KUT » The Provability Gap
KUT & KUTX Studios
An in-depth news series about the handling and mishandling of sexual assault cases in Austin and Central Texas. Travis County law enforcement responded to more than 600 adult sexual assault allegations in 2017, according to the Travis County District Attorney. That same year, only one person was found guilty by a jury. And that case wasn't from Austin. Even though an overwhelming majority of these assaults – 496 – were reported to the Austin Police Department, none made it to trial in all of 2017. Community advocates have long argued the number of prosecutions for sexual assaults is too low, but it was only after a swell of negative news – from DNA lab closures to misclassified police reports to class-action lawsuits – that city leaders began to take a deeper look. More people are starting to question whether the criminal justice system is really set up to protect rape victims. KUT's Nadia Hamdan spent the last few months speaking with more than a dozen people within the sphere of sexual assault, interviewing victims, advocates, detectives, prosecutors, lawyers and academics. One thing was clear: Creating a system that is survivor-focused won’t be easy.