CONNSACS, in partnership with the Connecticut Police Officers Standards and Training Council (POSTC) and the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association (CPCA), has created a series of training modules to be used to train law enforcement officers about responding to and investigating sexual assault crimes.Click here for more information.
State Guidelines for Sexual Assault Exams
Click here for an updated copy of the State of Connecticut Guidelines for the Sexual Assault Exam and Evidence Collection
2014 Legislative Session
The 2014 Connecticut Legislative Session begins, and CONNSACS is looking forward to advocating for legislation that will benefit survivors, support the work of sexual assault crisis programs, and hold offenders accountable. Learn more about our legislative agenda here, or visit our Public Policy page.
Support Groups and Volunteer Trainings
Click here for more information about support groups and volunteer trainings going on throughout the state.
CONNSACS new report highlights the findings of the State of Connecticut Commission on the Standardization of the Collection of Evidence in Sexual Assault Investigations survey of law enforcement departments across the state of Connecticut to determine the number of sexual assault evidence collection kits that have never been submitted to the Division of Scientific Services Forensic Science Laboratory (State crime lab) for analysis and DNA testing. The total number of kits reported at the time of the survey is 961 and 38% of those kits have been in storage for more than five years. Of the total number of kits reported, only 9% are "anonymous" kits (from victims who were undecided about reporting at the time of the exam) leaving 879 kits that have yet to be tested.
Each kit represents a victim who came forward in the aftermath of a trauma to undergo an invasive exam in hopes that the evidence collected from their body could lead to the successful arrest and prosecution of a rapist.
All future and backlogged kits must be tested. A coordinated, statewide, multidisciplinary effort is needed to swiftly address and eliminate the backlog of sexual assault evidence collection kits, and to identify the changes needed for law enforcement officers and the criminal justice system to best utilize forensic evidence to improve the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault cases. Doing so will show victims of sexual assault that they matter, and that their cases will be taken seriously.
For more information about efforts to reduce the backlog in other states, go to endthebacklog.org
Legislative Session Ends With Key Victories for Sexual Assault Survivors
CONNSACS continued to be a strong voice for victims and survivors of sexual assault offering oral and written testimony on numerous bills considered by House and Senate members during the 2015 Connecticut General Assembly session. Advocates were successful in their efforts to secure critical funding for sexual assault crisis services and new timeframes for the transfer and testing of all non anonymous sexual assault evidence collection kits.
Sexual Assault is a widespread public health, human rights and social justice issue which impacts each of our communities. Sexual violence refers to any type of unwanted sexual contact, ranging from sexist attitudes and actions to rape and murder and can include words and actions of a sexual nature against a person’s will.
Sexual violence is preventable. We can all play a role in preventing sexual violence by promoting respect, safety, and equality. We are making progress in Connecticut and across the country in both breaking down misperceptions of sexual violence and empowering individuals to take an active role in preventing these acts.
The continued conversations we’re having around high profile cases are helpful, but more must be done.
Activities are planned throughout the state this month.
Find an event near you by clicking hereand connect with
your local community based CONNSACS member program.
Make a donation and support CONNSACS statewide efforts to assist survivors and end sexual violence.
CONNSACS' College Consortium to End Sexual Violence' has announced the meeting dates for the 2014-2015 school year. The Consortium is comprised of representatives from Connecticut colleges and universities, sexual assault crisis advocates, individuals from community-based services, and others who work to improve the response to and prevention of sexual violence in campus communities. Learn more about the Consortium and find out how to become a member!
Male Lawmakers Participate in Bystander Intervention Training
During the 2014 legislative session, more than half of the Connecticut General Assembly's male lawmakers signed on to CT's first statewide sexual violence prevention campaign, Where Do You Stand? Connecticut, joining more than 500 men from across the state. Over the summer lawmakers from both sides of the aisle gathered in Hartford to participate in a workshop on bystander intervention. Neil Irvin, the Executive Director of Men Can Stop Rape (MCSR) and CONNSACS' partner on the campaign, conducted the training.
With influence in their communities, at the state legislature, and amongst legislative staff and colleagues, Connecticut lawmakers are uniquely positioned to be catalyst for meaningful change. In order to end sexual violence, all men need to be actively engaged in addressing cultural norms that support sexual violence.
Are you interested in signing the pledge? Do you want to host a bystander intervention training in your town, at your school, or with your community group? CONNSACS would love to work with you! Learn more & sign the pledge!
