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The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education


“The Center” 2015 ANNUAL REPORT

DEAR FRIEND, Since 1979 The Center has been a safe haven for victims and survivors of sexual abuse. Much has been done in the last 36 years to address this often silent crime and we feel that change is in the air as media, legislators, activists and celebrities are finally focusing attention to this issue. Yet in our everyday work we encounter obstacles and biases that discourage survivors from speaking up and seeking help. The principal barrier continues to be our society’s lack of understanding of the overarching damage caused by these crimes. Sexual assault does not only shatter the lives of victims, it also invades all the structures of our society: families, workplaces, institutions, worship congregations and justice systems. In response, we at The Center continue to work diligently, supporting clients on their personal journeys, through our 24-hour hotline and our short-term crisis counseling and advocacy services. But we aren’t only a salve to the injury; our prevention programs educate the communities we serve, in schools, community centers, corporations and local government entities.

Nine year old Eva loves butterflies. She has them everywhere; butterfly stickers on her school notebooks, butterfly motifs on her clothing and butterfly posters in her room. Even her favorite pajamas have a big butterfly on the front.

We thank you for your continuous support and trust. We hope that you find our annual report informative and that it inspires you to continue fighting this battle with us.

Eva’s family was like many. Her mom and step-father worked long hours and did their best to move their family forward and care for the two daughters; or so it seemed. One day in early autumn, Eva’s mom, Isabel, returned home early from work. It was a holiday and she was looking forward to spending the rest of the day with her family. Upon arriving home, she found her youngest daughter, Lisa, watching TV in the living room by herself. Curious about the whereabouts of her husband and her oldest daughter, Eva, Isabel went to look for them in the bedroom. She noticed that the bedroom door was locked. When her husband finally opened the door, a troubling scene appeared. She found him in his boxers and Eva still wearing her favorite butterfly pajamas. More unsettling, Eva’s pajama top was on backwards. When Isabel asked what happened, they said nothing.


This was the beginning of a long journey for Eva and Isabel…

The complexity of our work can be challenging to portray at times; the stories are multifaceted, the far-reaching effects of the abuse and the injustices our clients must live through affect their lives at so many levels. Yet it is exactly this complexity that makes us the best at what we do. The annual report you are holding tells only one of many untold stories. In the pages that follow you will get a personal view of how The Center’s work is designed to support one survivor as she rebuilds and repairs her ruptured life. We hope that reading through it will give you a sense of our everyday, real-life victories with survivors.

Ivonne Zucco Executive Director

Kim Hekking Board President

HOTLINE SERVICES Suspecting child sexual abuse, Isabel reached out to someone she trusted, her landlord. He called the police right away. When the police arrived they found the step-father in the parking lot, pulled him aside for questioning and arrested him on the spot.

“It is during these difficult times in a person’s life that our State Certified Crisis Advocates are there to support not only the victim, but also the professionals that are trying to help with medical attention and investigation of the crime. Our highly trained staff and volunteers can make such a big difference because they understand the whole process including the components of the medical examination, evidence collection kit, police reporting and case prosecution. Additionally, because our practice is trauma informed, we can help the “helpers and first responders” to understand and be more sensitive to the victim’s reaction to the trauma, which might involve disorganized thoughts, loss of memories, and cycling emotions.” Raquel Lopez, Volunteer Program Coordinator, 40-Hour Crisis Advocate Trainer

The police advised Isabel to take Eva to the local hospital. Upon arrival, the hospital immediately called THE CENTER’S 24-HOUR SEXUAL ASSAULT HOTLINE and requested a Bilingual-Bicultural Crisis Counselor/Advocate to meet with Isabel and Eva at the emergency room. Maria, The Center’s Crisis Counselor and Advocate, made it to the hospital within thirty minutes. The arrival of Maria was a big relief not only for Eva and Isabel, but also for the hospital staff trying to help them. Isabel, whose primary language is Spanish, was having difficulty communicating and understanding what was happening. Maria reassured Isabel that she wasn’t alone. The Center was available to provide services that were free and confidential. Isabel and Eva could count on Maria for emotional support and to assist the police and hospital staff by translating and explaining the process. With Maria’s help, Isabel was beginning to understand the process to follow…

During the fiscal year of

July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015 The Center’s counselor/advocates responded to 253 hotline calls and 23 hospital calls.

