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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Some sexual assault survivors will now have free access to legal advice via a new statewide toll-free number.

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Survivors who qualify can call 1.844.303.7233 (SAFE) for representation and referral to nine legal aid organizations who are partnering with domestic violence and rape crisis centers across Texas for community outreach, education, and referrals.

One in five women and one in 20 men in the state were sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime, according to the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA). More than 90 percent of Sexual assault victims in Texas didn’t report it to law enforcement either.

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“As survivors of sexual assault begin to rebuild their lives, legal issues may arise that affect their safety and well-being,” Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, the Court’s liaison for access to justice issues, said. “Help is now a confidential phone call away for Texans who qualify for legal aid.”
The Texas Access to Justice Foundation announced its Legal Aid for Survivors of Sexual Assault (LASSA) program, which provides the hotline.

The LASSA Network will serve every Texas county, providing survivors of sexual assault with a wide range of free legal services from general advice to holistic, direct representation in civil legal matters stemming from the sexual assault. Survivors’ legal problems can include: privacy violations, physical safety threats, school accommodations, employment sanctions, financial problems, housing problems, and immigration consequences.

The initiative was made possible through $10 million in funding from the 84th Session of the Texas Legislature for the 2015-2017 biennium.

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