New Victim-Centered Laws Go Into Effect Big Wins in the 2014 Legislative Session for Sexual Assault Victims
The 2014 Connecticut legislative session resulted in significant policy wins to address and prevent sexual violence. The rape crisis line item, which provides funding to CONNSACS’ nine community based sexual assault crisis centers, received its first increase since the 90s and our state made history this session by passing landmark legislation that will improve the response to victims of sexual assault on campus and ensure that all students and staff receive prevention and awareness education.
Additionally, legislation passed that will expand access to civil restraining orders to all victims of sexual assault and stalking, and will help to increase sexual abuse awareness and prevention education training for teachers, parents, and students in grades K-12.
This year's wins not only impact the lives of women, men, and children in our state, but they illustrate the commitment of lawmakers to take steps to further prevent this crime and support those who are victimized.
On Thursday, April 17, over 100 sexual assault victim advocates and community service providers joined CONNSACS for our Annual Meeting & Breakfast at the Pond House in West Hartford. CONNSACS presented State Representative Roberta Willis with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center Visionary Voice Award and four Women’s Center Directors, Cathy Christy of Southern Connecticut State University, Jacqueline Cobbina-Boivin of Central Connecticut State University, Kathleen Holgerson of the University of Connecticut, and Laura Lockwood of Trinity College, with the Outstanding Allies award. Rachel Lang was this year’s recipient of the Gail Burns-Smith Dare to Dream Fund and Matt DeRienzo, of Digital First Media was CONNSACS’ Guest Speaker.
APPLY NOW FOR THE GAIL BURNS-SMITH "DARE TO DREAM" SCHOLARSHIP/STIPEND
The Gail Burns-Smith "Dare to Dream" Fund was established in 2004 upon the retirement of former CONNSACS Executive Director Gail Burns-Smith to honor her 22 years of service dedicated to ending sexual violence. The Fund is a scholarship/stipend granted annually to an individual whose work or study in the field of sexual violence most exemplifies Gail's commitment to anti-sexual assault awareness, policy, prevention, and advocacy on behalf of victims and survivors.
CONNSACS SPONSORS THE MANDELL JCC NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE AND CAMPUS SCREENING OF BRAVE MISS WORLD
At age 18, Israeli beauty queen Linor Abargil survived a horrific knife-point rape and abduction in Italy days before being crowned Miss World in 1998. This unflinching new documentary chronicles Linor’s personal quest for justice and her healing journey while refusing to be ashamed.
Join CONNSACS staff for “Reel Talk” following the 18th Annual Mandell JCC Hartford Jewish Film Festival New England premier of Brave Miss World on Sunday, March 23rd at Spotlight Theatres in Hartford or see any number of Campus Screenings! For more information, click here!
*This film is not rated; contains mature themes and images, recommended for high school age and above.
Click here to download a copy of the Brave Miss World flyer.
CONNECTICUT LAWMAKERS MAKE CAMPUS SEXUAL ASSAULT A PRIORITY
The Connecticut General Assembly’s Higher Education & Employment Advancement Committee has made HB 5029, An Act Concerning Sexual Assault and Intimate Partner Violence on Campus, a priority this session. On Tuesday, February 11th, lawmakers held a public hearing on the proposed bill which seeks to improve the response to victims of sexual assault and increase prevention education and training at all Connecticut institutions of higher education. CONNSACS and member center advocates testified before the committee in support of the measure. Last week, CONNSACS joined the women in the House and Senate to announce this landmark legislation! Click here for more!
CONNSACS INVITED TO JOIN U.S. SENATOR BLUMENTHAL AT ROUNDTABLES ON CAMPUS SEXUAL ASSAULT
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal has asked CONNSACS to assist in organizing a series of roundtable discussions with students, survivors, sexual assault victim advocates, campus staff and administrators to learn more about campus sexual violence in our state. Specifically he is interested in understanding more about the problem and what the federal government can do to further institutionalize best practices in primary prevention and response to victims,and increase transparency and compliance with federal law. The Senator was joined by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro at the second roundtable held at Southern Connecticut State University.
Senator Blumenthal plans to take what he learns during the roundtables to report back to the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, an initiative of President Obama that was announced with the release of his Council on Women and Girls report, Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action.
