You may have heard the term SART, or Sexual Assault Response Team. SARTs are a community-based team that coordinates the response to victims of sexual assault. It is comprised of victim advocates, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs), law enforcement, prosecutors, and other professionals with an interest in assisting victims of sexual assault.
A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) is a Registered Nurse who has received special training so that s/he can provide comprehensive care to sexual assault victims. In addition s/he is able to conduct a forensic exam and may provide expert testimony if a case goes to trial.
Sexual violence affects many aspects of a victim’s life – including safety and health, family and work situations, and finances, and to receive basic assistance, victims must often navigate a maze of governmental and community agencies. SARTs help victims through the maze of community services that are available to them.
Additionally, they convene throughout the year and partner together to provide interagency, coordinate responses to make victims’ needs a priority, hold offenders accountable, and ultimately reduce sexual assaults.
The teamwork that the SARTs promote has greatly improved the quality of care for sexual assault victims. To best serve victims of sexual assault, it is important that all members of a SART understand not only the broad definition of sexual violence but also the criminal definitions of sexual violence in their jurisdiction(s). Even if an act of sexual violence does not meet the criminal definition in a victim’s jurisdiction, a victim may still experience trauma or other consequences. SART members can be instrumental in helping victims get resources and understand their experience.
Check out the 2018 edition of the Sexual Assault Response Team toolkit, developed by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center: https://www.nsvrc.org/sarts/toolkit