Sexual Assault Survivors’ Task Force Issues Second Biennial Report To Legislature
Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the Governor's Sexual Assault Survivors' Task Force (SASTF) issued its second Biennial Report to the Texas Legislature. The report includes policy recommendations for the 88th Legislative Session and summarizes task force projects completed since the last biennial report – including the creation of a trauma-informed rubric, a safety planning framework, and a law enforcement sexual assault response protocol.
"As Texans, we will always protect the right of all citizens to live safely and securely," said Governor Abbott. "With these goals in mind, dedicated professionals and volunteers across Texas continue their invaluable work in crime prevention, law enforcement, prosecution, advocacy, and victim support – helping to create a better, safer future for all Texans. Since the last legislative session, the Governor’s Sexual Assault Survivors’ Task Force has continued its work on behalf of Texas’ adult and child sexual assault survivors. With our shared mission of transforming Texas’ response to sexual violence, we continue to seek justice for survivors, hold offenders accountable, and ensure that all survivors have access to the resources they need for healing and recovery."
Established in 2019, the SASTF ensures a survivor-centered, trauma-informed, collaborative, and coordinated response to sexual violence experienced by adults and children across the state.
The SASTF also published the Survivors’ Rights Guide, which will inform, empower, and assist survivors, providers, supporters, and the general public in understanding survivors’ rights. The guide was created by the SASTF’s Survivor-Centered Working Group and is available for download.
PROMOTE SURVIVOR HEALING
- Clarify that sexual assault survivors who undergo a forensic medical exam have cooperated with a law enforcement investigation for purposes of eligibility for Crime Victims Compensation reimbursement.
- Ensure that health care facilities can be reimbursed directly for Emergency Medical Care from the Crime Victims Compensation Program by filing an application on behalf of the survivor; include a list of specific services that are eligible for Emergency Medical Care and a specific timeframe of eligibility.
- Extend Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner certifications from two years to three years.
- Expand sexual assault forensic examination training requirements for emergency room medical professionals.
STRENGTHEN STATEWIDE EFFORTS
- Update SASTF statutory membership to include a representative from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, an adult survivor of child sexual abuse or a parent or guardian of a survivor of child sexual abuse, and a survivor of adult sexual assault.
- Extend the SASTF expiration date.
- Provide travel reimbursement for SASTF members and survivor speakers attending SASTF quarterly meetings.
ENHANCE SYSTEMS RESPONSE
- Promote essential access to forensic medical exams for adult and child survivors of sexual assault by making necessary statutory modifications, including synthesizing the reported and non-reported Subchapters within the Code of Criminal Procedure (Subchapters F and G, respectively) into one combined Subchapter. Make other necessary statutory modifications to ensure that survivors of sexual assault have access to forensic medical exams.
- Clarify that system-generated emails or text communications from Track-Kit, or information viewable to the user in Track-Kit, meets Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) notification requirements in cases in which the survivor has not reported his or her sexual assault to law enforcement.
- Add a minimum of eight hours of instruction related to trauma-informed child sexual abuse and adult sexual assault investigations to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement’s Basic Peace Officer Course.
- Mandate training for trauma-informed response to child sexual abuse and adult sexual assault for all law enforcement.
- Amend the sexual assault statute with respect to consent to provide clear protection for victims of sexual assault in circumstances not explicitly covered by current Texas law.
Pursuant to Texas Government Code §772.0064, the Office of the Governor contracted with the University of Texas at Austin’s Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (IDVSA) to complete a two-part study on service needs and availability for sexual assault and abuse survivors in Texas. Findings from Part 2 of its research highlighted the needs and experiences of sexual assault and abuse survivors with existing services. Additionally, data from IDVSA’s Part 1 statewide sexual assault survivors’ resource inventory were utilized to create a comprehensive, statewide survivors’ resource directory now available on the Governor’s website. This research helps the state better serve survivors of sexual assault crimes and will provide greater understanding of the landscape of resources, service provision gaps, and unmet needs for survivors and their families.