On February 18, 2014 CONNSACS will be offering two workshops for men to learn how they can be a part of the solution to prevent sexual violence on at 10AM and 5:30PM.
The workshops will explore a variety of issues relevant to self-identified men that can prevent or promote their engagement in bystander interventions. The workshop will also highlight opportunities, tools, and best practices in men's bystander intervention so that men can leave empowered to be active bystanders in preventing sexual violence. Click here to register!
CONNSACS ENGAGES MEDIA IN NEW CAMPAIGN TO ADDRESS SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN LATIN@* COMMUNITIES
CONNSACS hosted a Media event with Connecticut’s leading Latin@ reporters to share and discuss new materials, messages, and outreach to Latin@ communities in Connecticut. With the help of a statewide Latin@ Advisory Committee, comprised of state and regional leaders, service providers and advocates, CONNSACS has developed new linguistically appropriate materials and messages to address sexual violence in Latin@ communities. The materials include a Spanish-language public service announcement for radio and a new Spanish language web pages, plus posters, brochures and postcards in Spanish and English. Too often, materials targeting the Latin@ community are simply translated into Spanish and do not take the unique needs of the population into account. CONNSACS’ materials were designed specifically for outreach to the Latin@ community. Click here for coverage on Univision!
* The symbol “@” is used to represent the feminine and masculine versions of words and to promote gender inclusion
CONNSACS Executive Director Laura Cordes with First Lady Cathy Malloy
On Thursday, May 9th, over 125 supporters gathered to celebrate CONNSACS’ 30th anniversary with a gala at the Governor’s Residence in Hartford. First Lady Cathy Malloy, who graciously hosted the event, spoke about her work in the anti-sexual violence movement and the connection between sexual assault and broader women’s rights issues. CONNSACS Executive Director Laura Cordes highlighted some of the organization’s many accomplishments, recognized attendees who have contributed to CONNSACS’ success, and outlined the work that still needs to be done to support victims and hold offenders accountable.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), and CONNSACS is joining anti-sexual violence organizations throughout the country in raising public awareness about sexual violence and educating communities and individuals about sexual violence prevention. The 2013 National SAAM campaign, “It’s Time to Talk about It” focuses on healthy sexuality and child sexual abuse prevention.
Child sexual abuse thrives in silence. When healthy, caring adults do not educate children about body parts, appropriate touch, and healthy sexuality, that education is left to abusers. By starting conversations about age-appropriate behaviors, healthy boundaries, and respectful relationships, adults open lines of communication and let children know that it is safe to have conversations about what happens to their bodies. It helps children understand that it is okay to talk about situations that feel uncomfortable and to reach out for help when they have been hurt. Offenders often tell a child that the child will be in trouble is he or she says anything about the “secret” abuse that is occurring. Children need to understand that this is a lie and that it is okay to confide in an adult when they feel uncomfortable.
Adults can also help prevent child sexual abuse through their own words and actions. They can show respect to children, model healthy behaviors and boundaries, and confront other adults when they act inappropriately. When adults are willing to have conversations with children about healthy sexuality and abuse, and when they model good behaviors, they are training the next generation to create a culture in which sexual violence will not be tolerated.
Sexual Assault Crisis Services programs throughout Connecticut will be holding awareness events and activities throughout the month of April. Attend one of the great events going on in your area, and join the conversation. We can end sexual violence, but we have to “talk about it.”
PRESIDENT OBAMA SIGNS THE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT
On March 7th, President Obama signed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which has provided funding and support to combat sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking since 1994.
“We join advocates and survivors throughout the country today in celebrating the President’s signing of the Violence Against Women Act,” said Laura Cordes, Executive Director of Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services (CONNSACS), the coalition of Connecticut’s nine sexual assault crisis services programs. “Every day, women, men, and children who have survived sexual assault receive support and advocacy services that would simply not be available without VAWA. I am grateful to the Connecticut Congressional delegation for their leadership and support throughout the reauthorization process.”
Connecticut’s Senators and Representatives were strong supporters of new VAWA provisions that will better protect vulnerable and underserved populations, including LGBT individuals, Native Americans, college students, and immigrants. These new provisions, which were backed by advocates and survivors, faced criticism from House Republicans, who blocked passage of a similar reauthorization bill in 2012.
