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Houston Creates a Hotline, Hires Justice Advocate To Help Solve Sexual Assaults - Interview With Caitlin Sulley

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2014
1 page
This video and transcript of an interview with Caitlin Sulley of the University of Texas at Austin discusses the features of the Houston Police Department's (HPD's) hotline for sexual assault survivors to obtain information on the processing of their cases, as well as the job description of a newly created justice advocate position in the HPD's sex crimes unit.
After a work group's consultation with sexual assault survivors, the HPS and its partners created the sexual assault information hot line, so that survivors who had reported a sexual assault to HPD at any time in the past could call the number or write to the email line and obtain information on the processing of their sexual assault kit and what has happened to their case. A trained advocate will respond to survivors' requests for information and connect them to any resources they need. Requests usually involve updated information; and if desired, they can meet in person with an investigator to discuss any issues of concern to a survivor. The newly created position of justice advocate in the sex crime unit is to be filled by a social worker who has the skill and training to connect with sexual assault survivors by listening to them and addressing their needs and fears. While guiding them through the case-processing procedures, the advocate assists survivors in navigating the highly stressful process that often leads survivors to disengage from the processing of their cases. Survivors have praised this service as providing the compassionate response they often found missing from their initial interaction with law enforcement officers.

Date Published: April 1, 2014