Counselor Advocate Training

The YWCA SACS Counselor Advocate Training (CAT) program is a 48-hour training program leading to certification as a volunteer Sexual Assault Crisis Counselor.  By completing this program, you will gain the valuable training and experience needed to provide supportive counseling and advocacy to sexual assault survivors and their families through hotline calls and police and hospital accompaniments 

Anyone interested in volunteering to provide hotline counseling and accompanying survivors and their loved ones through hospital and police procedures can take CAT class.  No prior experience or knowledge of sexual assault is needed to apply for the class.  In addition to counseling and accompaniments, volunteers can also become involved in support group facilitation, community education, in-person one-to-one counseling, legislative lobbying, special projects, and fundraising.

If you have any questions, please contact Bradley Alagna at 860-225-4681 x528 or at or Alyssa DAmato at 860-225-4681 x520 or


“For anyone thinking of doing this kind of work, it is so important to remember that you will always get so much more out of it than you can ever give. It is in the little things that we do that make so much of a difference. It could be an ‘I believe you’ over the phone, a smile, a hug, or getting someone a drink while they are in the hospital getting an examination kit done that makes a survivor’s experience so different than if we were not there. It may not look like much to you at the moment, but it is those small acts of kindness, compassion, and support that give the survivors strength. And knowing that makes doing this work worth it.”

- SACS volunteer

Classes are held in the fall, spring, and summer. The fall 2021 course begins Tuesday, September 14 and will run 5:30-8:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday through Thursday, November 4 at Asnuntuck Community College. Learn more.

A fee of $85 is required to cover costs of training materials for the class and is dependent upon volunteer commitment.  A fee of $275.00 is required for persons taking the class for professional development purposes only.  All fees are payable the first week of class and are non-refundable.  You can make your payment online here. Alternative payment schedules can be arranged. Gratis para voluntarios bilingues.

Volunteers must commit to a volunteer commitment of 1 year.  This includes 2 hotlines shifts per month.  Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older and have reliable transportation for hospital, police and court accompaniments.  However, this is not required of those who are taking the class for professional development purposes.  It is suggested that YWCA volunteers be on call for at least two shifts a month to maintain and exercise their knowledge and skills.  To maintain certification, volunteers must attend four hours of in-service training per year and attend annual supervisions. 

Please fill out an application form here. After your application has been received, we will contact you to schedule a pre-training interview. Please contact Alyssa DAmato at 860-225-4681 x520 or if you have any questions.

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