Develop a SART
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Decide on Core Membership

Some communities invite core responders from advocacy, law enforcement, health care, prosecution, and crime labs to plan and oversee the SART (e.g., monitoring the response to sexual violence) once it is established. Other communities start by establishing steering committees to plan the SART and then transfer oversight responsibilities to advisory committees or coordinating councils composed of core responders and/or community leaders.

Participating core members must have a clear perception of the need for a SART, understand what will be expected of them, and be willing to commit to scheduled planning meetings. SARTs do not redefine core members' agency roles per se, but rather integrate them into a new, collective identity that draws on each member's professional expertise.

Core Competencies

Those who meet with victims must be trained in victim issues, crisis response, violence prevention, and multidisciplinary cooperation. Use the following list of competencies as a catalyst for developing, prioritizing, and customizing core competencies for responders in your jurisdiction:

  • Can communicate non-judgmentally and compassionately with sexual assault victims, their families, and friends.
  • Understands the importance of survivors' rights to self-determination.
  • Knows state and national laws, rules, and regulations regarding sexual violence, including mandatory reporting responsibilities.
  • Knows the laws and ethical principles that apply to medical, legal, and advocacy responders.
  • Knows how to provide assessments, interventions, and prevention programming that are culturally competent.
  • Is aware of factors that increase vulnerability to sexual violence (e.g., disability, age, isolation) while in no way blaming victims for these vulnerabilities.
  • Knows developmentally appropriate questions for interviewing victims.

Source: Used with permission from Debra Seltzer, Ohio Department of Health.

Primary responders to sexual assault generally include victim advocates, law enforcement officers, sexual assault forensic examiners, crime lab specialists, and prosecutors. For SART planning purposes, the toolkit also lists for consideration personnel from emergency medical services, dispatch, public health, mental health, and faith-based organizations.

This section briefly reviews the roles and responsibilities of the following potential SART members:

For more detailed information about how potential SART team members respond to victims of sexual assault, see Know Your Team.