UT System Police Get Guidelines for Sexual Assault Responses
The University of Texas System announced science-based guidelines to help police for all 14 campuses better respond to sexual assault victims.
In a statement, UT System officials said that the 170-page report detailing the guidelines is a “victim-centered blueprint” to assist the system’s 600-person police force in engaging with and understanding victims, as well as reporting allegations.
The document was developed by UT System police and the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault at the UT campus in Austin. The UT system has more than 217,000 students.
“Having the opportunity to rely directly on the scientific and academic community to inform police practices is a rare and powerful foundation for action,” said Michael Heidingsfield, UT System police director. “We must publicly acknowledge our moral obligation to understand sexual assault for the life-altering and destructive experience it is, and be champions of those victimized.”
The blueprint teaches police to better understand the magnitude and controversies surrounding the problem of campus sexual assault and the role of officers in responding, UT System officials said. The manual also provides police with science-based information on dealing with trauma, domestic violence and intimate partner violence, and the role that drugs and alcohol can play.