimization and to assist them throughout the medical, legal, and criminal justice process.
Created as Rape Crisis in 1984, we serve a six county area which includes Howard, Martin, Glasscock, Mitchell, Borden, and Dawson counties. Our service area encompasses approximately 5,400 square miles serving approximately 50,000 people. We are a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year service. We are able to provide these services with a staff of (3) three and also trained volunteers on an on-call basis.
Services include crisis intervention to provide emotional support and guidance to the victim, usually at the emergency room, police department, or sheriff’s department. Follow-up contact is also made to track the victim’s progress and provide further emotional support and direction. This may include justice support and advocacy which assists and supports the victim throughout the legal and criminal justice process, informing him/her of criminal procedures, preparing the victim for court, assisting with victim impact statements, keeping the victim informed of the case status, and escorting the victim to court.
Emergency legal advocacy is provided to victims by preparing all paperwork for applications for protective orders, temporary protective orders, and final protective orders. assistance in applying for Crime Victims Compensation is given to all eligible victims. We assist the victim in securing his/her rights and securing all remedies available to the victim.
Emergency financial assistance is often given to assist the victim in locating emergency monies within the community. Victim Services often pays for emergency needs such as food, shelter, clothing, or transportation.
Staff also provides crime prevention/education activities.
In the past year, Victim Services has begun to assist local law enforcement in death notifications and aid the families of suicide.
Rape Crisis Services of Big Spring was initiated in May 1984. The Director, Assistant Director, and a 15 member Advisory Board were appointed in June 1984.
Start up of services was funded entirely by individual donations and staffed by volunteers. Director Mary Kenny and Assistant Director Gail Earls were the driving forces behind the organization of the services. The decision to organize this service was a result of encouragement from the Big Spring Police Department, Howard County
Sheriff’s Office, the 118th District Attorney’s Office, Malone-Hogan Hospital, and the Blue Blazers (Women’s Division of the Chamber of Commerce). Members of these agencies also accepted position on the original Advisory Board.
In July 1983, both Earls and Kenny attended the Speaker’s Bureau Training on Rape presented by Carolyn Gilmore, Abilene Rape Crisis Center’s Director. Because of the change in personnel at the Abilene RCC, a training session for Big Spring volunteers was not confirmed until June 1984. The first volunteer training took place August 11th and 18th, 1984 under the direction of Judy Edwards, Abilene RCC’s new director.
Kenny was in contact with and had assistance from the Abilene RCC and Concho Valley’s RCC during this initial period. Both Kenny and Earls reviewed Abilene’s 1982 and 1984 training manuals and Concho Valley’s training manual. From these, they compiled the first manual for RCS/BS.
Cecilia McKenzie joined Mary Kenny and Gail Earls in June 1985 and was made director on March 1, 1985 when Kenny and her husband were transferred to Utah. Cecilia is now with the Governor’s Office in Austin and Gail is serving as Interim Director for RC/VS of Big Sprng.
During the fall of 1985 RCS/BS became Rape Crisis/Victim Services of Big Spring, assisting all victims of violent crimes, with this we began two networking groups. The first group consist of all agencies working with child abuse victims-DHS,Juvenile Probation Office, County Judge, County Attorney, Assistant District Attorney, local social workers, and members of the the Ministerial Alliance.
The second group consists with all agencies dealing with victims or victim offenders-Adult Probation, Big Spring Police Department, Howard County Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office. Both groups have been invaluable learning experiences for all involved and they have been found essential for proper case management by all agencies.