Is Travis County Doing Enough for Rape Survivors?

SARRT study says not so

Is Travis County Doing Enough for Rape Survivors?

Every aspect of Austin and Travis County's sexual assault response system is under-resourced, according to a communitywide needs assessment released this month by the region's Sexual Assault Response and Resource Team. The 74-page report, compiling data sources and interviews with 24 survivors and 51 professionals in law enforcement, advocacy, social work, education, and health care, reveals that two-thirds of those working with assault survivors feel they don't have the time needed to "adequately address" their workload, and 94% believe the law does not fully address the crime of sexual assault. Unsurprisingly, immigrants and undocumented survivors were found to be the most underserved group, while access to counseling remains survivors' biggest unmet need.

The report includes a long list of recommendations. Stake­hold­ers across the spectrum of services are advised to pursue increased funding and staffing for related programs, and to explore cross-training between agencies. The SARRT urges criminal justice agencies to invest in translation services and better record-keeping for criminal case outcomes. State-level advocates should consider policies that could extend or eliminate certain statutes of limitations, and update definitions within those statutes.

Though the report contains important data, it also makes clear its limitations. The SARRT could only evaluate reported rapes; in Texas, only 9% of survivors report the crime. The limited data makes it difficult to address the full scope of needs at both local and state levels, and for policymakers to fully comprehend how sorely resources are needed.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More by Sarah Marloff
Mobility Plan’s Bad Date With ZAP
Mobility Plan’s Bad Date With ZAP
Began in 2016, Austin's proposed transportation plan still manages to be contentious

March 22, 2019

Death Watch: “Texas Seven” Member Contests “Law of Parties”
Death Watch: “Texas Seven” Member Contests “Law of Parties”
A robbery ended in a police officer death while Patrick Murphy waited outside. Current Texas law holds him responsible.

March 22, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Sexual Assault Response and Resource Team

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle