This section includes the following:
Many individuals contributed to the research and writing of this toolkit. Special thanks go to Joye Frost of the Office for Victims of Crime and Marnie Shiels of the Office on Violence Against Women.
We are grateful to the experienced professionals around the country who donated their time to serve on the National SART Toolkit Advisory Committee and to the following committee members, who shared their ideas, resources, and enthusiasm:
- Sergeant Joanne Archambault
- Nora Baladerian
- Donna Barry
- Kay Buck
- Karen D. Carroll
- Bonnie Clairmont
- Monika Johnson Hostler
- Ilse Knecht
- Jennifer G. Long
- Jessica McSparron-Bien
- Adriana Ramelli
- Sonia Rivera
- Teresa P. Scalzo
- Barbara Sheaffer
- Bette M. Stebbins
- Captain Ted Smith
- Michael Weaver
This project would not have been possible without the feedback from our five SART Toolkit pilot sites:
- Beltrami County Protocol Team
- Brown County SART Team
- Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Response Team
- Christopher Chumita
- Dan R. Clark
- Diane Daiber
- Ashley Hawke
- Teresa Matthews
- Christopher Sonnhalter
- David Zimmerman
- Johnson County Sexual Assault Response Team
- Montclair State University Sexual Assault Response Team
- Donna M. Barry
- Paul M. Cell
- Robert Laurino
- Ursula Liebowitz
- Alecia Seery
The toolkit is the direct result of many dedicated current and former staff members of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. In particular, we would like to thank the following individuals:
- Debbie Rollo for her vision, labor, and passion throughout the development of this project.
- Sally J. Laskey for her dedication and support.
- Emily Dworkin for her attention to detail and assistance with the evaluation of the toolkit.
- Kristen Kane-Osorto for keeping our team and project partners organized.
We also are especially grateful to the many service providers who generously shared their expertise, guidelines and protocols, policies, forms, and innovative practices for inclusion in this toolkit.
In 2004, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) received funding from OVC to help service providers work together to promote quality responses to sexual violence. The funding supported the development of this toolkit, which celebrates the groundbreaking work of service providers already in place.
To help guide its development, NSVRC
- Established a national advisory committee. Committee members included advocates and medical and legal specialists who contributed, reviewed, and edited the toolkit's contents.
- Created and disseminated a National Needs Assessment Survey. The survey was conducted to determine the state of SARTs nationally. Responses were received from 49 states and 3 U.S. territories.
- Conducted an environmental scan of SART materials. NSVRC solicited, reviewed, and cataloged materials (e.g., research, manuals, forms) and included them in an online library.
- Launched a SART listserv. NSVRC created a listserv to promote peer-to-peer technical assistance for sexual assault service providers while the toolkit was being developed. The SART listserv has proved to be an extraordinary forum for real-time recommendations and solutions.
This product was supported by grant number 2004-VF-GX-K007, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this product are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson, provides federal leadership in developing the Nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has seven components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; the Community Capacity Development Office; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found on its Web site.
This toolkit is not a protocol, but rather a collection of resources that service providers may use to formalize, expand on, or evaluate their interagency responses.
Communities considering a SART response and communities that already have a coordinated response but want to improve or expand it may use the toolkit to help
- Customize their outreach to victims.
- Provide culturally specific services.
- Increase accessibility of services.
- Expand services to improve investigative and prosecutorial practices.
- Enhance multijurisdictional responses (working among local, state, federal, tribal, military, and campus jurisdictions).
- Form permanent partnerships within the community to help ensure the SART model is sustained over time.
The toolkit includes five main sections:
- Learn About SARTs briefly reviews the basics: definitions and statistics related to sexual assault, the common makeup of SARTs and the reasons behind setting them up, and a brief historical outline of SART development since the 1970s.
- Develop a SART lays out the steps involved in putting together your SART. You'll learn how to build your team; collect data about your jurisdiction to help you create a relevant victim response; develop a strategic plan outlining your goals, objectives, and protocol; determine communication standards for your team (e.g., ethical communication, confidentiality); hold effective meetings; monitor and evaluate your victim response; and sustain your SART. This section also includes detailed information about common SART membersdescribing their roles and responsibilitiesand highlights several critical issues related to sexual assault that every SART should know.
- Put the Focus on Victims describes how victims may be feeling, approaches to responding to various victims, and ways to help victims heal.
