Department of Family Services – Domestic and Sexual Violence Services

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
703-324-5730 TTY 711
12011 Government Center Parkway, Pennino Building, Floor 7, Suite 740
Fairfax, VA 22035
Toni Zollicoffer

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

exit website button circle  SAFETY ALERT – If you are in danger, call or text 911.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Sexual violence is a major public health, human rights and social justice issue that impacts every person in Fairfax County. The purpose of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is to raise public awareness about sexual violence, educate our community on how to prevent it and share resources available to those impacted by sexual assault.

Everyone is affected by sexual assault. This is borne out by the statistics: Nearly 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will be the victim of sexual violence at some point in their lifetime.

In many cases, sexual violence is a result of a culture that does not properly educate people on how to prevent crimes like this from happening. This makes it especially crucial to begin talking about consent and healthy relationships when our children are young, and to continue having these discussions throughout the course of our lives. These conversations are necessary if we are to create a culture where we can talk about consent, boundaries and healthy sexuality.

The duty of ending sexual violence is a community one, which is why it is important to raise awareness and give community members the necessary tools to have these conversations with their families and with each other.

Learn more about sexual violence. To stay on top of sexual violence awareness events happening in Fairfax County this year, check out the Awareness + Action = Social Change campaign. Share awareness-raising messages on social media from our Sexual Assault Awareness Month Community Engagement Toolkit.

Wear Teal Day Tuesday, April 4, 2023Wear teal on Tuesday, Apr. 4, 2023, to show support for survivors of sexual violence and to raise awareness about Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Email your teal selfies or post to social media with hashtags #SAAM #WearTeal #Support Survivors. Photos may be shared online.

Talking about Gender to Prevent Sexual Violence

teen and older woman cooking in kitchenResearch shows most children understand their own gender between the ages of 2 and 3 years old, but our understanding of what gender means is impacted by our experiences and the adults in our life. As we grow attitudes about gender can impact our relationships and inform how we behave. For teens and young adults, boys can feel pressure to prove their masculinity by having sex early and often, and girls can feel pressured into having sex to keep or satisfy the boys they date. Youth with LGBTQ identities may have a particularly difficult time with gendered expectations because they often do not align with norms of their assumed gender. But adults can help young people build healthy relationships, learn how to respect their partners, and recognize sexual assault or abuse if it happens to them.

How to Respond When Someone Discloses a Sexual Assault

women-with-ponytails-talking.pngSexual assault is a traumatic, life-changing experience and telling someone about it is frightening. A sexual assault survivor’s physical injuries may not always be substantial, but unseen psychological and emotional injuries may be severe. You do not need to be an expert in this area, but how you respond to disclosure is critical to a survivor’s well-being and recovery. Learn how best to respond if someone you know tells you they’ve been the victim of sexual violence.

screenshot video Domestic and Sexual Violence Services Supports Victims of Gender-Based Violence, Toni Zollicoffer speakingDomestic violence and sexual violence are two separate issues and how they are addressed is different, too. Learn more about how the Department of Family Services’ Domestic and Sexual Violence Services division supports survivors of all forms of gender-based violence. 

Note: This video contains images that may be disturbing or triggering.

Learn about sexual assault, domestic violence and how Domestic and Sexual Violence Services supports survivors. Get information about DSVS resources by calling the Domestic and Sexual Violence 24-Hour Hotline 703-360-7273.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant