Sexual Assault Advisory Council Report
The Sexual Assault Advisory Council has posted its report and recommendations to the 81st Legislature. The report provides an overview of the state of sexual assault in Texas and calls for funding to address the issue.
Legislation passed in 2007 established the Advisory Council to examine five key areas as they relate to sexual assault: prevalence in Texas, reduction of recidivism of convicted sexual offenders, increased prosecution and conviction rates, resources for addressing the needs of victims and identifying the cost of sexual violence in Texas.
The Advisory Council was also established to serve as an information clearinghouse and informal coordinator of existing and future sexual assault programming efforts at state and local levels. The legislation identified the following agencies as members:
- Comptroller of Public Accounts Judiciary Section, Special Prosecution Unit, Civil Commitment Division
- Texas Department of Public Safety
- Department of State Health Services
- Governor's Office, Criminal Justice Division
- Office of the Attorney General
- Texas Department of Criminal Justice
- Texas State University, The Texas School Safety Center
- Texas Supreme Court via the Texas Access to Justice Foundation
- Texas Youth Commission
- The University of Texas at Austin, Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (IDVSA) School of Social Work
Other participants included the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA), Council on Sex Offender Treatment, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Texas District and County Attorneys Association, Texas House of Representatives, Office of the Honorable Ellen Cohen and Texas Municipal Police Association.
Each group identified specific needs, gaps in services and challenges in the report. The need for funding, education/training and improved data collection and communication were consistently mentioned by each participant.
“This report confirmed what people in the field have known for years,” said Annette Burrhus Clay, executive director of TAASA. “Sexual assault is a prevalent problem and we are under resourced in dealing with it.”
The report is available at www.taasa.org.