- Follow Innovative Practices highlights SART programs from around the country. See what other jurisdictions are doing before setting up or revamping your SART. Programs cover the fields of advocacy, law enforcement, health care, prosecution, and forensics and deal with multidisciplinary issues and culturally specific practices.
- Find Tools includes sample resources for specific SART members and tools to use when developing your team and evaluating its activities. Find examples of surveys, forms, brochures, guidelines, legislation, memorandums of understanding, and other resources.
Adolescent Victims: Juvenile victims who have reached puberty.
Adult Victims: Victims who have reached the minimum age at which they can legally give informed consent. The age of consent varies by jurisdiction and generally includes victims who legally assume control over their lives.
Capacity Building: Development of SART missions, strategies, skills, systems, infrastructures, and human and financial resources to better serve victims, meet the needs of service providers, and keep the team operational for an indefinite period of time.
Collaboration: Working together to share knowledge, experience, and skills to more effectively respond to sexual violence. Collaboration requires organizational leadership, teamwork, commitment, and cooperation based on team member roles and responsibilities.
Community: A geographic location or a specific population of individuals who share common cultures or a geographic area. For example, communities can organize by religious beliefs, sexual orientation, ethnicity, occupation, physical disability, and economic status. Most people belong to multiple communities, and these affiliations can strongly influence victims' reactions to sexual assault.1
Cultural Competence: A conceptual framework that respects diverse populations and enables SARTs to work effectively across cultures. Cultural competence is not a destination but a developmental process of awareness, knowledge, and skills that evolve over time through assessing multicultural needs and responses in the community and representing diverse populations on the team.
Diversity: In its broadest context, diversity is defined as recognizing, appreciating, and valuing all individuals regardless of age, race, ethnicity, communication style, culture, disability, educational level or background, employment status, marital status, family status, gender, sexual orientation, preferred language, national or regional origin, physical appearance, or religion.
Evaluation: A process, based on SARTs' goals and objectives, to assess the effectiveness of coordinated community responses, the quality of multidisciplinary services, and the outcome of services for victims and criminal justice.
Gender: Sexual distinctions between male and female and the social and cultural dimensions of those distinctions.
Innovation: For the purposes of this toolkit, an idea or method for enhancing quality responses and team efficiency that creates a new dimension of performance.
Interagency Response: Community organizations and/or governmental agencies work together, formally or informally, when responding to sexual violence. The agencies can represent the same or different fields of expertise (e.g., state, federal, and tribal law enforcement agencies work together; advocates, law enforcement, and health care providers collaborate).
Jurisdiction: An area with the power to govern or legislate itself. It can include a region, district, or authoritative body that can interpret and apply laws within its boundaries.
Multidisciplinary: Multiple fields of expertise (e.g., advocacy, law enforcement, health care, forensics, prosecution).
Respect: To understand and appreciate the different roles and responsibilities of colleagues and individuals seeking services and to be considerate, civil, courteous, empathetic, and equitable and to value others.
SART: A sexual assault response team that includes core service providers such as advocates, forensic examiners, law enforcement, forensic laboratory scientists, and prosecuting attorneys. Additional members can include researchers, civil attorneys, judges, correctional staff, policymakers, grant administrators, employers, representatives from the media, mental and social service providers, and survivors, among others.
Survivors: Individuals who acknowledge their survival or recovery from sexual assault and have integrated that traumatic experience into their lives.
Sustainability: The ability of SART programs to function indefinitely to consistently meet the needs of victims, sexual assault service providers, and the community through potentially changing circumstances and sources of support.
Team: For the purposes of this toolkit, a synonym for sexual assault response team (SART).
Victim-Centered: Prioritizing victims' needs, honoring their rights, considering their perspectives, and supporting their decisions. A victim-centered response customizes the response to meet victims' specific needs and promotes the compassionate and sensitive delivery of services in a nonjudgmental manner.
Victims: Individuals who have been sexually assaulted. For simplicity, the toolkit refers to persons seeking services as victims but acknowledges that all disciplines may use different terminology, such as survivor or patient, based on the context of their work.
Following is an annotated bibliography of publications that may be of interest to SARTs. Most documents are available for educational use at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Please call 18777393895 or e-mail email@example.com for more information.
Archambault, Joanne. 2008. "Forensic Exams for the Sexual Assault Suspect." Sexual Assault Report 11: 3340.
