Sergeant Elizabeth Donegan (RET) is a 26-year veteran of the Austin Police Department (APD). For over nine years she led the APD Sex Crimes Unit, widely recognized for its progressive approach toward investigating sexual assault, providing better service to victims, and changing the culture surrounding the investigation of non-stranger sexual assault. Sgt. Donegan is Co-Chair of the Austin / Travis County Sexual Assault Response Resource Team (SARRT). As a SARRT member, she played a central role in the team’s selection for the End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI) “Making a Difference” (MAD) scholarship opportunity, through which Austin partnered with seven other American teams and eight Canadian teams to explore and effect change in addressing non-stranger sexual assault. The APD Sex Crimes Unit was featured In the IACP video, Bringing Sexual Offenders to Justice, as well as in the Human Rights Watch 2013 A Capitol Offense: Police Mishandling of Sexual Assault Cases in the District of Columbia and Improving Police Response to Sexual Assault reports.
Sgt. Donegan frequently trains multidisciplinary audiences on investigating and prosecuting non-stranger sexual assault. She is a sought-after speaker who brings a combination of expertise and practical experience to sexual assault investigations and training. She is well-known for her ability to effectively communicate and inspire audiences about this complex and difficult subject. Sgt. Donegan focuses on identifying, implementing and sharing best practices related to sexual assault investigations and prosecutions to ensure a more effective response by holding perpetrators accountable for their crimes and providing better service to victims.
Sgt. Donegan is a veteran of the U.S. Army and served as an expert testifying for the Response Systems Panel, a federal advisory committee which conducted an independent review and assessment of the systems used to investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate crimes involving adult sexual assault and related offenses under military law. She has also trained and presented at numerous training events and conferences hosted by the U.S. Department of Defense, including the U.S. Army Summit and programs at Fort Hood, Fort Sam Houston, and Fort McCoy. She has also trained the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and at higher education institutions within the United States.
Sgt. Donegan serves as a subject matter expert for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) on projects related to sexual assault response and investigation, including the National Law Enforcement Leadership Initiative on Violence Against Women. She also serves a consultant for the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). She assisted the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) in developing a statewide protocol for responding to sexual assault.
Sgt. Donegan is a published author and frequent presenter at conferences and seminars. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the first Professional Impact Award given by End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI) in 2011. In 2017, Sgt. Donegan was named to the Board of Directors of EVAWI.