In Connecticut, VAWA supports sexual assault survivors by funding: bilingual/bicultural advocates who provide services to Spanish-speaking sexual assault survivors; specialized sexual assault victim advocates who work with parole units to support victims when their offenders are released from prison; CONNSACS staff who provide information, training, and support to community-based sexual assault crisis services programs as well as organizations and state agencies who work to support victims and hold offenders accountable; outreach and services to underserved populations including the elderly, people with disabilities, and homeless individuals; grants to combat sexual violence on college campuses; and primary prevention education.
Sexual assault victim advocates throughout the state provided services to over 7,000 survivors of sexual violence last year, a 20% increase over the previous year.
We rose in Hartford! Thank you to everyone who rose up, spoke out, and danced as part of One Billion Rising. The energy was palpable, the dancing was incredible, and the speakers were powerful. This was truly a historic event.
This is what it looks like when over 200 people rise together and demand change.
One Billion Rising corresponds to the 15th anniversary of V-Day, a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls sparked by Eve Ensler’s play, The Vagina Monologues. Events were planned in over 200 countries around the world, and in Hartford, we rose with an event at the state Legislative Office Building.
The event opened with CONNSACS advocate Leah Prescott-Burgess giving a powerful reading of Eve Ensler’s monologue, Rising. After the reading, the Judy Dworin Performance Project led dancers in a flash mob on in the Legislative Office Building atrium. Click here for the full story.
On January 17, 2013, CONNSACS joined college administrators, victim advocates, legislators, and educators at Trinity College for the release of the 2012 Campus Report Card. The Campus Report Card, which was authored by CONNSACS in conjunction with the Connecticut College Consortium Against Sexual Assault and the Connecticut Campus Coalition to End Violence Against Women, is a snapshot of current sexual assault policies and practices at both private and public Connecticut colleges and universities. In addition to highlighting the progress that has been made throughout the state to address sexual violence, the report identifies both gaps in response and areas for improvement based on promising and nationally recognized best practices.
The problem of sexual violence on college campuses has been well documented. Research indicates that up to one in four women will be sexually assaulted during their college career, and students who experience sexual victimization are more likely than their peers to miss class, perform poorly academically, and withdraw from school altogether.
The 113th Congress was sworn in on January 3, 2013, and CONNSACS is joining other anti-violence organizations throughout the country to ask our newly elected officials to act immediately on VAWA reauthorization. The Violence Against Women Act has been providing life-saving protections to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking since 1994, but Congress allowed it to expire almost two years ago. Victims and survivors deserve better.
The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women estimates that 200,000 victims could lose access to services if VAWA is not reauthorized soon. CONNSACS is hopeful that Congress will take quick action in the coming weeks and pass a version of the Violence Against Women Act that works for all victims. Visit http://4vawa.org/ to learn more about VAWA and why we need Congress to act now.
January is National Stalking Awareness Month. 6.6 million adults are stalked each year in the United States, including many survivors of sexual violence. Take time this month to visit the National Stalking Awareness Month website to learn facts about stalking, safety tips, and relevant laws in your state.
Last year, CONNSACS and advocates throughout the state worked hard to pass legislation to update Connecticut’s stalking law. The new law went into effect on October 1, 2012. Are you familiar with it? Learn more from our new fact sheet.
STATE SUPREME COURT RELEASES DANGEROUS DECISION IN SEXUAL ASSAULT CASE New Ruling Puts Victims with Disabilities at Risk
Late last week, the State Supreme Court upheld a dangerous Appellate Court decision that limits the meaning of "physical helplessness" in sexual assault cases. CONNSACS is disappointed with the Court's decision in State of Connecticut v. Richard Fourtin and will continue to pursue legislation to mitigate its damaging impact.
Fourtin was convicted of attempted sexual assault in the second degree and sexual assault in the fourth degree. His victim was a young woman who has such severe physical and developmental disabilities that she cannot walk, communicate verbally, or perform the activities of daily living without assistance. Despite her disabilities, the Appellate Court overturned Fourtin's conviction and wrote in its decision that the victim was neither "unconscious or so uncommunicative that she was physically incapable of manifesting to the defendant her lack of consent to sexual intercourse."
The Court ruled that because the victim can communicate "by gestures, biting, kicking, and screaming," she could have expressed her lack of consent to her offender and therefore cannot be considered physically helpless. By implying that the victim should have physically confronted her offender in order to communicate her lack of consent, the Court is perpetuating the myth that victims of sexual violence are somehow responsible for preventing their assaults. No victim should ever be asked to fight against their assailant to prove their lack of consent.
