CLAY COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — This last year, the 87th legislature passed several bills to improve the investigation and prosecution processes for sexual assaults.
One of the things addressed was the disparities in how sexual assault cases were responded to.
With the passage of SB-476, all 254 counties across the state are required to have a Sexual Assault Response Team.
As a result, a multi-county SART is being formulated to include a number of counties, one of which is Clay.
Clay County Judge Mike Campbell said fortunately and to his knowledge, cases of sexual assault have not been common in Clay County, however it is a traumatic experience for all involved and so they want to give it their best effort.
“By doing that we’re able to work with other counties and other inter agencies to make sure that the situation or problem is resolved and people get the outcome they want,” Campbell said.
So far, Archer and Clay counties have agreed to form this multi-county adult sexual assault response team as required by the 87th legislature in an effort to work together to coordinate and develop inter-agency responses to address sexual assault.
“Each commissioner’s court in Texas has to have a written protocol by next December first, so we have a year to put that together, we’ll be required to meet quarterly, it will be the administrators of each county, the sheriff, or his designee,” Campbell said.
The prosecutor for each county as well as a sexual assault nurse examiner or mental or behavioral health provider will serve on the SART as well.
“Texas legislature is famous for unfunded mandates, this is another example of one of them,” Campbell said. “Fortunately, though, this is one that is very important, and we don’t see it costing us anything other than our time and effort to get together to do this.”
Campbell said he is looking forward to getting this response team up and running.
There are still more steps to take to get the team up and running.
In fact, Nortex Regional Planning Commission will be helping to facilitate meetings, while representatives from the counties will determine who serves.