April 4, 2016
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Tags: Sexual Assault
Organizations mentioned/involved: Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA)
With the support of funding from the Texas legislature, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) recently launched its Legal Aid for Survivors of Sexual Assault (LASSA) project to provide survivors with free legal services in the aftermath of an assault. LASSA works directly with partner agencies, including local rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters, to provide these services.
In 2014, more than 950 sexual assaults were reported in the Rio Grande Valley, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. A 2015 study from the University of Texas at Austin estimates that less than 10 percent of victims report assaults to law enforcement. Through partnerships with the Family Crisis Center in Harlingen, Mujeres Unidas in McAllen, and Friendship of Women in Brownsville, TRLA’s LASSA Project ensures that survivors have access to free legal services from the moment they turn to a crisis center or shelter for help.
Few people may realize that the legal issues following a sexual assault go beyond holding a perpetrator accountable through the criminal justice system. Empowering survivors means giving them the tools to stand up for themselves and ensuring that they know their legal rights after an assault.