This article affirms the importance of suspect examinations, explores some of the reasons why they often are not done, and provides concrete recommendations for overcoming these barriers and using suspect examinations effectively in the community. One of the most important reasons for conducting a suspect examination is to document evidence of force, resistance, and injury. The author recommends that a forensic examination of the suspect be conducted any time the suspect is arrested shortly after the sexual assault, the law enforcement investigator believes that the suspect has not bathed since the sexual assault, or if there is reason to believe there might still be evidence of injury to the suspect.
Bashir, Nora. 2003. "The Societal Cost of Sexual Violence." Connections 4: 6, 8.
Nora Bashir disputes the U.S. Supreme Court's 2000 ruling that sexual violence is a "noneconomic" crime. She argues that sexual violence has far-reaching economic ramifications. Bashir acknowledges sexual violence's economic impact on victims in the form of pain and suffering, lost productivity, and out-of-pocket costs for medical care and mental health services. The author gives attention to the often unacknowledged impact of sexual violence on U.S. taxpayers, and argues that overlooking the economic benefits of crime prevention can result in misallocated resources. Bashir concludes that sexual violence must be recognized as a public health issue and an economic crime, and that prevention efforts are necessary to reduce the incidence of sexual assault and its high costs on society.
Baumer, Eric, Richard Felson, and Steven Messner. 2003. "Changes in Police Notification for Rape." Criminology 41: 841872.
Baumer, Felson, and Messner analyze results from National Crime Surveys and from the National Crime Victimization Survey, concluding that overall rates of police notification of rape have increased since the early 1970s. The authors attribute this rise in police notification rates to social and legal changes initiated by the anti-sexual violence movement. The changes cited include an expansion in the types of behaviors that are considered rape, elimination of corroboration requirements, increases in the severity of punishment for offenders, and the emergence of rape crisis centers and legal advocates for rape victims.
Beynon, Caryl M., Clare McVeigh, Jim McVeigh, Conan Leavey, and Mark A. Bellis. 2008. "The Involvement of Drugs and Alcohol in Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault: A Systematic Review of the Evidence." Trauma, Violence, & Abuse 9: 178188.
This study reviews published research that quantifies the contribution of drugs in cases of alleged drug-facilitated sexual assault (DFSA), where DFSA is defined as the covert administration of a drug specifically to facilitate a sexual assault. The authors review empirical evidence for which substances are involved and discuss the public health implications of these findings.
Burt, Martha R., Janine M. Zweig, Cynthia Andrews, Ashley Van Ness, Neal Parikh, Brenda K. Uekert, and Adele V. Harrell. 2001. Evaluation of the STOP Formula Grants to Combat Violence Against Women, 2001 Report. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.
The Urban Institute conducted a national evaluation of the VAWA STOP grant program from 1995 to 2001, and the resulting report highlights STOP-funded projects and community collaborative responses, providing recommendations for future STOP funding. Of interest to SARTs are ways in which STOP funds have been applied toward responses to sexual violence. As VAWA does not contain distribution requirements for STOP grants, STOP funds tend to be applied to domestic violence initiatives more than sexual violence or stalking efforts. When STOP funds are applied to sexual violence responses, most states use them to support existing core services for victims rather than large scale collaborative networks. When STOP funds have been applied to collaborative efforts regarding violence against women, however, those efforts have been strengthened. In their final recommendations, the authors encourage continued, expanded STOP funding, including expanded funds for sexual assault-related projects, data gathering, and SANE programs.
Campbell, Rebecca. 1998. "The Community Response to Rape: Victims' Experiences with the Legal, Medical, and Mental Health Systems." American Journal of Community Psychology 26: 355379.
Campbell's report focuses on responses of the legal, medical, and mental health systems to rape victims as well as the patterns that emerge in victims' and advocates' experiences with these systems. Campbell gathered data from telephone interviews with 168 rape advocates chosen from 177 eligible sexual assault agencies nationwide. The author's research illustrates how preconceived notions about rape and rape victims held by service providers may affect the quality of post-rape services and the attention given to victims' wishes. Acknowledging that community responses to rape can be fragmented and uncoordinated, Campbell recommends a holistic community approach to sexual violence and examines the legal, medical, and mental health systems' responses to rape victims' needs.
