Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART)
A SART is a group of first response community professionals who work together to coordinate an immediate, high quality, victim-centered response to sexual assault victims. Primarily, these professionals include law enforcement, hospital personnel and sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs), the prosecutor, and victim advocates/rape crisis centers. Many other professionals may also be involved: 911 dispatch, emergency medical personnel, social services, child protective services, mental health services, counselors, faith-based organizations, health department, public education, and court advocates. The purpose of a SART is to:
- Improve response to victims
- Minimize the trauma for sexual assault victims when they seek medical and legal assistance.
- Reduce repeated questioning for the victim and increase effective collection and preservation of evidence.
- Assess the problem in their community
- Work collaboratively to accomplish goals
- Educate various disciplines, build team unity, and develop trust within the team and the community
- Understand the unique role of individual responders
- Encourage communication within and among agencies
- Share resources and updated information
SARTs are important to a community. They can prevent confusion among professionals trying to meet the needs of the rape victim during the progression through the health care and criminal justice systems, and this team approach can lessen the traumatizing nature of the rape for the victim. The SART works to reduce repeated questioning of the victim and to increase effective collection and preservation of evidence. SART members coordinate local sexual assault prevention efforts and educate the community. Finally, SART members bring justice to victims and hold offenders accountable.
More specific information about Cabell County’s SART can be found here.