CEDAR PARK, TX – State Representative Tony Dale today unveiled part of his legislative agenda for the next session. “Sexual assault is a particularly cruel and violent crime that can have a lasting negative impact on victims. For too long the protection of victims and the pursuit of justice has been too difficult. Sadly, the difficulty in prosecuting these crimes often subjects the victim, mostly women, to feeling revictimized by the system,” said Dale.
Earlier this year, Representative Dale began meeting with victim advocates, criminal justice experts and Williamson County Precinct One Commissioner Lisa Birkman to study the issue. They pointed out a number of significant flaws in several processes in Texas. Bills being drafted by Representative Dale will do the following:
Eliminate surprise medical bills to the victim of rape for a sexual assault forensic exam performed by a hospital or doctor.
Strengthen bond conditions so that victims will be protected from their attacker after arrest.
Issue a protective order against rapists at the time of criminal conviction so that when they get out of jail, police can immediately arrest them if they violate the order.
Streamline the process of serving a protective order so that law enforcement can enforce the order more rapidly to protect victims of domestic abuse.
“Imagine being a victim of sexual assault, going to the hospital for an exam, and then receiving a bill for the exam. This is outrageous, but it can happen in Texas. There is no reason that we cannot cover those expenses with the Crime Victims' Compensation Fund,” said Dale. “Additionally, the current process of obtaining a protective order and then serving that order can present challenges for law enforcement. Often time criminals avoid law enforcement, making it difficult to serve protective orders; which can allow for continued harassment by the perpetrator. We must do better. In these cases, the law must start favoring the victim.”
"Unfortunately, several of my family members have been sexually assaulted so I know how difficult this crime can be on victims. I am pleased that my state representative, Tony Dale, is working with me and others to strengthen the prosecution of sexual assault in Texas," said Williamson County Commissioner Lisa Birkman.
By consistently driving for legislation to punish violent offenders and help keep innocent families safe, Representative Dale has already established a strong track record for being tough on crime. For his efforts he was named “Freshman of the Year” by the Combined Law Enforcement of Texas.
Representative Dale is a member of the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee and the House Select Committee on Child Protection. He represents southwestern Williamson County, including Cedar Park, Leander, Brushy Creek, and parts of Austin and Round Rock.