SART – Sexual Assault Response Teams: Partnering for Success
This video was produced by the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) with permission by Hope For Children Foundation to distribute on our website, hopeforchildrenfoundation.org and on Youtube and Vimeo. This video details the struggles people face when not only going through a traumatic experience, but the processes of going through a trial, taking statements, and the often overlooked question: What Happens Now?
SART – Development Guide For Victims Service Providers
What is a SART? Sexual Assault Response Teams (SARTs) are coalitions of agencies that serve sexual assault victims. Core membership for SARTs typically includes victim advocates, law enforcement officers, forensic medical examiners, forensic scientists, and prosecutors. Multidisciplinary SARTs work together to formalize interagency guidelines that prioritize victims’ needs, hold offenders accountable, and promote public safety. SART models range from informal, cooperative partnerships to more formalized, coordinated, and multidisciplinary responses on local, regional, state, tribal, or territory levels. In general, SARTs are committed to victims’ rights and needs, organize their service delivery to enhance evidence collection, and educate the community about services available for the intervention and prevention of sexual assault.
The focus of this Technical Assistance is to help sexual assault service providers build, expand, formalize, and maintain strong interagency responses to sexual violence. It includes a brief overview followed by Practice Tips, Ways to Build SART Excellence, and Key Resources. Determine the SART Jurisdiction(s) A SART’s jurisdiction is the area that it serves. A jurisdiction may be a local community, a state, a territory, a tribal land, a campus, a military installation, a national park, or a multi-city/state/ team region.
SART Primary and Secondary Responsibilities
Define primary and secondary responsibilities for team members with specific attention to medical, legal, and advocacy providers to determine specific agency jurisdictions in the response to sexual violence. Building SART excellence address specific problems victims may encounter when navigating multi-jurisdictional service areas (consider governmental and nongovernmental service providers); Assess other jurisdictional issues such as victims that are sexually assaulted on cruise ships at sea, victims traveling in foreign countries, and sexual assaults of trafficking or undocumented victims.
Online access to key resources, visit:
The Criminal Justice Continuum and Specific Justice Systems and Victims’ Rights: These resources provide an overview of federal, state, juvenile, military, and tribal justice systems. y Enforcing Criminal Law on Native American Lands
Information teams collect and answer questions about the frequency of sexual assault in a jurisdiction, where it tends to occur, victim demographics, and perpetrators’ mode of operation (MO). The data can then be used to compile resources, examine service delivery and address risk factors. Additionally, obtaining data is a crucial first step for creating benchmarks to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of SART responses over time. Practice tips to assess SART readiness Document service availability, accessibility, and contact information for the following agencies, organizations, and institutions: Medical, legal, military, educational, tribal and advocacy providers that respond (or may respond) to sexual assault; Providers that serve the specific needs of certain groups, including individuals with disabilities, older persons, trafficking victims, and specific cultural populations. Once a list or chart of service providers is created, SARTs should determine how frequently and by whom the referral list will be updated.
Building SART Excellence
Evaluate the response to sexual violence through victim experience surveys, focus groups, or interviews. y Evaluate the quality of services victims received when SART agencies refer victims to other community resources; y Identify and address gaps in the availability of community support services for victims. Determine available options for victims not pursuing a criminal justice response. Disseminate a community resource/referral list for providers not actively involved in the SART. A key resource for online access to key resource tools, visit http://www.nsvrc.org/projects/sart-readiness Identify Opportunities for Collaboration.
The long-term sustainability of a SART rests on its ability to uncover and build upon the unique strengths and assets of people, institutions, and organizations within a particular region. Coupling community assets with SART objectives can open up a broad avenue of support that is responsive to the needs of both victims and the criminal justice system. To determine collaborative opportunities, SART organizers can look for natural allies among individuals or groups who have a stake in the prevention and/or intervention of sexual assault. One approach to identifying allies is to look creatively within the jurisdiction and assess which service providers might assist victims medically, legally, economically, spiritually, psychologically or financially. Additionally, SARTs can consider groups and social structures that might stand to gain by Using data to inform planning can be especially useful for creating or expanding SARTs.
Developing a SART
Development supporting a SART – Such potential collaborators could include educational institutions, public health agencies, substance abuse agencies, faith-based organizations, domestic violence agencies, or mental health facilities. Partnerships beyond those with direct services may also help the SART’s planning and outreach efforts. For example, local corporations and businesses might be able to donate meeting spaces and equipment, such as photocopiers/computers. Businesses, whether large or small, may provide assistance with publishing SART documents, technological expertise for interagency communications/data collection, or direct financial support for a SART’s overhead expenses.
How to Sustain SART
Tapping local resources not only helps to sustain a SART; it is a strategic form of public awareness that can prompt more community ownership in both the prevention and intervention of sexual violence. Practice tips for expanding community alliances Identify organizations, institutions, or companies that could help SARTs meet a continuum of care for victims. (Consider housing and safety needs, medical/reproductive health assistance, transportation, public assistance, employment assistance, child care, etc.). Assess whether the SART model fits into other crime victim initiatives or multidisciplinary team efforts in the community. For example, SARTs may consider networking with domestic violence coordinating councils, child abuse councils, or fatality review teams in order to stay informed about issues that may directly or indirectly impact the response to sexual violence. Identify community assets that can assist SARTs with cross-cultural service delivery and resources. Identify professional organizations and community groups that may be receptive to prevention education presentations.
We cannot thank you enough for strengthening your knowledge to help victims of sexual assault.
Hope for Children Foundation Board of Directors
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