What We Demand

#WeBelieve is a campaign led by survivors, advocates, community members, and organizations committed to sexual assault criminal justice reform in Austin, Texas. The campaign is rooted in a set of visionary demands for what #WeBelieve are necessary outcomes for justice, truth and transparency around sexual assault. 

We Demand Transparency and Truth

We believe the first step towards building trust and creating a path forward is to understand where we’ve been. 

 

  1. A publicly reported evaluation of practices in the investigation and prosecution of adult sexual assault.
  2. Consistent, accurate and timely reporting in a public forum no less than quarterly.
  3. Accurate counts of how many kits are waiting for technical review, how long it will take to upload all kits to CODIS, and timely reporting of results.
  4. APD and DA adopt policies and the necessary technology to track and record case progress and outcomes, and adopt victim-centered, trauma-informed policies to include meeting in person with victims for regular case status updates.

We Demand Community Collaboration and Accountability

We believe that no one organization or department controls the movement against violence; instead, our public systems and organizations are accountable to the communities they serve and must work together to address survivor concerns. 

 

  1. One inclusive coordinated community response with required participation from both APD and DA.
  2. An established process for regular evaluations and a commitment to address deficiencies, including case reviews of dismissals/suspensions/clearances due to lack of victim participation that include community advocates and exploration of avenues for prosecution without victim participation.
  3. Travis County District Attorney to adopt a best practice model framework for prosecution of sexual assault.

We Demand Investment in Culture Shift

We believe that because sexual assault investigation and prosecution present many challenges, success  requires innovative practices, specialized training and a commitment to combating institutional oppression. 

  

  1. For all sex crimes detectives and prosecutors: a requirement of 40 hours of training specific to sexual assault and other forms of oppression within 6 months of joining the unit; a requirement of 12 hours of annual continuing education training specific to sexual assault and other forms of oppression with evaluations; and quarterly joint trainings for detectives, prosecutors, advocates, and forensic nurses.
  2. Increased staffing for detectives and victim service counselors in line with national best practices.
  3. A dedicated sexual assault court with a specialized, experienced, and appropriately trained judge and prosecutors.

We Demand Community-Based Healing and Support

We believe that as community members, we all play a role in addressing harm; organizations within and outside of traditional sexual assault response play important roles in the long-term healing for those affected by sexual violence.  

 

  1. An ombudsman and formal process for victims to turn to when they are not being treated appropriately or fairly by the criminal justice system.
  2. Investment in culturally resonant community health services around Austin to address the ongoing needs of sexual assault survivors and others who have and continue to experience trauma.
  3. City and county-sponsored public education campaigns aimed at reducing sexual assault and informing the public about healing resources and reporting options.
  4. A city and county-sponsored assessment of why 91% of victims choose not to report to law enforcement and investment in services to meet their needs.