Learn about SARTs

Sexual assault is an enduring crime throughout our Nation, crossing all socioeconomic, cultural, and geographic boundaries. While more victims are coming forward, it is estimated that even now, only one in four reports the crime.1 Clearly, much remains to be done in raising awareness of available services and providing skilled, compassionate assistance. No one deserves to be sexually assaulted, but when someone is sexually victimized, it is our duty as professionals to be prepared and knowledgeable so that we may help lessen the potentially overwhelming effects victims may experience.

Since 1996, OVC has pioneered the development of a victim-centered medical forensic response to victims of sexual assault. One result of these efforts was the development and publication of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Development and Operational Guide in 1999. Though this project was a beneficial resource to the field, we soon realized that victim-centered responses extend beyond the forensic medical exam and that a coordinated community response is needed to meet victims' needs holistically. To better support the field in this coordinated approach, which many now call a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), OVC supports a biennial national SART Training Conference and has incorporated the philosophy of the multidisciplinary collaborative response into many, if not most, of our programs.

This new SART Toolkit has been in development by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center since 2004, and OVC is pleased to now provide this resource to the field online. As you access the contents of this user-friendly kit, you'll find tools and resources to help you build and enhance your own community's response. Whether relatively new to the concept of a coordinated community approach or highly experienced in putting it to practical use, we hope that each and every one of you will find something new, useful, and innovative.

Each discipline that is represented in the approach plays a vital role in responding to victims of sexual assault. Our hope is that the SART Toolkit will provide both existing and developing teams with invaluable tools to aid you in your efforts to better serve victims of sexual assault.

Joye E. Frost, Acting Director
Office for Victims of Crime

1 Rand, M., and S. Catalano, 2007, Criminal Victimization, 2006, Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.