Since the Appellate Court ruling three years ago, CONNSACS and a coalition of supporters, including The Office of the Chief State's Attorney, The Office of Protection and Advocacy, and The Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities, have pursued legislation to improve Connecticut statute in light of the Fourtin case. Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the Appellate Court's decision, it is more important than ever for us to pass legislation that provides explicit protection for people with disabilities who are victims of sexual violence.
Are you upset about the Supreme Court's ruling? Here are a few things you can do in response:
Contact your state legislators and tell them, "People with disabilities are at risk because of the Supreme Court's decision in State v. Fourtin. During the 2013 session, please support CONNSACS' efforts to ensure that Connecticut's sexual assault statutes offer adequate protection to people with disabilities."
Write letters to your local newspapers. Let them know that people care about this issue and that no victims of sexual violence should ever be asked to physically defend themselves against an assailant.
Talk to your friends and family. Sexual violence is rarely discussed in our society, but newsworthy events like the Fourtin case create opportunities for all of us to talk about the prevalence of sexual violence and what we can do to end it.
The 2012 legislative session ended in May, but many of the laws passed during the session are just beginning to go into effect. On October 1st, two of CONNSACS' legislative priorities - a new stalking law and a law expanding eligibility for victim compensation - will take effect in Connecticut.
Connecticut's new stalking law will update and revise old statutes that did not cover many of the technologies and methods that stalkers use to frighten their victims. Learn more about this new law here.
Another law will make it easier for victims of sexual violence to become eligible for victim compensation. Previously, sexual assault victims either had to report their assault to law enforcement or have an evidence kit collected in order to be eligible for compensation. Under the new law, survivors will be eligible for compensation if they disclose their victimization to any of several professionals, including sexual assault crisis counselors.
CONNSACS has a created a new fact sheet with more details about these two laws. If you have any questions, please contact Anna: email@example.com or 860-282-9881.
Missouri Congressman Todd Akin recently taped a television interview in which he said that rape rarely results in pregnancy because, "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
The Congressman's remarks have sparked a national debate about rape, reproductive healthcare, and the science of pregnancy. While each of these topics is worthy of discussion, CONNSACS would like to issue a brief response to the use of the term "legitimate rape."
As a society, we have generally accepted the notion that rape is a terrible act of violence. Very few, if any, public figures would be willing to go on record as saying that rape is okay or that victims are liars. Most people know they are supposed to abhor rape and support victims, and many people do. Some, however, have resisted the notion that they should abhor allrape and support all victims. As a result, it is increasingly common to manipulate language as a way to soften conversations about rape. People voice their staunch opposition to rape but claim that there may be instances of "gray rape." They insist that not all rape is "rape-rape," that "forcible rape" is different than "regular rape," and that "date rape" might not be all that bad.
Our society has sufficiently stigmatized the word "rape," but because we have not sufficiently stigmatized the act itself, we have developed a tendency to surround the word with descriptors that make it more palatable and less consistent with reality.
We cannot modify rape. We cannot diminish its trauma by adding an adjective or trying to qualify it. Rape is rape. Congressman Akin's use of the term "legitimate rape" is not problematic because it is false. All rape is legitimate rape. The term is problematic because it implies a contrast that does not exist. The same is true of phrases such as "innocent victim" that discount the experiences of survivors. Any sex without consent is rape. Rape is rape even when the victim is drinking or wearing a short skirt or walking alone at night. Rape is rape even if the survivor is in a relationship with the perpetrator or was flirting before the assault.
Words matter. They can be used for help and healing, or they can be used to degrade the experiences of victims and survivors. Congressman Akin's recent comment about "legitimate rape" is upsetting both on its own and as part of a larger trend. Rape is rape, and we are all responsible for using language that reflects this reality.
Governor Malloy and First Lady Cathy Malloy: Itís Time to Talk about Sexual Assault
In a new public service announcement, Governor Malloy and First Lady Cathy Malloy discuss the urgent need for Connecticut residents to talk about sexual violence and to reach out for help if they have been assaulted. The PSA continues the first couple's ongoing efforts to acknowledge the widespread impact of sexual violence and break the silence surrounding the issue. Avon-based marketing firm Mintz & Hoke Communications Group donated services to write and produce the PSA.
