SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Victim Center in Springfield, which switched buildings recently, said there has been an 87% increase in the number of people seeking help for violence.
A new building brings excitement, but Brandi Bartel, the executive director of The Victim Center, said the reason they needed a new building brings sadness.
“Unfortunately, we feel like crime and the impact and associated trauma is an ongoing health and safety concern,” said Bartel.
The downtown facility offers support services at no charge for those impacted by violent crimes.
“We hope that we can work ourselves out of a job,” said Bartel. “But, our reality is that right now we need to plan for growing and expanding over the years.”
The old building on Boonville Avenue was too small.
“Before we had a space that we made do,” said Bartel. “We tried to make it as practical as possible and functional as possible… We did our best. And now that we are here, we can do that in spades without trying too hard and we can grow some more.”
Bartel said the new building has 50% more space with better security and more privacy.
“We at the victim center want clients to feel safe,” said Bartel. “We want them to feel supported. And we don’t want them to feel a sense of shame when they walk in or reach out for help.”
The more room makes it possible to bring more workers on board.
“The good thing is I have got my office now and everything I need,” said Jennifer Boulch, a victim staff advocate. “The better the tools are, the better I can help someone else.”
Another plus for the new property is the additional land to allow adding on to the building if the need arises, meaning there is plenty of room to grow in the future.