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About Us

Many people are hurting because of an act of violence committed against them.  Anyone - men, women, and children may be affected by violence.  Our children are subjected to neglect, physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Research shows as many as 1 in 4 girls will be victims of sexual abuse by the time they are 18-years-old. For boys, the number is 1 in 6. Often the abuse is a “family secret” passed from one generation to another.
There is hope and restoration at the Advocacy Center.The Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children began in 1976 as the Waco Rape Crisis Center. It has grown into an umbrella agency with three programs, the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC), The Victims Center, and Prevention and Education – offering many services to the hurting in our community.
The Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children is an umbrella 501(c)(3) non-profit organization of programs that serve to bring about healing to children and adults who are victims of crime and to facilitate change to end violence through advocacy, collaboration and community awareness. If you would like to see a brochure, please download it!

What We Do

The Advocacy Center for Crime Victims & Children is a 501(c)(3) private nonprofit umbrella agency that includes the following programs: The Victims Center, Children's Advocacy Center, and Prevention and Education.

The Victims Center (VC) provides a 24-hour crisis hotline as well as counseling and case management for crime victims. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners conduct forensic medical examinations at both Waco hospitals. Additionally, community education programs and a volunteer program are available. The Victims Center serves McLennan, Hill, Falls, Bosque, Limestone, and Freestone counties.

The Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) provides a helping hand to hurting children by minimizing their amount of time involved in the investigation and judicial process. The CAC provides the following: forensic interviews, multidisciplinary weekly case tracking, forensic medical examinations, case management and counseling. The Children's Advocacy Center serves McLennan County.

The Prevention and Education (P&E) program offers education and other assistance to groups including: organizations serving youth, men and boys, social service providers, mental health professionals, educators and administrators, college/university faculty and staff, coaches, public health professionals  human resource administrators, faith based organizations and other groups. We also work with students K-12 and college, parents, faith community members, civic groups and others.

Meet our Staff

We take great pride in our wonderful staff. Everyday they selflessly serve our community and help those in need. Our staff memebers are specially trained to understand and work with victims of violent crimes and all of our staff members are trusted workers.
Alongside our staff members and volunteers are the board members who support and enable the staff to provide the best possible services to the community. Our board consists of about 20 individuals from around the community. Together they represent the heart of the community and ensure the Advocacy Center has the tools at their disposal to best serve people in the area.
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Our History

