Research Team
Matt Kerwick, PhD
Deidi Olaya, MSSW
Karin Wachter, MEd
Caitlin Sulley, LMSW

Approximately 1.9 million adult Texans (1,479,912 female and 372,394 male) or 13% of adult Texans have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime (Busch, Bell, DiNitto, & Neff, 2003). However, only 18% of victims report their sexual assault to law enforcement. Current rates demonstrate the high number of reported sexual assault in Texas with 17,835 sexual assault incidents in 2012 (Texas Department of Public Safety). A comprehensive understanding of the prevalence is critical to understanding the scope of the problem, designing effective responses to the crime and developing primary prevention strategies.

The Project

The School of Social Work’s Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (IDVSA) is partnering with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to carry out a statewide sexual assault prevalence study to understand the magnitude of Texans’ experiences of sexual assault across the state. The sample will be drawn based on considerations of proportional representation of the Texas population as well as feasibility. A total of 1000 adults, approximately 500 men and 500 women age 18 years and older living in Texas will be surveyed by telephone. Informed consent will be obtained verbally using a protocol approved by The University of Texas at Austin’s Institutional Review Board. Consenting adults will be asked a series of questions related to their health and well-being, attitudes and perceptions regarding sexual assault, and their experiences with sexual assault both as children and as adults. The current study (2014 – 2015) builds on the statewide prevalence study conducted by IDVSA in 2003, The National Violence Against Women Survey (Tjaden, 1996) conducted by the National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with added advancements in methodology and survey design drawing from The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (CDC, 2010).