Legislative Agenda

2016 Legislative Agenda

Preserve Funding for Sexual Assault Crisis Services
Protect the Rape Crisis funding in the Department of Public Health budget which supports the vital work of our nine community-based sexual assault crisis services programs.  This work includes a statewide 24-hour hotline, hospital and court accompaniments, support groups, and crisis counseling for survivors of sexual violence and their loved ones. Sexual assault crisis services are the only programs in Connecticut that specialize in both the counseling and advocacy needs of sexual assault survivors and their loved ones.

Improve the Response to Child Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation
Children who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation need support and services, not arrest. Change Connecticut statute to ensure that all minors under the age of 18 are treated as victims of commercial sexual exploitation and increase penalties for individuals who patronize prostitutes.

Provide Security for Victims and Survivors of Sexual Violence
Take advantage of increased federal dollars through the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act which offers increased Violence Against Women funding for states that restrict the rights of rapists to claim custody over a child conceived as a result of the rape, providing key protections to sexual assault survivors and their children.

Ensure Justice for Victims and Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse
Support the recommendations of the Governor’s Victims’ Rights Enforcement Advisory Commission report, including removal of the statute of limitation in child sexual assault cases and development of a statewide taskforce to adopt best practice for the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault cases.

Adopt an Affirmative Consent Policies for all Colleges & Universities
Codify current practices of using an affirmative consent standard with regard to sexual assault in student conduct codes and to ensure that students and faculty are educated on the expectation of acquiring affirmative consent: “active, unambiguous and voluntary agreement by a person to engage in sexual activity with another person that is sustained throughout the sexual activity and may be revoked at any time by any person.”

Establish a Paid Family Leave Program
As a member of the Connecticut Campaign for Paid Family Leave establish a paid family leave program in the state for workers to take time out of work to care for themselves or family members.

2015 Legislative Agenda

Preserve Funding for Sexual Assault Crisis Services

Rape Crisis funding in the Department of Public Health budget supports the vital work of CONNSACS’ nine community-based sexual assault crisis services programs, including statewide hospital and court accompaniment, support groups, and crisis counseling for survivors of sexual violence and their loved ones. Sexual assault crisis services are the only programs in Connecticut that specialize in both the counseling and advocacy needs of sexual assault survivors and their loved ones.

 

ENSURE TIMELY TESTING OF SEXUAL ASSAULT EXAM KITS

When a victim of sexual assault undergoes a sexual assault forensic exam, the expectation is that the kit will be sent to the lab to be tested. Unfortunately, for many, that is not the case. Initial findings from a survey conducted by the Commission on the Standardization of the Collection of Evidence in Sexual Assault Investigations of all police departments in the state found that many had untested sexual assault forensic exam kits in their possession, some more than five years old. The state should adopt a clear timeline for sexual assault exam kits to be sent to the state’s crime lab for testing.

 

REMOVE THE CIVIL & CRIMINAL STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Child sexual abuse is a unique crime. Victims of child sexual abuse face numerous barriers to disclosing their abuse when it happens, including fear of their offender, fear of not being believed, or not being able to identify that what happened to them was abuse. The impact of sexual violence lasts a lifetime, but for many survivors of child sexual abuse, the chance for justice does not. Eliminating the civil and criminal statute of limitations doesn’t eliminate the need for evidence, it simply gives those who have evidence the time to have their day in court.

Support Efforts to Establish Paid Family Leave

CONNSACS supports efforts to establish a paid family leave program in the state for workers to take time out of work to care for themselves or a loved one after a sexual assault.

 

Support Efforts to Prevent Sexual Assault of Senior Citizens

CONNSACS supports efforts to increase penalties for sexual violence against senior citizens and to provide those responsible for caring for the elderly with information and services.

 

Support Efforts to Improve the Rape Shield Law

CONNSACS supports efforts to ensure that a victim’s prior sexual history not be discussed in open court and that a hearing on a motion to offer such evidence be held in camera.