CRISIS COUNSELING & SEXUAL ABUSE RESPONSE TEAMS The next day, a specialized forensic interview was scheduled with the SEXUAL ABUSE RESPONSE TEAM (SART). During the interview, Eva disclosed that her step-father had been abusing her for more than a year. Maria was there to support Eva and Isabel throughout the entire interview process. Isabel was a good mom and desperately wanted to support her daughter, but she faced many new challenges. She worried about now supporting her family with only one income, and was confused by the legal process, not only because of the language barrier, but also because Isabel had been diagnosed with a brain tumor which made it difficult for her to process information. It was through THE CENTER’S CRISIS COUNSELING sessions that Maria got to counsel Isabel weekly, help her work through the personal challenges and help her navigate the justice system. When Isabel and Eva had to talk to law enforcement, prosecutors, or even when they needed extra help to make ends meet, Maria was there to support them. * The Center is part of the two response teams for child sexual assault in Lower Fairfield County. They investigate disclosures of child sexual abuse in a “team approach” manner to reduce the number of times a child is interviewed and to ensure that the family receives all necessary support. Members are, but not limited to, The Center, Child Guidance Center of Southern CT and Children’s Connection, CT Department of Children and Families, Office of State’s Attorney, Office of Victim Services, Local Police Departments, Local Hospitals, Adult and Juvenile Probation.

“The level of expertise and commitment to advocacy displayed by the people from The Center is not only a great asset to the Sexual Assault Response Team, but also an inspiration to those of us in the field, as well as the families whose lives they impact.” Jessie Boy-Doe, LCSW Former Director, Sexual Abuse Response Team Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut

The Center provided short term crisis counseling to 484 clients and participated in 90 investigations and 30 team meetings as a part of the two local response teams.

“Our short term crisis counseling is goal oriented. We work with our clients to determine what their immediate needs are and counsel them from that starting point. Usually the results of the trauma, or the mere condition of living with an abuser, makes individuals very vulnerable, and it is rare that a client will come to us with only one set of problems. That’s why it is important that our counseling is accompanied by a great deal of advocacy, so we can help victims get back on their feet and start walking the journey from Victim to Survivor.” Ivonne Zucco, MBA The Center Executive Director

The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education


WE ARE “The Center”

Six months later, a trial date was finally set. Nine year old Eva was told that she would have to testify on her own against her step-father. Isabel would have to testify as well. As promised, Maria was right by their side, attending all court hearings and meetings with the prosecutor. Needless to say, when the day arrived, both Isabel and Eva were extremely nervous. With Maria’s emotional support, they were able to take the stand. Eva showed the court how her step-father took off her butterfly pajama top to touch her breasts.

We are at The Center of the lives of individuals and families that are exposed to sexual violence by providing the counseling, support and advocacy when their lives have been torn apart…

It took jurors just thirty minutes to convict. The step-father was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

“The Center was invaluable in the prosecution of this case. They were with the victim every step of the way. From the first day of court, to the trial and testimony of the minor victim and the victim’s mother, to the emotional sentencing. It was only with their dedication and assistance that the State of Connecticut was able to successfully prosecute a dangerous sex offender.” Michelle Manning Assistant State’s Attorney Stamford Office of the State’s Attorney

…and in The Center of a community that is learning to understand the impact of sexual abuse and the importance of prevention.

PREVENTION EDUCATION Eva is just one child of many who experiences sexual abuse daily. Everyday, our PREVENTION EDUCATORS are in the community talking to children, youth, parents, school staff, law enforcement, and health and human services professionals about the dynamics that permit sexual assault to persist. We understand the importance of teaching this early and throughout life, so when a person is confronted with this kind of violence they know how to reach out for help, and if they witness violence they are more confident in their civic responsibility to speak up. Our comprehensive programs focus on teaching the importance of values like empathy, personal boundaries, respect, and intervention, as well as highlighting the influence that media and technology have today on the way some perpetrators gain access to their victims. Only through education will we create a society that is compassionate towards the suffering of victims and make it safe for them to emerge from their cocoon, renewed and transformed, like a butterfly.

