The Albuquerque Rape Crisis Center was founded in 1973 by a group of students at the University of New Mexico Law School. In the basement of the Women's Studies program, the women set up a hotline to provide support and validation to women who had been sexually assaulted. At the same time around the country, Rape Crisis Centers and Domestic Violence shelters were opening their doors to address violence against women, crimes that had previously been widely unacknowledged and even worse, often seen as socially acceptable.
For thirty six years, the Rape Crisis Center existed to provide support and advocacy to survivors of sexual assault, their families and loved ones. During that history, there has been a tremendous amount of progress towards acknowledging sexual assault and domestic violence as crimes. Hard battles have led to better definitions of sexual assault, to increased protections for survivors, and have improved the systemic response in addressing the crime. Those changes have affected every facet of the response to sexual assault except one: the mission and values of the Rape Crisis Center.
The Rape Crisis Center existed during its first years as a volunteer organization before becoming a funded program of the University of New Mexico in 1979. In 2001, ARCC severed its formal relationship with UNM and became an independent non-profit organization. Currently, the agency has three programs plus the administrative team: Crisis Services, Community Education, and Counseling. The agency is overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors. Funding for the center comes from a variety of sources, including Federal, State, and City government, grants, private foundations and individual donors.
In 2006, ARCC officially changed its name to the Rape Crisis Center of Central New Mexico, to more accurately reflect the general service area for the agency. In 2008, the Center celebrates 36 years of service on behalf of survivors and victims of sexual assault as well as their friends and loved ones.