New police tool to fight for victims of rape

HPD developed the new line to help put the focus on the victims during the investigation
January 17, 2014 9:59:12 AM PST
The Houston Police Department investigates about 1,600 sex assault cases each year. Officers say the new sexual assault information line is designed to give a "victim-centered" approach to these types of investigations.

Standing with a task force of partners from women's and medical centers, HPD officially launched a new sexual assault information line Friday morning. The communication system, we're told, is designed to improve communication between survivors and investigators by putting the victims back in control.

HPD is currently in the process of working on a backlog of sex assault kits dating back to the 1980s. Over time investigators have lost contact with many of those victims. The task force is hoping the new information line will allow those survivors to reconnect with police and follow up on those cases as results come in, in addition to helping victims inquiring about new cases.

Sonia Corrales with the Houston Area Women's Center said, "We recognize that survivors may need additional support to get through what may be a stressful experience. It's important for survivors to know that they have access to advocates who can provide support and crisis intervention and additional resources."

HPD is encouraging survivors of former and new cases to contact the sexual assault information line at 713-308-1400, or by email at sainfo@houstonpolice.org.

The task force is also making brochures about the information line available at women's centers and police storefronts across the city. HPD says the sexual assault information line will be staffed by trained crisis counselors.

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