Sexual Assault

Sexual Abuse Services

Sexual assault is forced or unwanted sex or sexual contact. Sexual assault happens to men, women, teens, and children.

Sexual Assault Includes:

  • Rape (marital and date)
  • Incest
  • Sexual abuse and molestation
  • Harassment
  • Stalking

    If You Are Raped

    • Find a safe place immediately.
    • Call 911 or the local law enforcement agency.
    • Do not shower or change your clothes.
    • Do not eat, chew gum, or brush your teeth.
    • Do not throw anything away.
    • Go directly to your local Emergency Department.
    • Bring a change of clothes with you, if possible, or bring the clothes and undergarments that you were wearing when the assault occurred.
    • Ask medical staff to contact an advocate and a SANE from VAC.

    Your Rights

    As a victim of Sexual Assault, you have the right to:

    • A sexual assault forensic medical exam at no charge, regardless if you are contacting law enforcement or not.
    • Press charges against the offender, regardless if you are having a rape kit done or not.
    • Request the services of a rape crisis advocate from the VAC.
    • Confidentiality in all services utilized.
    • Know if the offender is being released from custody.
    • Have a third party explain any medical or legal proceedings you don’t understand.

    Sexual Assault Services


    SANE Program

    The SANE Program at VAC contracts Registered Nurses for our Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program. The SANEs are currently responding to the emergency departments at Carthage Area Hospital, River Hospital, Samaritan Medical Center, and Lewis County General Hospital. When a patient who has been sexually assaulted arrives at the emergency department, the hospital notifies our 24-hour hotline and an on-call SANE and an advocate will respond to conduct a forensic rape exam on the patient.

    If you are interested in learning more about the SANE Program, please contact the SANE Coordinator, Erin Fazio, at 315-755-1458 or at


    JCC Campus Advocacy

    The JCC Campus Advocate develops and implements programming and learning opportunities which educate and promote awareness on topics such as: sexual assault, relationship violence, healthy relationships, consent, gender-based violence prevention, bystander intervention, how to support survivors, on-and off campus resources,  Title IX, reporting responsibilities, JCC policies and response to violence.

    The Campus Advocate provides ongoing support to survivors of violence through the Title IX process, can provide court and law enforcement accompaniment, assists with filing orders of protection and connect individuals to additional on- and off campus resources. The campus advocate also works to empower peer prevention programs to include the development and implementation of Respect Integrity Support and Empowerment (RISE). RISE is a student lead group that provides peer prevention and education workshops on critical topics such as sexual violence, dating violence, bullying and mental health.

    Understanding many youth tend to share their problems and concerns with peers, peer support and prevention can be the bridge to assist students in getting the assistance needed. Peer prevention also helps to break the stigma surrounding these important topics. As a member of the JCC Coordinated Community Response Team (CCRT), the campus advocate provides crisis response, referrals, and support to students of concern. The CCRT team ensures that the JCC campus community can submit reports of concern with confidence that they will be addressed.


    Prison Rape Elimination Act

    The Prison Rape Elimination Act Project also known as the PREA project is funded by New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NYSCASA). The PREA project’s purpose is to “provide for the analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape in Federal, State, and local institutions and to provide information, resources, and recommendations and funding to protect individuals from prison rape” (Prison Rape Elimination Act, 2003).

    The act also created the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission and charged it with developing draft standards for the elimination of prison rape. The final rule became effective August 20, 2012 and requires detention facilities to offer services from third party, community-based organizations to survivors. The services for incarcerated survivors ensure that victims are provided with access to outside emotional support services related to sexual abuse. PREA applies to a wide range of detention facilities, including county jails, state prison facilities, juvenile detention facilities, community correction facilities, federal prisons, immigration detention centers, and police lockups.

    VAC serves four prisons inside the northern hub including Cape Vincent, Gouverneur, Ogdensburg, and Riverview.


    Safe Harbour

    The Jefferson County Safe Harbour Program provides case coordination and advocacy for youth, under the age of 24, who have been the subject of commercial sexual exploitation.

    Survivors have access to services including:

    • Medical care
    • Mental health counseling
    • Financial assistance
    • Emergency shelter
    • Other basic living and safety needs

    The program also provides community education and conducts public awareness campaigns on the issue. The goal is to address the immediate life and safety issues of identified youth and to reduce the risk of continued sexual exploitation and abuse by providing access to needed resources.


    Safe Shelter

    VAC operates a residential home that provides emergency safe housing to individuals (and their dependent children) in crisis. The home is also a licensed shelter for homeless females and their dependent children. Staffed around the clock every day of the year, the shelter is handicap accessible and provides a safe and secure environment for all residents.

    Residents can expect all the amenities they would have at home, including a kitchen and dining area, living room, kids play area, bedrooms, bathrooms, laundry, personal lockboxes, attached garage, food and toiletries.

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    Rights of Crime Victims

    Victims of crimes are afforded certain rights. As a crime victim, you have the right to know what is going on with your case. Victims of child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault are afforded additional rights.

    For more information, please visit: