MSCASA - Mississippi Coalition Against Sexual Assault

S.A.R.T. (Sexual Assault Response Team)

No SANE program can operate in isolation.  To be optimally effective and provide the best service possible to victims of sexual assault, the SANE must function as a part of a team of individuals from community organizations.  They can be either formally organized as a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) or as informal collaborators.

Who is on a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)?

SART team members typically include the SANE, police or sheriff, detective, prosecutor, rape crisis center advocate or counselor, and emergency department medical personnel.  The makeup of the SART team will vary from area to area, depending upon the community needs and resources.    The SART team may also include an expanded range of professionals who work with specific victims populations: a school counselor, a battered women’s advocate, a counselor who works with prostitutes, and any combination of representatives of programs in the community who are concerned about the problem of sexual assault.

The Sexual Assault Response Team Model

The model involves a coordinated response.  This SART concept is based on the belief that a team response helps prevent the victim from reporting the account of the assault repeatedly.  It also helps prevent confusion among professionals trying to meet the needs of the rape victim as she progresses through the health care and criminal justice system.

How a Sexual Assault Response Team Operates

When law enforcement is called to see the scene of a sexual assault, they will protect the client from further harm, protect the crime scene evidence, and takes a limited statement from the victim to determine if a sex crime was committed.  They will then call the hospital emergency department triage who will page the SANE on call and the rape advocate on call.

Sexual Assault Response Team Model Limitation

While the coordinator effort of a SART certainly has some advantages, there are also some limitations to this approach.  If the victim is uncertain about reporting, she may feel pressured to report when protocol requires law enforcement personnel to interview the victim before the SANE becomes involved.  The advocate will support the victim in whatever decision she makes.

Summary

For the SANE program to be successful, all involved agencies must work together.  It takes a coordinated community approach to deal with the multiple needs of the rape victim and to prosecute the offender.  However the SART model operates the important concern is ensuring a coordinated community response with the needs of the victim as the primary focus.


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