“If we fail to challenge the culture that supports sexual violence, then we shall likely never see an end to this issue. There are many factors that contribute to this epidemic and many signs along the way that, if recognized early, may prevent further abuse. First, we must talk about it to help lift the stigma and shame associated with sexual assault. Second, we must support those who have been victimized and let them know that they do not stand alone. Third, we must empower our communities with the tools to identify, resist and report sexual abuse. Knowledge is power, and we believe that raising awareness through prevention education is a vital step in stopping all sexual abuse.� Charlotte Poth, Prevention Educator

The Center provided prevention education to nearly 14,000 individuals and received and responded to 60 disclosures of sexual abuse by children as a result of our organization providing these prevention education programs.


Annual AnnualAppeal, Appeal, 3%3%


CONNSACS , 33% Special Events, 29%

Special Events, 29%




2014 2015



Other Grants & Contributions, 29%


W ay ,6

United Ways, % 6%


Other Grants & Contributions, 29%



Prevention and Education Prevention and Education Programs, 27% Programs, 27%

Other Grants & Contributions

Special Events

Annual Appeal


Development, 12%

Development, 12%

Management and General, 15% Management and General,

United Ways

Counseling and Advocacy Counseling and Advocacy Services, 46% Services, 46%

OPERATING REVENUE CONNSACS United Way Other Grants & Contributions Special Events Annual Appeal

33% 6% 29% 29% 3%

$ $ $ $ $ $

OPERATING EXPENSES Counseling and Advocacy Services Prevention and Education Programs Management and General Development

46% 27% 15% 12%

$ 259,639 $ 152,879 $ 85,324 $ 67,940 $ 565,782

198,051 35,646 172,287 170,707 20,086 596,777

OUR CONTRIBUTORS Our work is possible only with the support of people like you, our corporate friends, and our community partners. Thank you for your generosity and for believing in our mission!

Thank you to the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence (formerly CONNSACS) for securing and allocating our annual federal and state funding. $20,000 plus Help for Children Hedge Funds Care $10,000 - $19,999 The City of Norwalk Fairfield County Community Foundation, Inc. Herbert & Nell Singer Foundation Shenkman Capital Management, Inc. Survey Research Center Tudor Investment Corporation United Way of Greenwich, Inc. United Way of Western Connecticut Gayle and Seth Weinstein The William and Sylvia Silberstein Foundation, Inc. $5,000 - $9,999 American Express Charitable Fund Astrum Care Management, LLC Betty and Eric Brennan City of Stamford The Steven A. and Alexandra M. Cohen Foundation Kim and Mark Dickinson Michelle and Michael Diliberto First County Bank GE Asset Management Kim Hekking Patti and Aris Kekedjian

Joan and Mike Lombardozzi NFL Ventures LP St. John’s Community Foundation $1,000 - $4,999 Allstate Giving Program Ann Taylor Mara Arzi Anna and Clifton E. Benham Kristen Clark Cobble Court Interiors Community Fund of Darien Connecticut Film Center, LLC Elle and Daren D’Andrea Patricia Devine Kathryn Emmett and David Golub Lisa Ferraro First Congregational Church Darien First Congregational Church Of Greenwich Richard Freedman The Gallaher-Smith Family Gen Re Natalie Grainger Elaine and Peter Guiffreda IBM Employees Service Center Irwin Belk Educational Foundation Scott Leahey Dara & Thomas Miles Sara and Dan Mushegian

Britta and Denis Nayden New Canaan Community Foundation Christina and Donald O’Brien Odgers Berndtson LLC Kathy and John O’Neill The Parish of Christ Church Greenwich Geralyn Petrafesa Pitney Bowes Global Impact David and Kristine Reilly The Rich Foundation, Inc. Kimberly Scardino Katherine Shubart Anthony Simari Stamford Hospital Nicole Steel Douglas Stevens Swindells Charitable Foundation Trust Tuesday Tamburri and Derrick Butler Elieen and James Thomas Tulgey Wood Foundation Unimim Corporation Bonnie Verses Westport Woman’s Club, Inc. Alicia and Robert Wyckoff $500 - $999 Arch Capital Services, Inc. Belinda Basile and David Wharmby Maureen and Charlie Bittman Jeff Bower

