Dr. Busch-Armendariz gave testimony before the Response Systems to Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel, a panel of civilian and retired military representatives that is conducting an independent review and assessment of the systems used to investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate crimes involving adult sexual assault and related offenses, for the purpose of developing recommendations on how to improve these systems’ effectiveness. The panel convened in a public meeting at The University of Texas at Austin during December 11th and 12th, 2013.

Noel Busch Armendariz panel
Dr. Noel Busch-Armendariz at the panel

Busch-Armendariz stressed that her research in the field of interpersonal violence for the past fifteen years clearly indicates that the professionals in response systems to sexual assault crimes need better tools and strategies to more effectively address the pervasiveness and complexity of these crimes.

“I have directed large scale surveys with representative samples of 1200 participants, to smaller scale qualitatively driven studies that collected individual and focus group interviews,” Busch-Armendariz said. “We have interviewed many victims who have never reported law enforcement. In all our studies the central goal has been to fully describe the issue, understand complicated decision making along the continuum, and offer solutions that improve system’s responses.”

Busch-Armendariz presented a framework that she and her team have implemented to identify preferred outcomes or best practice models.

“I offer this to you as perhaps a model for the military,” Busch-Armendariz told the panel. “The framework of preferred outcomes serves as a guide for future directions and as a mechanism to achieve exemplary services. Recommendations can not be one-size-fits-all, particularly given the vastness and diversity of our civilian system, and perhaps the military system too. Nonetheless, preferred outcomes are a way to initiate an open, honest, and useful dialog that will strive toward exemplary responses to this crime.”