Stepping Stones

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), one in six women and 1 in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. To raise awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities on how to prevent it, April is designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM).

During Sexual Assault Awareness Month survivors and advocates engage the greater community in prevention efforts. We know one month isn’t enough to solve the serious and widespread issue of sexual violence, but the attention generates an opportunity to energize and expand prevention efforts.

The 2017 SAAM campaign theme is “Engaging New Voices,” because we can’t reach everyone. But we can identify key leaders who will -- leaders whose influence is necessary in achieving cultural change not just in April, but all year long.

YWCA McLean County will focus on engaging new voices of men, educators, students, government – including law enforcement, and the community.

 Get Involved!

One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks. Stepping Stones, YWCA’s sexual assault program, provides 24-hour assistance for sexual assault and sexual abuse victims and their families in McLean County. This free, confidential service also serves as the central sexual assault resource for McLean County. Services focus on empowering survivors, their families, and their friends on the path of healing, building relationships with professionals and agencies that will be part of the process, and educating the community about sexual assault. Stepping Stones also welcomes the opportunity to present information about sexual assault, date rape drugs, dating violence, or rape culture to a wide variety of audiences.

24-Hour Hotline
Sexual assault advocates can be reached by calling
PATH at (309) 827-4005.

Advocates can:
Provide telephone counseling
Help victim report to the police
Accompany victim to hospital to provide advocacy and support.

Volunteer for the hotline here.

Stepping Stones provides counseling to victims of sexual assault. Here are some quick facts about our counseling services:
  • Victim centered approach
  • Individual counseling to males and females ages 3 and up
  • Family counseling
  • Significant other counseling
  • Support Groups
Medical Advocacy
Stepping Stones can accompany a victim to the hospital to provide advocacy and support.
Legal Advocacy
Stepping Stones can advocate for victims with:
  • Police
  • State Attorney's
  • Court
  • Assist with Civil No Contact Orders
  • Assist with crime victim's compensation
  • Assist with automated victim notification and other crime victim related programs/statutes.
  • The Illinois Automated Victim Notification System (AVN) is a service through which victims of crime can use the telephone or Internet to search for information regarding the custody and case status of their offender and to register to receive telephone and email notification when the offender's custody or court status has changed. The toll-free number for the Illinois AVN system is (866) 566-8439. This service is provided to assist victims of crime who have a right to know about their offender's custody and case status. Here is a link where victims of crime can go for notifications. 
Assistance with any aspect of the Criminal Justice process, including registering on the AVN site, can be obtained by contacting Kara Alt, Advocate and Direct Services Coordinator, at 309-662-0461, ext 275 or
Stepping Stones provides education to schools and community groups on:
  • Sexual Assault
  • Bullying
  • Dating Violence
  • Unsafe Touching
  • Healthy Relationships and More

Volunteer to teach prevention education here.

Volunteer Opportunities
Stepping Stones volunteers are always needed. The 40-hour training covers all information needed to become a trained volunteer advocate. Contact YWCA Stepping Stones at (309) 662-0461, or learn more about the upcoming training here.

If you are interested in volunteering with Stepping Stones, click here

What are Survivors Saying?

"When I come to YWCA, I feel like I am a part of something special. I feel like it's okay to share my feelings and be open with my group members. These are the people who do care. And I know that I am not alone in this world. It's a nice feeling when I come here and I feel safe. The best part about Stepping Stones' group sessions is that I feel like I can be myself, and when I'm down, it's okay to tell someone so they can help me through it."

"Stepping Stones has been a very positive, reassuring experience. I was made aware of the rights I have as a victim and given the opportunity to stand up for myself and heal."

"It takes a village to help a survivor and I'm so happy that YWCA Stepping Stones was there for me and other survivors like me."

"It has been wonderful having someone to listen and provide vital feedback concerning the abuse and how it has affected my life. The sexual assault services have been a God-send and I am very grateful for them."

"I absolutely love this program. The Stepping Stones staff has helped me so much. They taught me how to cope in positive ways and move forward to my goal of becoming a healed survivor. Now I am able to build happy and healthy relationships thanks to Stepping Stones."

Tell your story, or read stories, in our Voices of Survivors here

YWCA Stepping Stones
(309) 662-0461
PATH 24-Hour Hotline
(309) 827-4005
(800) 570-PATH (toll free)
Illinois Automated Victim Notification System
(866) 566-8439
Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault
(217) 753-4117
Contact Information
Hilary Pacha
Senior Director
(309) 662-0461, ext. 271
Kara Alt
Director of Client Services
(309) 662-0461, ext 275
Erin Albright
(309) 662-0461, ext. 257
Gaynett Hoskins
(309) 662-0461, ext. 263
Cinnamon Porter
Prevention Educator
(309) 662-0461, ext. 291
Gabe Cripe
Director of Community Outreach
(309) 662-0461, ext. 267
Emily Bosma
Medical/Legal Advocate
(309) 662-0461, ext. 254

Kelsey Neustel
(309) 662-0462, ext 293