Sergeant Eliana Decker, one of two specialists at the University of Texas at Austin Police Department (UTPD) who provide emergency response to sexual assault survivors on campus, is now in the position to be there for students and employees at higher education entities throughout the state. The seven-year UTPD veteran recently accepted a nomination to join the Campus Working Group for the Governor’s Sexual Assault Survivors’ Task Force.
"I feel honored to be able to represent UTPD and campus police on the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Task Force," Decker said. “I am excited to not only contribute my knowledge and experience, but more importantly, to learn and provide that training to UTPD.”
The Sexual Assault Survivors’ Task Force was established through the passage of House Bill 1590 during the 86th Legislative Session in 2019. The task force was mandated to develop policy recommendations to better prevent, investigate, and prosecute incidents of sexual assault and other sex offenses. Task force members identified a need to establish a working group to explore and define an effective response to the unique needs of sexual assault survivors on college campuses.
At UT, Decker has served as a sexual assault specialist for three years. As a sergeant, she currently supervises the UTPD lead sexual assault investigator. Together they attend trainings, partner with student and employee support services on the UT campus and within Travis County, and serve to develop and coordinate a response to sexual assaults.
"Our community members can expect a trained, trauma-informed investigator who is willing to listen and wants to be a resource to them," Decker said of their response.
In her new role on the Campus Working Group, Decker will participate in a collaborative effort to discuss such topics as the vulnerabilities and unique needs of the Texas college campus population which includes students living independently for the first time and increased exposure and access to alcohol and/or drugs. Decker will also tackle the multiple response systems community members must navigate if victimized: university administration, Title IX, university and local law enforcement, university and local health system/rape crisis services; and specific safety concerns including possible continued exposure to the perpetrator on campus.
Acting Assistant Vice President of Campus Security and Chief of Police Don Verett feels it is an honor to have Decker appointed. "I am confident that Sergeant Decker’s experience and professionalism will benefit the Task Force," said Verett.
The Campus Working Group will be established for the duration of the task force’s work, and will convene on a monthly basis, or as needed. Visit UTPD’s Sexual Violence and Sexual Assault Resource Page for information specific to UT Austin.