Protecting the Rights of Victims of Sexual Assault
April 21, 2017
Today, NCVLI was joined by co-amici the National Center for Victims of Crime, the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network, and the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, as we filed an amicus brief in support of the victim in the State of Texas v Ukuwachu.
In the case, the defendant, a University of Baylor football player, was convicted of sexual assault. The Court of Appeals reversed defendant’s conviction. In the brief filed with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, amici argue the Court of Appeals made a fundamentally flawed decision, violated Texas’ rape shield law and violated the state Constitution’s mandate to treat victims with fairness and respect.
Of all crimes, the reporting rates for sexual assault are some of the lowest. In Texas, a recent study found that fully 91% of sexual assaults are not reported to law enforcement. Decisions like this one can serve to further decrease reporting of sexual assault, particularly in cases where the victim knows the assailant. Factoring in that the majority of sexual assaults are perpetrated by a small number of repeat offenders, these low reporting rates represent nothing less than a public health crisis. Victims, their families, and their communities will be harmed if this decision stands. Justice for this and all victims demands that rape shield laws and Constitutional protections are honored and enforced by all courts at all levels.
Click here to read the joint Press Release. We will keep you posted on the case.