 

Support Efforts to Criminalize Online Gender Based Violence

CONNSACS supports efforts to address online sexual harassment and violence, including the sharing of intimate photos of someone without their consent.

 

 

Support Efforts to Adequately Fund Nonprofit Providers

CONNSACS supports efforts to provide the nonprofit community-based service system with a level of funding that would allow providers to raise wages to recruit and retain a qualified workforce.

2014 Legislative Agenda

RESTORE & INCREASE FUNDING FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT CRISIS SERVICES

Sexual assault crisis services are the only programs in Connecticut that specialize in both the counseling and advocacy needs of sexual assault victims. Rape Crisis funding supports the vital work of CONNSACS’ nine community-based sexual assault crisis services programs, including statewide hospital and court accompaniment, support groups, and crisis counseling for survivors of sexual violence and their loved ones. Last year, funding for programs was cut in the state budget for the first time in 20 years while the number of victims and survivors that are served continues to rise. Funding should be restored and increased to best meet the needs of the women, men and children who seek services and support after surviving sexual abuse and trauma.

 

ENSURE EQUAL ACCESS TO CIVIL RESTRAINING ORDERS FOR ALL VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

In CT, sexual assault survivors are only eligible to apply for a restraining order if their offender is a family or household member or former partner, so when the offender is an acquaintance, stranger, colleague or neighbor, a survivor is not eligible to secure the protection and assurance that their offender will not harass or re-offend them. Sexual violence and stalking cases do not often result in an arrest, so victims do not often have the option to pursue a criminal protective order. The protections afforded by civil restraining orders should be available to all victims of sexual violence regardless of their relationship to the perpetrator.

STRENGTHEN CAMPUS RESPONSE AND PREVENTION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

Rates of sexual assault victimization are high on college and university campuses and students struggle to access support and understand the reporting options available to them. Current law should be further aligned with the newly adopted federal Campus SaVE Act to ensure that students and staff understand school policies, victims are given clear information and support, offenders are held accountable, and prevention education is provided to all staff and the entire student body on an ongoing basis.

 

Support Efforts to Teach Age-appropriate Child Sexual Abuse Education

School districts should teach age-appropriate child sexual abuse education to elementary school students, school teachers, administrators and parents.

 

Build Awareness and Support for Victims of Trafficking

CONNSASCS supports the policy recommendations in the 2014 Annual Report of the Trafficking in Persons Council.

During the Fiscal year Ending June 30th, 2013, CONNSACS (now Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence) Member Centers:

Served 4,951 sexual assault victims, family members, and friends

Served 1,112 Latin@ victims

Provided 23,947 hours of personal support and advocacy

Supported 529 victims during the forensic exam

Held support groups with 3048 participants

Answered and provided support to 2,258 hotline calls

Provided criminal justice advocacy to 1,898 individuals

Held 11,819 individual counseling sessions

Provided 35,062 individuals with community education & professional training presentations

Statewide Collaborations

The Alliance regularly works with a broad range of community partners as part of the following commissions, task forces, and groups:

State of Connecticut Office of Victim Services Advisory Council

Trafficking in Persons Council

Governor’s Task Force on Justice for Abused Children

Connecticut Association of Nonprofits Criminal Justice Policy

Advisory Commission Connecticut Coalition for Choice

Connecticut Coalition Against Trafficking Commission on the Standardization of the Collection of Evidence in Sexual Assault Investigations

Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners Advisory Committee

Sexual Assault Prevention Planning Committee

The Allience’s Connecticut College Consortium Against Sexual Assault

Get Involved

LEGISLATION

The majority of The Alliance’s public policy efforts are through legislative advocacy. Providing support by attempting to change sexual violence laws is one of the most important steps.

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Advocacy

Support, education, and information that is unbiased and non-judgmental is one of our primary goals. Advocating for victims, survivors, and their loved ones is one of the most important aspects in our mission to end sexual violence.

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Prevention

A key aspect of ending sexual violence is promoting healthy environments and behaviors. The journey of ending sexual violence places an emphasis on taking action before that violence occurs.

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