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Voice of Hope sees an increase in sexual violence cases in 2019

Updated: Jan. 7, 2020 at 10:41 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Voice of Hope, a Lubbock crisis intervention center, saw a 15 percent increase in cases in 2019 compared to the year before.

Kristin Murray, the executive director at Voice of Hope, said the organization has seen increases in the past, but not what she would consider statistically significant, like what happened from 2018 to 2019.

Murray said in their 45 years of service, Voice of Hope has only had one year with numbers higher than 2019.

She said said although the year brought bad, it also brought good because the organization was able to reach more people through community education and outreach.

In 2018, Voice of Hope helped 396 people. In 2019, the organization saw 456 new cases. Of those 456, 60 of them were sex trafficking cases.

“To go from 396 to 456 is a pretty big jump,” Murray said.

For sex trafficking cases, Murray said the ages ranged from 15 to 57. For sexual assault cases, their youngest victim was eight months old and the oldest was 82.

“Unfortunately, this can happen to anybody,” Murray said. “It’s not something that hits one side of town or one demographic, this is truly crimes that happen to anybody and it’s a crime of control not a crime of passion.”

Voice of Hope’s services are free and for all people who have found themselves victim to sexual violence at any point in their life.

“We’ll meet you in the emergency room if it’s an emergency type situation, or you can give us a call, we have a 24-hour hotline that our staff and our volunteers man 365 days a year, we also have counselors on staff,” Murray said.

Murray said it is hard to tell why the numbers have increased, but it is possible because of awareness. She said more people seem to be willing to come forward with their story and seek help.

“At the end of the day we just, we don’t know,” Murray said. “We know that we’re there when they call, but if they don’t call, there’s no way for us to know.”

With increasing numbers, Voice of Hope is also increasing their services for 2020. Murray said thanks to a new government grant, they have moved into a bigger space and have hired a new counselor and case worker.

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