WHAT TO DO IF…
If you have been a victim of sexual violence
1) Safety. Safety is important. After a sexual assault it is normal to feel and/or be emotionally and/or physically unsafe. Reach out for help to establish this safety. This can be a friend or family member or The Center’s certified staff and volunteers are here to help you establish a safety plan.
2) You are not alone. It is not your fault. It is normal to experience many different emotions (fear, anxiety, guilt, confusion, sadness, etc) after you experience sexual violence but remember The Center is here to help and it is never your fault.
3) Get help. After you experience sexual violence you may need support or have questions about what to do. Several factors will influence your medical and reporting options – call our hotline to talk with certified staff and volunteers who can help you find out what your options are. The Center is also here to support you with free and confidential crisis counseling*. The Center has collaborative relationships with many organizations in our area and state-wide – we can help make referrals when it is necessary.
If someone you know has been effected by sexual violence
1) Safety. Safety is important. After a sexual assault it is normal to feel and/or be emotionally and/or physically unsafe. Help the person you know to establish this safety but respect their boundaries and what they are ready to do. If they feel comfortable, you can reach out to The Center’s certified staff and volunteers who can help establish a safety plan.
2) Remind them they are not alone and that you believe them. Let them know they are not alone, you are there to help as best as you can and that The Center is here to help.
3) Get help. After a person experiences sexual violence they may have questions or not know where to turn for help. The Center’s certified staff and volunteers are here to answer any questions either of you may have. Several factors will influence the survivors medical and reporting options – call our hotline to talk with certified staff and volunteers who can help find out what their options are. The Center is also here to support with free and confidential crisis counseling*. The Center has collaborative relationships with many organizations in our area and state-wide – we can help make referrals when it is necessary. Don’t hesitate to get help for yourself, you are entitled to the same 12 free and confidential sessions of crisis counseling as victims are.
*The Center’s staff and volunteers are mandated reporters. Mandated reporters are required to report or cause a report to be made when, in the ordinary course of their employment or profession, they have reasonable cause to suspect or believe that a child under the age of 18 has been abused, neglected or is placed in imminent risk of serious harm. (Connecticut General Statutes §17a-101a)
If you believe a child under the age of 18 is or has been sexually abused
1) Believe the child. Children are more likely to lie and say something did not happen than to lie and say something did.
2) Be calm and help the child. Tell the child you will do what you can to keep them safe and that you believe them. Call The Center’s hotline to learn more about where to find counseling and emotional support for the child.
3) Make a report. Depending on your role in the child’s life you may be required to report the abuse to the Department of Children and Families. Please visit their website to learn more: http://www.ct.gov/dcf/cwp/view.asp?a=2556&q=314388 If you are not required by law to make a report please consider making a report. It is not necessary to ask the child a lot of questions, take whatever information they have given you and pass it along to your local police department and/or the Department of Children and Families.
The Center’s crisis counselors/advocates are part of the two teams in Lower Fairfield County that investigate disclosures of child sexual abuse and support non-offending caregivers throughout the process – from disclosure, to investigation and court proceedings. The two teams are called the Sexual Assault Response Team, serving Greenwich, Darien and Stamford, and the Multidisciplinary Team, serving Norwalk, New Canaan, Weston, Westport and Wilton.