Many survivors of sexual violence are ashamed and embarrassed about the abuse they experienced and feel as though they cannot talk about it. They may stay silent because they believe the assault was their fault and that no one will believe them if they disclose. When public figures like the Malloys are willing to talk about sexual violence and reassure survivors that they are not alone in their experiences, it makes it easier for victims to come forward and access the help they may need to heal.
CONNSACS would like to thank the Governor and First Lady for their willingness to be part of this project; Mintz & Hoke for donating their time, equipment, and expertise; and the Governor's communications team for their assistance in coordinating the video shoot.
Advocates and Congressmen Call for Passage of the "Real" VAWA
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has been improving the response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking for nearly twenty years. VAWA, which was first passed in 1994 and subsequently reauthorized in 2000 and 2005, is a comprehensive legislative package that has brought together law enforcement, victim advocates, healthcare professionals, social service providers, and others to share information and use their distinct roles to improve community responses to violence against women. Learn more about VAWA here.
In Connecticut, VAWA funds, including the Sexual Assault Services Program, STOP Grant, and the Rape Prevention and Education Program, support:
Bilingual, bi-cultural advocates who serve the Spanish-speaking community
Specialized sexual assault victim advocates who work with parole units to support victims when their offenders are released back into the community
CONNSACS staff who provide information, training, and technical assistance to SACS programs throughout the state
Outreach and services to unserved and underserved populations
Grants to combat sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking on college campuses
Primary Prevention community education
Advocates with U.S. Congressman Himes in Norwalk
While VAWA has always received strong bipartisan support in the past, it
has been the subject of controversy and debate throughout the current reauthorization process. In late April, the Senate passed a version of VAWA - S 1925 - that includes strong protections for LGBT survivors, immigrant victims, and Native women. The House, however, passed a version of VAWA that includes none of the Senate protections and takes away some of the provisions that have been keeping victims safe since 1994. Advocates throughout the country have been reaching out to their Senators and Congressmen to ask the to support the Senate version of VAWA and reject the regressive, incomplete version of VAWA that is currently in the House.
Advocates talking to U.S. Congresswoman
DeLauro in Hartford
The Connecticut Congressional delegation has publicly championed the real VAWA. Both U.S. Senators, Blumenthal and Lieberman, were co-sponsors of the Senate version of VAWA, and all five of the Connecticut House Representatives voted "no" on the House version of VAWA that fell short of meeting the needs of victims and survivors. In addition, four House members - Congressman Murphy, Congressman Himes, Congressman Courtney, and Congresswoman DeLauro - recently held press conferences on VAWA in Connecticut. Advocates from several SACS programs were able to attend these press events, speak to the Congressmen, and serve as a reminder that the Violence Against Women Act is critical to sexual assault survivors in Connecticut. CONNSACS worked closely with Congressman Himes' office to set up a May 21 press conference in Norwalk, and CONNSACS Executive Director Laura Cordes spoke at the event along side of the Congressman and Mayor Richard Moccia of Norwalk.
Click here to learn more about the VAWA Reauthorization and what you can do to advocate for a version of the bill that benefits allsurvivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking.
Successful Legislative Session Ends with the Passage of Bills to Benefit Survivors of Sexual Violence
The 2012 Connecticut legislative session ended on May 9, and CONNSACS is pleased to announce the passage of several pieces of legislation that will benefit survivors of sexual violence.
Bills that passed include HB 5031 (An Act Concerning Sexual Violence on College Campuses), HB 5548 (An Act Concerning Domestic Violence, which improves Connecticut's stalking statutes), and HB 5365 (An Act Concerning Court Operations and Victim Services, which will make it easier for sexual assault survivors to be eligible for victim compensation).
We are also celebrating funding for the SAFE Program and a 0.5% cost of living adjustment for all of Connecticut's nonprofits organizations, including the rape crisis line item in the state budget.
If you are interested in learning more about our public policy initiatives or becoming involved in our legislative advocacy, please contact Anna Doroghazi, Director of Public Policy and Communication: firstname.lastname@example.org or (860) 282-9881.
On April 27th, 2012, CONNSACS held its annual meeting at the Inn at Middletown. In attendance were Governor Malloy and First Lady Cathy Malloy, CONNSACS staff, member program representatives, and community allies. The meeting was an opportunity to elect the CONNSACS board, celebrate the work of sexual assault crisis services programs, and present awards to two individuals who have been working to end sexual violence in Connecticut.
