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

Sexual Violence

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

What is Sexual Violence?

woman face close up with teal filterSexual violence is any type of unwanted sexual contact, including words and actions of a sexual nature, against a person’s will or without their consent.  

A person might use force, threats, manipulation, intimidation, or coercion to commit sexual violence. Sexual violence is motivated by a need to control, humiliate, dominate, or harm. It can occur at any age and in any relationship (including stranger, significant other, family member, roommate, personal care provider, friend, teacher, etc.).

Sexual violence can include, but is not limited to:

  • Rape.
  • Nonconsensual oral sex.
  • Unwanted touching.
  • Flashing or catcalling.
  • Restricting access to birth control or condoms.
  • Forced viewing of pornography.
  • Taking or distributing sexual images of someone without their consent.

Consent is the free expression of agreement to an activity. Learn more about what consent in sexual activity means.

If you or someone you love has experienced sexual trauma, you may be feeling a wide range of emotions, including fear, anger, sadness, overwhelm, or confusion. While these emotional responses are quite normal, they can also feel very distressing. Survivors of sexual trauma deserve and need safe spaces and healthy relationships where they feel supported and heard as they begin to understand and heal from their trauma. Learn more about how to get emotional support.

Seeking medical attention after a sexual assault can be scary. Inova Fairfax Hospital’s Forensic Assessment and Consultation Team (FACT) provides medical and forensic examinations.

At your request, a member of FACT will contact our Domestic and Sexual Violence 24-Hour Hotline at 703-360-7273 upon your arrival to request accompaniment services, or you may call us directly. Our trained Hospital Accompaniment Advocates provide emotional support, answer questions about your reporting options, stay with you while evidence is collected and share information about available resources

Learn more about Hospital Accompaniments, the FACT Department, and sexual assault kits.

A secondary survivor is a friend, family member, or partner of someone who has experienced sexual misconduct. Sexual assault can be traumatizing for not only the survivor of the assault, but also for their family, friends, or partners. Because they care about the survivor of this crime, it affects them as well. Their responses and feelings about the assault are real and valid. Find the support and resources you need to take care of yourself and be the best support possible to your loved one.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment is not always physical or directed at a specific person. For example, making negative comments about a specific gender identity or displaying sexual images may be a form of sexual harassment. This can occur in the workplace or with a landlord or roommate involved. Learn more about resources available to handle sexual harassment.

Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972 (aka, Title IX) is a federal law in the United States prohibiting any publicly funded school or university from practicing discrimination on the basis of sex or gender in all school activities. Find out how Title IX is addressed in Fairfax County.

A trigger is a reminder of a past trauma. This reminder can cause a person to feel overwhelmed, sadness, anxiety, or panic. Triggers can take many forms. They may be brought on by a physical location, a certain smell, or the anniversary of the traumatic event. Learn more about triggers and how to manage them.

Sexual coercion is the act of using pressure, alcohol or drugs, or force to make you have sexual contact with someone against your will and may include persistent attempts even though you have already refused. Learn more about what sexual coercion looks like.


Everyone is affected by sexual assault. Check out these recommended readings to learn more about how to prevent sexual violence and how to provide support to survivors.




Sexual Violence Tier One Training June 2024Sexual Violence Tier One

Wednesday and Thursday, June 26 and 27, 2024
8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Fairfax County Government Center
12000 Government Center Pkwy
Conference Room 2/3
Fairfax, VA 22035

Sexual Violence Tier One is a 16-hour training on understanding sexual violence, systems responding to sexual violence in Fairfax County, and resources available in our community. This training is for professionals, volunteers, and community members looking to learn how and why sexual violence happens; the impact of sexual violence on individuals, families, and communities; and how to support those impacted. It is free, but registration is required. For more information, contact Abby Picard.

*See “Is This Training Right for Me?

Fairfax Virtual Assistant