In the 1970’s several women’s groups, including the League of Women Voters and the National Organization for Women, strongly encouraged the City of Waco to initiate a programmatic response to the need for rape awareness and prevention services. The fact that funding for such programs was available through Law Enforcement Assistance Administration of the Criminal Justice Division of the Governor’s Office of Texas made this initiative a realistic endeavor.
In response, June Lykes, the Assistant City Manager of Waco, approached the President of the Board of Directors of the Family Counseling and Children’s Services Agency and requested that they explore this agency’s sponsorship of a rape crisis center. The directors agreed to accept administrative responsibility for the program. With this agreement and strong support from the Waco Police Department, the City of Waco applied for and received a grant from the Criminal Justice Division.
The Board of Directors of the Family Counseling and Children’s Services Agency formally approved the establishment of the Waco Rape Crisis Center on January 1, 1976. When the Criminal Justice Division grant expired in 1978, the City of Waco assumed full financial responsibility for the Center through a contractual agreement with the Family Counseling Center.
The Waco Rape Crisis Center continued to operate under this agreement until March 1982 when services were expanded to include the outlying counties of Bosque, Hill, Falls, Freestone and Limestone. These expanded services were funded by a grant from the Texas Department of Health. Victim services and community education programs were maintained during the fiscal year 1982-83 while budget support came from the City of Waco, the Texas Department of Health, the Waco Foundation, and donations.
Due to increased demand for services, the Board of Directors of the Family Counseling and Children’s Services Agency recommended that the Waco Rape Crisis Center be established as an independent, non-profit corporation. This recommendation was implemented in February of 1983. Wanda Bass, Allen Dalton, Mary H. Chapman, Jim Bryant, Linda Turner, Aurora Gomez and Jean Turner were listed as members of the first Board of Directors of the Center. The Articles of Incorporation were filed with the Secretary of State of Texas on February 22, 1983, and approved. For the next four years, the Waco Rape Crisis Center, Inc., provided crisis services to victims of rape and educational and preventive services to the citizens in the six counties.
During the summer of 1987, the Waco Rape Crisis Center was awarded a grant under the Victims of Crime Act. Under this grant, the Center expanded its services to provide professional counseling to its clients and to expand its client group to include children. This expansion of the client group necessitated a name change for the agency. In the June 1, 1987, meeting of the Board of Directors with a quorum present, it was decided that the name of the agency would be changed to “Center for Action Against Sexual Assault.” The new name was registered with the Secretary of State of Texas on July 20, 1987.
The Center for Action Against Sexual Assault received a grant from the Junior League of Waco in 1988. This grant enabled the Center to expand Project SAFE (Sexual Assault Facts and Education) to school districts in McLennan County outside the City of Waco. Other funding sources during that year included the City of Waco, Victims of Criminal Justice Division of Texas, the Texas Department of Health, United Way of Waco and McLennan County, private contributions, and proceeds from fund-raising events.
Long range planning carried out during the 1988-90 program year resulted in an expansion of the Center’s program to include more comprehensive services for sexual assault survivors. Victims of Crime Act funding provided an opportunity to develop a cooperative agreement with two departments at Baylor University. A doctoral student enrolled in the graduate program in psychology was employed eighteen hours a week as an intern. This person provided crisis intervention and individual and group therapy for children and adult survivors. The Center also became a field instruction placement for the social work department. Two support groups for adult women and one for children were offered. To complement these expanded services the Junior League of Waco provided funds for children.
In 1993, the Center, in cooperation with KXXV-TV, a local television station, developed a video for use with children entitled, “It’s Okay to Tell.” The video was made available to the community for educational presentations and for use with children who are victims of sexual assault. It was aimed at helping children who are frightened and confused by the procedures of the investigation of the crime committed against them. Also, during that year, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)program was begun. Specially trained nurses administer the rape examination in a non-emergency room of the hospital. The SANE process expedites and optimizes the gathering of forensic data for use by law enforcement and criminal justice officers and courts while offering compassionate treatment to the victims of sexual assault.
The Center implemented two new programs in 1994 with the assistance of grants from the Junior League of Waco, the United Way of Waco and McLennan County, and private donations. First, the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a program which trains county volunteers to assist children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect. As Officers of the Court, the volunteers regularly visit and establish relationships with the children in order to serve their best interests. The aim of the program is to expedite proceedings so that children may have permanency in their lives as soon as possible. The program is often called “A Child’s Voice in Court.”
The second project, the Crime Victims’ Assistance Program, was begun in cooperation with police. In this program, volunteers intervene in crisis situations experienced by victims of trauma—automobile accidents, homicides, family disturbances, burglaries, robberies, kidnapping incidents, etc. The surviving, healing and returning to some degree of normalcy of victims of violent crimes are enhanced by early intervention. Work was also done to help victims participate in the law enforcement and criminal justice system proceedings. Following implementation, the program was shifted to the Waco Police Department.
In addition to these two new programs, the Center expanded its rape crisis program to include a crisis hotline, individual and group counseling services as well as educational programs to all victims of crime. These services were funded by a Victims of Crime Act grant which also enabled the center to hire a full-time counseling staff.
The expanding programs of the Center resulted in a second name change which the board of directors approved in September 1995. The Waco Rape Crisis Center, Inc., had become the Center for Action Against Sexual Assault, Inc., and now it would be known as the Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children. The name of the agency was officially changed with the Secretary of State of Texas in November 1995.
Plans began for a Children’s Advocacy Center program to be established. The Waco Foundation provided a start-up grant for the program in 1996. At this same time sexual assault grant funds which had been distributed by the Texas Department of Health were shifted to the Office of the Attorney General. An OAG grant to the Center provided a Community Education position to promote awareness and self-protection among middle and high school aged youth. This same grant enabled the Center to activate a toll-free hotline for service to outlying counties.
The next year, 1997, proved to be an exciting year for the agency. A grant from Victims of Crime Act along with a new grant from Violence Against Women Act provided a counselor for the outlying counties. The CASA program was expanded to Hill County with assistance from Texas CASA. Through a $100,000 Junior League 60th Birthday gift and grants from the Cooper Foundation, Waco Foundation, and Rapoport Foundation, the agency was able to purchase a new facility at 2323 Columbus Avenue in Waco.
The agency moved into the newly renovated building on March 9, 1998. This facility now houses the Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children, the umbrella structure for a variety of programs including the Children’s Advocacy Center, the Victims Center, and the Court Appointed Special Advocates programs. During 1997 the services of the agency were expanded to include case management services supported by a Community Initiatives grant from United Way of Waco and McLennan County. An Annual Fund was established as a major fund development initiative.
By 1998, the Advocacy Center was funded by local, state, and federal dollars as well as private foundation, corporate, and individual gifts. Locally the Center receives support from the City of Waco, Waco Foundation, Cooper Foundation, Rapoport Foundation, Kappa Alpha Theta and corporate and private donations. In 1998, for the first time, Bridge the Gap for Children, a major fund raising event was held on the Waco Suspension Bridge. The success of this event led to the decision by the board of directors to adopt Bridge the Gap as a major annual fund raising event. In 1998, the first Volunteer Coordinator was hired with funds from the Office of Attorney General of Texas.
The Center continually seeks funding as its services expand in response to human needs in areas where services are not being provided. In its desire to avoid duplication of services, the center strives for cooperation, coordination and collaboration with other service providers. The Center is dedicated to delivering the best available services in response to community needs.
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