Are most rapes and sexual assaults in Texas reported and do most perpetrators get arrested?

Thursday, September 9, 2021
By Lisa Freedland

Most sexual assaults, in Texas and elsewhere, are underreported. A 2015 study found that as few as 9% of sexual assault victims in Texas reported the event to law enforcement. Low reporting rates can often be attributed to feelings of trauma, shame or fear experienced by victims.

The percentage of reported perpetrators who actually get arrested and convicted is also quite low. Out of 14,656 rapes reported in Texas in 2019, around 15% of perpetrators were arrested. Between 2014 and 2018, 9.6% of reported sexual assaulters were convicted.

Texas reported the highest number of forcible rape cases in the country in 2019—proportional to population, the 15th-highest rate in the U.S.

The statistics underscore the challenge implicit in Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent vow that the state will “work tirelessly to eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas by arresting and prosecuting them.”

This fact brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.
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