Tell Council Members to support a budget that helps survivors heal

Written by The SAFE Alliance

The SAFE Alliance and the Austin Commission for Women are asking for your immediate help to make sure Austin City Council takes action to prioritize the needs of sexual assault survivors in our city.

We recognize and are encouraged by the APD’s corrective actions to clear the city’s Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) backlog. However, the inadequate handling of evidence has resulted in years of silence for victims. Upon notification of the SAK testing, these survivors are in need of trauma-informed counseling services.

We encourage you to call your council members before their Aug. 31 meeting and tell them to support a budget that helps sexual assault survivors heal.

What’s before the council 

To provide counseling services for survivors who cannot afford to pay for private therapy, council members introduced two amendments to the budget:

  • S-6 would provide $50,000 to be allocated for the training of local counselors to provide trauma counseling in exchange for taking on pro-bono sexual assault clients in need of these services. This would increase capacity to work with the survivors whose cases are now being tested as part of the rape kit backlog, many whom may have not received any information on their cases in years.
  • S-19 would restore five APD Victim Services counselor positions that were previously cut. The addition of each new victim counselor would provide direct services to between 350 and 400 victims.

Contact your Council Member

We ask you to reach out to your district’s council members, the mayor, and any council member with whom you have a good relationship and urge them to support these amendments.

Not sure who your council member is? Click here to find out who represents you. 

Call your Council Member

To have the most impact, please place a phone call to your council representative or schedule an in-person meeting with these council members to discuss this issue. We’ve included a template telephone script below. When you call, ask to speak to the staffer who handles public safety and relay the following message:

“Hello, my name is ________ and I am one of the council member’s constituents. I’m calling to ask that you pass budget amendments S-6 and S-19, as proposed. The city needs to fund the training of local therapists to provide trauma counseling for sexual assault survivors as well as restore APD Victim Services counselor positions. These measures are essential to provide support and counseling to survivors of sexual assault in Austin.”

Below is a list of the council members’ office numbers.

  • District 1 – Ora Houston: 512.978.2101
  • District 2 – Delia Garza: 512.978.2102
  • District 3 – Sabino “Pio” Renteria: 512.978.2103
  • District 4 – Gregorio “Greg” Casar: 512.978.2104
  • District 5 – Ann Kitchen: 512.978.2105
  • District 6 – Jimmy Flannigan: 512.978.2106
  • District 7 – Leslie Pool: 512.978.2107
  • District 8 – Ellen Troxclair: 512.978.2108
  • District 9 – Kathie Tovo: 512.978.2109
  • District 10 – Alison Alter: 512.978.2110