Campbell, Rebecca, and Sharon Wasco. 2005. "Understanding Rape and Sexual Assault: 20 Years of Progress and Future Directions." Journal of Interpersonal Violence 20: 127131.
Campbell and Wasco reflect on two decades of research on sexual violence and discuss areas that need advocacy and research. Campbell and Wasco emphasize that because sexual assault rates have not decreased significantly, research efforts must now focus on rape prevention. Neither community practitioners nor researchers have identified prevention models that have significantly lowered rates of sexual violence, and the authors encourage cooperation between researchers and advocates to unearth useful prevention practices. Additionally, more community resources must be available to rape victims, and the authors give sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) programs as an example of an innovative community response to sexual violence. Finally, the authors stress the importance of methodological frameworks that allow researchers to grasp the scope and complexity of sexual violence.
Campbell, Rebecca, Debra Patterson, and Lauren Lichty. 2005. "The Effectiveness of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Programs: A Review of Psychological, Medical, Legal, and Community Outcomes." Trauma, Violence, and Abuse 6: 313329.
Campbell, Patterson, and Lichty review research literature on the effectiveness of SANE programs in regard to their impact on victims' psychological well-being, medical care, and legal efforts. SANE programs have resulted in shorter emergency room waiting times for victims, systematic medical examinations, forensic evidence collection, and pregnancy and STD precautions. Furthermore, SANE programs have increased prosecution, plea bargaining, and conviction rates for sexual offenses.
Cole, Jennifer, and T.K. Logan. 2008. "Negotiating the Challenges of Multidisciplinary Responses to Sexual Assault Victims: Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner and Victim Advocacy Programs." Research in Nursing & Health 31: 7685.
This study examined SANE programs' relationships with victim advocacy organizations. A national telephone survey was conducted of randomly selected SANE programs, all of which served adults, and some of which served adolescents and children. Nearly one-third of 231 participants reported that SANEs in their program had experienced conflicts related to roles and boundaries with victim advocacy organizations at some point during the program's history. The most frequently mentioned conflicts involved professional autonomy, control, or turf issues. Future researchers should address personnel, organizational, and structural factors that facilitate collaborative relationships between SANE and victim advocacy organizations.
Crandall, Cameron, and Deborah Helitzer. 2003. Impact Evaluation of a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program. Albuquerque, NM: Albuquerque SANE Collaborative.
Crandall and Helitzer compare post-rape experiences and services at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center before the SANE program was instituted to those received at the Albuquerque SANE Collective after the program began. They examine the impact of SANE on local health care, victim services, law enforcement, and prosecution, although they were unable to conduct enough interviews with rape victims to gather substantial data on victims' experiences with the SANE. The authors' research indicates that rape victims treated by SANE nurses received more comprehensive medical attention (e.g., pregnancy testing, emergency contraception), had forensic evidence gathered more frequently, and received more referrals than victims who sought medical attention before the SANE program began. Furthermore, victims treated by SANE nurses were more likely to report incidents to the police, and the police in turn filed more charges against offenders. Conviction rates against offenders were higher and sentences longer after instituting the SANE program.
Dupree, Sharon, Tom McEwen, Deborah Spence, and Russell Wolff. 2003. Evaluation of Grants to Combat Violence Against Women on Campus. Alexandria, VA: Institute for Law and Justice.
Dupree, McEwen, Spence, and Wolff evaluate 38 campus grantees who received funding from the Office on Violence Against Women Campus Program for the 1999 and 2000 fiscal years. Of the 38 grantees, 19 created response teams based on the SART model, incorporating campus police, health services, counseling staff, victim advocates, women's center staff, and so forth. Such response teams were more likely to be created on campuses of at least 15,000 students, possibly due to the greater number of cases and the greater number of offices to which victims might go for assistance. Twenty-four grantees used their funds to create or expand campus task forces that were designed to discuss and coordinate responses to violence against women.
Ferguson, Cynthia T. 2008. "Caring for Sexual Assault Patients in the Military: Past, Present, and Future." Journal of Forensic Nursing 4: 190–198.
