Helping victims of sexual assault through trauma could help increase sex crimes prosecutions

SAN ANTONIO – Many sexual assault cases are rarely fully prosecuted because victims cannot be located or are unwilling to face their attacker in court, according to Meli Powers, head of the family division at the county prosecutor’s office by Bexar.

Powers sees firsthand the scars of sexual assault trauma in the victims she meets.

She says many cases of sexual assault never end up in a courtroom.

“When we have a case that did occur one day and it will be taken to court at a later date, we might see that a victim is not ready to appear in court, not ready to testify. The trauma is still far too recent, or they haven’t started the emotional healing process, ”Power said.

Victim Liaison Officers connect victims with resources and guide them through the process. Powers says victims sometimes cannot be reached, and although there is an initial arrest, the case never goes to trial.

“Sometimes as you get closer to the trial date, those feelings can be too strong, where they don’t feel able to do it right now,” Powers said.

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The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault reports that more than 94% of rapists will roam free, and only 3% face a day in jail.

Powers said helping victims heal can help them build the courage to confront their abusers.

“Taking this step of following the case and helping the prosecution come to court to say and describe what happened to them is the first step to healing and closing – extremely difficult, without any doubt, ”Power said. “… You have the option of stopping the violence for the next person.” “

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