Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX (April 5, 2019) – The Hays County Commissioners Court has proclaimed April as Sexual Assault Prevention Month and Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month in Hays County, calling on citizens to learn the signs of and report suspected and known incidents of assault and abuse.
According to the proclamation, two in five women and one in five men in Texas have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime, with incidents crossing all racial, age, gender and economic lines. Some 6.3 million Texans experienced some form of sexual assault in their lifetime.
The Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center (HCWC) provided direct services to 749 adult victims of sexual assault in the two counties in 2018.
Melissa Rodriguez, HCWC Community Partnership Director, told the Court that the Center’s theme for the month is “Listen, Believe, and Support” to recognize the many survivors of sexual assault and their families and the community’s commitment to assisting in their recovery.
Hays County Child Protective Board member Esperanza Orosco thanked the Court for its support for the all-volunteer board that has a long history in Hays County of providing support to abused children and their families not available through government channels.
More than 66,352 confirmed cases in 2018 of child abuse and neglect in Texas resulted in the deaths of 175 children and there was a 9.7 percent increase during that same time in the number of children residing in foster care. In Hays County alone, 455 children were confirmed victims of abuse.
Locally, representatives from Hays County Child Protective Board, Hays County District Attorney’s Office, Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center and Roxanne’s House, Greater San Marcos Youth Council, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), San Marcos, Buda and Kyle Police Departments, Hays County Sheriff’s Office, and CTMC have joined forces to provide preventive and supportive services to child abuse victims and their families.
To learn more about recognizing the signs of child abuse, plan to attend the “Darkness to Light” training session sponsored by CASA April 22 at the San Marcos Public Library. On April 12 CASA will hold its annual fundraising dinner and auction and will honor Precinct 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe for her dedication and service to the greater Hays community.
The HCWC can be reached at https://www.hcwc.org/ Individuals needing immediate help should call 9-1-1 or the HCWC hotline at 512-396-HELP (4357). The website provides helpful information under its What is Abuse? tab about child abuse, sexual assault, family violence, and safety planning. To become a CASA volunteer, visit www.casacentex.org.