What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault is any involuntary sexual act in which a person is coerced or physically forced to engage against their will or any non-consensual sexual touching of a person.
What is consent?
Sexual activity requires consent, which is defined as voluntary, positive agreement between the participants to engage in a specific sexual activity. Communicating consent:
  • Consent to sexual activity can be communicated in a variety of ways, but one should presume that consent has not been given in the absence of clear, positive agreement.
  • While verbal consent is not an absolute requirement for consensual sexual activity, verbal communication prior to engaging in sex helps to clarify consent. Communicating verbally before engaging in sexual activity is imperative. However potentially awkward it may seem, talking about your own and your partner's sexual desires, needs, and limitations provide a basis for a positive experience.
  • Consent must be clear and unambiguous for each participant at every stage of a sexual encounter. The absence of "no" should not be understood to mean there is consent.
  • A prior relationship does not indicate consent to a future activity.
Alcohol and drugs:
  • A person who is asleep or mentally or physically incapacitated, either through the effect of drugs or alcohol or for any other reason, is not capable of giving valid consent.
  • The use of alcohol or drugs may seriously interfere with the participants' judgment about whether consent has been sought and given.
Definition provided by Northwestern University.
What services does SACS provide?

SACS provides free and confidential services to sexual assault survivors and their loved ones including:

What does confidential mean?
Sexual assault survivors and their loved ones can use any of our services anonymously. Certified sexual assault counselor advocates are protected under Connecticut General Statute 52-146k - Privileged communications between the victim and domestic violence counselor or sexual assault counselor.
What is the Counselor Advocate Training, and how can I enroll?

YWCA SACS accepts applications for our Counselor Advocate Training classes throughout the year.  This in-depth training covers the dynamics of sexual assault/abuse and its effects on survivors and their loved ones.  This class is for anyone interested in volunteering on our 24-hour crisis hotline and may also be taken for professional development.  Once the course is completed, we ask volunteers to commit to one year of volunteering two shifts per month. You may download an application here or contact our Volunteer Coordinator, at 860-225-4681 x332 or

Can I volunteer with SACS in other roles?

Our Volunteer Coordinator regularly seeks volunteers for office administration support, fundraising, and outreach through tabling events.

Who do I contact to have SACS provide prevention education?

Please get in touch with our Community Educator at 860-225-4681 x203 to learn of the training opportunities available at this time.

What is the difference between prevention and awareness?
Prevention and awareness are often seen as synonymous but serve different purposes in the movement against sexual violence. Awareness involves educating people about an issue and making them aware of the problem. Awareness by itself does not prevent violence, but maybe a necessary step in bringing people to talk about prevention. After all, we cannot prevent something that we are not aware of. Prevention moves forward from “this is the problem” to “this is the solution.”
What is the difference between prevention and risk reduction?
In the context of sexual violence, “risk reduction” refers to a way many people think about preventing sexual assault. Risk reduction messages focus on personal safety and often involve providing advice on how to “avoid” becoming the victim of sexual assault. If you’ve ever been told to carry pepper spray, take a self-defense class, or carry a rape whistle, you have heard risk-reduction messaging. While personal safety is important, these messages shift the responsibility for stopping sexual assault to potential victims and do not address the root causes of violence. Prevention requires an understanding of why some people choose to commit sexual assault and addressing those negative behaviors. If we want to end sexual violence in our culture, we need to move beyond education that puts the responsibility on the person who could be assaulted and toward education that puts the responsibility on the person choosing to commit sexual assault, as well as the social norms that normalize this kind of violence.
What can you do to prevent sexual violence?
  • Be an active bystander – step in and say something when you see the harmful or disrespectful behavior.
  • Treat others with respect and model healthy behaviors in all of your relationships.
  • Believe survivors and offer support in finding resources.
  • Provide training on sexual violence and how to prevent it.
  • Create policies that promote safety, equality, and respect.
  • Make respect the norm and encourage people to have open conversations about safety.