KXAN Reports DOJ Grant for Travis County “Intimate Partner Sexual Assault Prosecution Unit”

KXAN TV in Austin covered the October award of a new $650,000 Department of Justice Grant that was sought by Travis County Justice Planning, SafePlace and Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid. The grant will be used to create an “Intimate Partner Sexual Assault Prosecution Unit” in the District Attorney’s Office.  The three-year grant will fund one prosecutor and a senior office specialist to  handle cases involving sexual assault by intimate partners and acquaintances.

Emily LeBlanc, senior director of community advocacy for the SAFE Alliance, called the new grant “a needed step in orienting our public structures to deal with an uncomfortable fact — most sexual assaults are perpetrated by people known to the survivors.”

Assistant District Attorney Dana Nelson said, “Victims of intimate partner sexual assault need more support in order to hold offenders accountable. Holding offenders accountable is a really important piece of providing justice and safety, not just for those individual victims, but also for our entire community.”

According to state figures, domestic violence deaths rose to a new high of 157 in 2015, which also reflects a 19 percent increase over the number of deaths in 2014.

In partnership with SafePlace and Travis County Justice Planning, TRLA, will provide civil legal services.

According to the Survive to Thrive Foundation signs of an abusive relationship include:

  • Exerting strict control (financial, social and/or appearance).
  • Needing constant contact including excessive texts and calls.
  • Emotional abuse including insulting a partner in front of other people.
  • Extreme jealousy.
  • Showing fear around a partner.
  • Isolation from family and friends.
  • Frequent canceling of plans at the last minute.
  • Unexplained injuries or explanations that don’t quite add up.