Daniel Carter Darien Youth Community Fund Tammy Davis The Dojo Stamford John DosReis Eric Dobbin Cynthan Fitzgerald Rose and Michael Foley Anne Hoffman Sarah Klein Monica and Jerry Knorr Bruce Lassman Susan Lattimer Joan and Paul Lombardo Evon and William Malloy Ellen and Roger Marment Lisa and Steve Maronian Michael McCaffery Diane Muldowney Setta Mushegian and Timothy Wilkes Sirouhi Mushegian Nestle USA Norwalk Community College Ann Marie Palladino Susan Pomerance Karen Ricciardelli Robert Sherman Janson Simpson The Southfield Center for Development Stephen Weiss

OUR CONTRIBUTORS Kathy and Frank Whitley Juanita and Dudley Williams $250-$499 Mary and Tim Abbazia Jennifer Acosta Kristen Antonpoulis Aon Service Corporation Carolyn Armbrust Fran and Tim Barry Deborah Boehringer Katherine Brennan Lisa and Tom Butler DeAnne Calcagnini Lisa Cavicchiolli Aspasia Christopoulus Christine and Joseph Cognetti Courtney Comstock Lisa and Michael Cuscuna Amanda Day Suzanne DeBow Ingrid Dehler Cynthia DeMato Debbie and Bryan Dietz Annalisa and John DiNucci Sarah Dioguardi Amy and Jack DiTeodoro Laura Elliot and Dan Tubert Margarita Esparrago Steven Ezzes Mary Fay Lynne Fife Danielle Fitzgibbon

Julianne Fontno Leigh French Kristin and Peter Geary Denise Giordano Jeffrey Greenfield Marcia Hamelin Marcy and Tim Hanna Zerlina Hayes Liria Heidenreich Wendi and Dave Hoak Lindsay Johnson Michelle and William Judice Maureen Karr Nicholas Keyes Shannon Kieske Beth and Mike Krupa Robert Laney Lexus Of Greenwich Harold Low Cathy and Matt Lueders Nicole Lupo Allison Malloy Nydia and Ron Marron Joseph Masher Masonic Club of Darien Brooke McGrath Brenda McKenna Claudette Messineo Jane Meyer Marsha Mifflin Diane Moriary Kimberly Morque Joan and Michael Nicholson

Jennifer Novak Over 40 Females, LLC Paul Palanzo Gulay Philip Margie and Francisco Pinto-Leite Virginia and Edward Prial Janet Reed Jodi Romanello Cristina Romero Richard Scardino Beth Schaefer Dana Schmitt Leah Schweller Carol and Peter Seldin Danielle and Ted Sibilia SL Green Management LLC Brandy Solinsky Nicole Spada Fabiana Suaid Dan Taberski Jeffrey Trell Lisa Trumba Bonnie and Robert Tuite Lynn and Harley Tusa Elizabeth Viergever Kate Vivanco Kelly Wheeler Marjorie Wilkes Lisa and Steven Wise

BOARD & STAFF BOARD OF DIRECTORS Kim Hekking, President Gayle Weinstein, Vice President Joan Lombardozzi, Secretary Clifton E. Benham Michelle M. Diliberto Melissa Gallaher-Smith Lisa Maronian Tuesday Tamburri Bonnie Verses OUR MANAGEMENT TEAM Ivonne Zucco, MBA, Executive Director Karen Mello, Director of Development & Communications Setta Mushegian, MSW, Director of Crisis Counseling & Advocacy OUR STAFF Rosie Enyart, Counselor/Advocate Raquel Lopez, Volunteer Program Coordinator Ellie MacGregor, Prevention Educator Sarah Malhotra, Prevention Educator Ingrid Pasten, MSW, Counselor/Advocate Charlotte Poth, Prevention Educator Juana Yanes, Bilingual Counselor/Advocate

OUR MISSION The mission of The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education is to provide counseling and support services to victims of sexual assault and to eliminate sexual violence through community-wide prevention education programs.

YOU MAKE IT ALL POSSIBLE. Our wish? A world free from sexual violence.

The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education

733 Summer Street Stamford, CT 06901 (203) 348-9346

The Center 2015-2016 Annual Report  
The Center 2015-2016 Annual Report