First Lady Cathy Malloy and
Following the business meeting, First Lady Cathy Malloy received the NSVRC Visionary Voice Award, which highlights individuals whose outstanding prevention work is making a significant impact in their communities. Cathy served as Executive Director of The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education in Stamford for ten years before moving to Hartford and becoming CEO of the Greater Hartford Arts Council. As Connecticut's First Lady, Cathy has continued to advocate for the prevention of sexual assault. CONNSACS was honored to nominate the First Lady for this national award, which was given to twenty individuals throughout the country. Following the award presentation, Cathy Malloy addressed attendees as the event's guest speaker.
The second award presented at the meeting was the Gail Burns-Smith Dare to Dream Scholarship/Stipend Award, which was given to Krystal Rich from the YWCA New Britain Sexual Assault Crisis Services. The Dare to Dream Award is named for Gail Burns-Smith, who served as the Executive Director of CONNSACS for 22 years. The award is given annually to an individual whose work or study in the field of sexual violence most exemplifies Gail's commitment to its public awareness, education, prevention and advocacy on behalf of victims/survivors. Krystal Rich received the award for her dedicated work at the New Britain SACS as well as her strong history of advocacy at Central Connecticut State University.
Annual Meeting Attendees
The annual meeting also featured a presentation from Beth Hamilton, the CONNSACS Prevention and Training Coordinator, who demonstrated how Audience Response Systems can be used to engage audiences and facilitate conversations about sexual violence. To close the meeting, CONNSACS Executive Director Laura Cordes presented certificates to member programs to acknowledge the outstanding victim services, outreach, and training that they are doing throughout the state.
Te Creemos: Video de concientización sobre la violencia sexual
(We Believe You: Sexual Assault Awareness Video)
This short video was produced by the CONNSACS Spanish Response Team, a group of bilingual/bicultural Spanish-speaking advocates who serve victims/survivors at sexual assault crisis services programs throughout the state. The video was created and released as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), which organizations throughout the country observe during the month of April. Click here to learn more about some of the great events that are going on in your area as part of SAAM.
El Equipo de Respuesta en Español, un grupo de consejeras/os y representantes bilingües afiliados con el Servicio de Crisis de Asalto Sexual de Connecticut (CONNSACS), ha lanzado este video de servicio publico en español para educar a la comunidad hispana/latina sobre la violencia sexual e incentivar a las victimas/sobrevivientes a utilizar los servicios disponibles. El anuncio de servicio público fue lanzado como parte del mes de conciencia sobre el asalto sexual, el cual es observado en todo del país durante el mes de Abril. Para más información sobre eventos durante el mes de Abril, haz clic aquí.
Te Creemos (We Believe You) A translation of the video is available here.
La ayuda está disponible. Llama a lalíneagratuita a 888-568-8332. Help is available. Call our free Spanish hotline at 888-568-8332.
The Te Creemos video provides viewers with information about sexual violence and resources that are available to survivors, including information about CONNSACS' statewide, free, confidential 24/7 sexual assault Spanish-language hotline. Research shows that one in three Hispanic women and one in four Hispanic men will experience sexual violence during their lifetime, but the Hispanic/Latino community faces many barriers to accessing services. These include language barriers, concerns about actual or perceived immigration status, cultural stigma, and fears about being treated unfairly by law enforcement or other service providers. Everyone deserves safety, respect, and support. Help us spread the word that help is available.
El video presta información sobre la violencia sexual y recursos que están disponibles para sobrevivientes, incluyendo información sobre la línea de apoyo - es gratis, confidencial, y provee apoyo las 24 horas, 7 días de la semana. Estudios demuestran que una de cada tres mujeres y uno de cada cuatro hombres hispanos serán abusados sexualmente durante su vida, pero la comunidad hispana/latina enfrenta muchos obstáculos cuando se trata de acceder a los servicios. Estos incluyen barreras idiomáticas, preocupación acerca del estatus de inmigración, estigma cultural, y miedos acerca del tratamiento por la policía y otros proveedores de servicios. Todos merecen la seguridad, el respeto, y el apoyo. Ayúdanos apasar el mensaje de que la ayuda está disponible.
Please share this video with your social media contacts and organizations that serve Connecticut's Spanish-speaking community.
Favor de compartir este video con tus redes sociales y organizaciones que brindan servicios a la comunidad hispanohablante en Connecticut
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