Real change begins when #SurvivorsSpeak.

HAWC’s Expertise Tapped

On May 15, 2024, the Houston Police Department (HPD) Independent Review Committee released its interim report on the handling and resolution of suspended incident reports dating back to 2016, including thousands of sexual assault reports. The report calls for HPD to engage HAWC’s expertise in updating victim notification protocols and providing mandatory trauma-informed training for the Special Victims Division.

As Deputy CEO Sonia Corrales stated, “Real change cannot happen without a multi-disciplinary, survivor-focused approach. As the presiding officer of the Harris County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), HAWC looks forward to opportunities to drive change.”

Miss Houston for #SurvivorsSpeak

As Houston’s designated Rape Crisis Center and leader of the SART, HAWC is uniquely positioned to advise on survivor needs. It is critical to listen when #SurvivorsSpeak and to implement trauma-informed policies and resources. HAWC has partnered with Miss Houston Mary Sickler, a sexual assault survivor, to raise awareness about the complexities and prevalence of sexual assault and the barriers many face when navigating the criminal justice system, engaging in services, and healing from these crimes.

“If we want to see change, we must step up and talk about it,” Ms. Sickler says. “In Houston, my beloved hometown, we can build the most responsible response in the country by working together and by truly listening to survivor voices.”

Meaningful Change in Houston

“It is only by truly listening to the powerful voices of survivors that we can create meaningful change,” HAWC President and CEO Emilee Whitehurst says. “The Houston region is currently failing to meet critical safety needs for survivors of sexual and domestic violence, particularly women and children of color. In response, HAWC is expanding services and facilities to meet this need, while maintaining 24/7 operations and free services.”

With growing awareness and understanding of the challenges Houston faces surrounding sexual assault, we can end sexual violence and ensure all survivors have the support needed to report and/or heal from assault.


Hear directly from survivors during our Sexual Assault Media Event.

What is #HAWCFutureForward? Learn more about how HAWC is expanding safety and improving access.

Are you ready for a rewarding career empowering survivors of domestic and sexual violence? Join HAWC and #PursueYourPassion! Review open positions and apply today.

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