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 Affirmative Consent Policies for All Colleges and 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.
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.
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.
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.
School districts should teach age-appropriate child sexual abuse education to elementary school students, school teachers, administrators and parents.
CONNSASCS supports the policy recommendations in the 2014 Annual Report of the Trafficking in Persons Council.
The Alliance regularly works with a broad range of community partners as part of the following commissions, task forces, and groups: the State of Connecticut Office of Victim Services Advisory Council; Trafficking in Persons Council; the Governor’s Task Force on Justice for Abused Children; the Connecticut Association of Nonprofits Criminal Justice Policy; the Advisory Commission Connecticut Coalition for Choice; the Connecticut Coalition Against Trafficking Commission on the Standardization of the Collection of Evidence in Sexual Assault Investigations; the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners Advisory Committee; the Sexual Assault Prevention Planning Committee; and the Connecticut College Consortium to End Sexual Violence.