Hopeful for Further Momentum in Texas Sexual Assault Reform

Defense

Hopeful for Further Momentum in Texas Sexual Assault Reform

In 2019, Texas enacted significant changes in the way sexual assaults are investigated and how victims are treated. Advocates of continuing change are hopeful that 2021 will elicit further momentum forward. The initial reforms were predicated on the #MeToo movement, and the Texas Tribune reports that legislators spanning both parties poured millions of dollars in resources into handling the immense backlog of rape kits, funding exams for sexual assaults, and funding rape crisis centers.

Moving Things Forward

Those in support of change have praised the state’s earlier efforts, which they see as having made unprecedented inroads regarding supporting victims of sexual assault. These advocates would like to keep this momentum moving in the right direction, and toward this end, they are seeking additional statutory changes that would include all of the following:

  • Expanding the definition of sexual assault

  • Extending the statute of limitation for cases involving sexual harassment in the workplace

  • Bolstering the number of locations in which forensic exams for sexual assault cases can be conducted

Expanding the Definition of Sexual Assault

Expanding the definition of sexual assault is a big one, and it deserves more in-depth attention. The expansion that advocates are looking for would include the following:

  • Expanding the definition of sexual assault without consent to include cases involving victims who are too intoxicated to provide consent and to include victims who withdraw consent

  • Expanding the definition of sexual assault to include cases in which caregivers sexually exploit those who depend upon them for daily life tasks

Competing Priorities

Unfortunately, lawmakers currently face myriad competing priorities. 2020 was a year for the ages, and the measures on the books that relate to the pandemic and that address the devastation wrought by the recent winter storm are heavy hitters that demand lawmakers’ careful attention.

Managing Expectations

The senior policy advisor at the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault shared the challenges her organization is up against with the Tribune, and it boils down to attempting to manage expectations. While their ambitions are lofty, she is not sure how realistic they are at this point – considering the budget restraints and the overwhelming need in so many different areas.

Concerning Statistics

The Tribune also reported some concerning statistics that address sexual assault in the State of Texas, including:

  • Thirty-three percent of all adults in Texas have faced some form of sexual assault.

  • More than 65 percent of all sexual assault survivors have been assaulted more than once.

Consult with an Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you are facing a sexual assault charge – or any criminal charge – it is a serious matter that can seriously affect your life as you know it. Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is a dedicated criminal defense attorney who focuses his impressive practice on helping the accused obtain favorable case resolutions. Your future is important, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 to learn more about how we can help you today.
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