The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is funding a program providing a $165,829 grant to help students access trauma-informed care to survivors of sexual assault at college and universities.
The initiative is in collaboration with the Texas Forensic Nurse Examiners and seven universities including Rice University, the University of Houston, Prairie View A&M University, Houston Community College, Texas Southern University, Lee College and the South Texas College of Law.
“We’ve taken asset forfeiture dollars and re-invested them in victims and victims’ services by helping Texas Forensic Nurse Examiners (TXFNE) hire, train and use more forensic interviewers,” said District Attorney Kim Ogg.
“Combine that with seminars on preventing sexual assault, a dedicated hotline and access to support groups and students have more help in preventing and dealing with sexual assault.”
Two UH students proposed the partnership, and one of them is Jack Jordan, Ogg’s son. The universities’ partnership with TXFNE is the first of its kind in the state.
According to statistics from the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, at least a quarter of undergraduate females and one in 15 undergraduate males in the U.S experience sexual assault.
“What the District Attorney’s office is actually paying for is to keep our forensic interviewing program moving forward. We launched that in the summer of 2020,” said Khara Breeden, founder and CEO of Texas Forensic Nurse Examiners. “Another part our role is to create a relationship with colleges to ensure students have a safe place to take a medical forensics exam after physical or sexual violence occurs.”
Laura Onyeneho covers the city’s education system as it relates to Black children for the Defender Network as a Report For America Corps member. Email her at email@example.com