Recently instituted sexual assault prevention and response policies and programs within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) have paved the way for significant improvements in the medical care of sexual assault patients in the military services. Military personnel who suffer assault are now able to choose a method of reporting that either immediately triggers an investigation or allows the incident to remain confidential. This process allows for the development of an enhanced trust in the system and allows military personnel to receive medical and forensic care on the level of their choice. Military medical professionals are continually striving to provide the highest standard of care for military personnel, DoD employees, and beneficiaries. The new policies and programs are continually taking shape; however, there are barriers to the education and understanding of the sexual assault prevention and response processes that require increased coordination between military and civilian personnel and their medical services to provide optimum care for all patients involved.
Finn, Mary A. 2004. Effects of Victims' Experiences with Prosecutors on Victim Empowerment and Reoccurrence of Intimate Partner Violence: Final Report. Atlanta, GA: Georgia State University, Department of Criminal Justice.
Mary Finn examines the effect of "no-drop" prosecution policies (policies that prevent victims from withdrawing their cases once prosecution has started) on the personal empowerment and court empowerment of domestic violence victims. Finn draws data from interviews with 170 adult female victims of family violence in Georgia's Gwinnett County (which has a no-drop policy) and DeKalb County (which does not), assessing the degree of autonomy given to victims by prosecutors. Victims who were the subject of supportive or persuasive actions on the part of prosecutors, or who were given the option to withdraw their criminal complaints, had higher levels of court empowerment than those who had minimal contact with the prosecutor's office. Conversely, victims who had minimal contact with the prosecutor's office or who were the subject of coercive prosecution efforts (e.g., threatened with arrest or subpoena if they did not support cases) experienced the largest decrease in court empowerment. Finn discourages prosecutors from using coercive measures to gain victims' assistance in prosecution efforts, as these lower victims' sense of court empowerment and do not enhance victim safety. Rather, she argues, victims should be empowered through court action that allows for autonomous choices.
Fisher, Bonnie, Francis Cullen, and Michael Turner. 2000. Sexual Victimization of College Women. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.
Fisher, Cullen, and Turner examine the prevalence and range of sexual violence against college women, drawing upon the National College Women Sexual Victimization (NCWSV) Study and the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). The NSWSV indicates that 15.5 percent of college women surveyed were sexually victimized in some manner during the 6.91 month reference period, and that 2.8 percent experienced a completed or attempted rape during that time. This is not in accord with the NCVS results which indicated that 0.16 percent of subjects experienced completed rapes and 0.18 percent experienced attempted rape, a disparity that the authors attribute to a wider range of behavior-specific questions in the NCWSV Study than in NCVS. The NCWSV results confirm the prevalence of non-stranger rape, as 9 out of 10 victims knew their offenders and 12.8 percent of completed rapes, 35 percent of attempted rapes, and 22.9 percent of threatened rapes took place on dates. Fewer than 5 percent of completed and attempted rapes were reported to the authorities, indicating that social and legal disincentives still deter reporting. The NCWSV also addressed stalking as a form of sexual victimization, noting that 13.1 percent of subjects reported being stalked and that 4 out of 5 knew their stalkers.
Ford, David, Ronet Bachman, Monika Friend, and Michelle Meloy. 2002. Controlling Violence Against Women: A Research Perspective on the 1994 VAWA's Criminal Justice Impacts. Report submitted to the National Institute of Justice.
Ford, Bachman, Friend, and Meloy review research on the impact of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) on violence against women, giving special attention to reducing violence through criminal justice intervention. VAWA, they observe, has encouraged research on violence against women by attracting scholars to the field, providing training, and providing funding for research, but VAWA-related research is not without gaps and flaws. The authors acknowledge a disparity between the intent of VAWA and the actual impact of VAWA-related funding: while VAWA cites prevention and crime reduction as goals of its funding initiatives, its legislative efforts and funding initiatives target men who are already offenders. Along similar lines, only a small number of VAWA-related studies directly inform prevention policies, indicating that future research should be prevention-oriented. The authors also argue that VAWA-related research must give attention to both the implementation of programs and their effect on violence against women. Policy-geared research must meet high standards of scientific inquiry so that it can be usefully implemented. Finally, the report notes that most research evaluations of VAWA focus on domestic violence and programs for domestic violence offenders rather than sexual violence, suggesting that future VAWA-related research should give more attention to sexual violence.
Freyd, Jennifer J. 2008. "What Juries Don't Know: Dissemination of Research on Victim Response Is Essential for Justice." Trauma Psychology Newsletter 3: 1518.
This article observes that sexual assault trials are negatively affected by jurors who lack knowledge on sexual violence or embrace rape myths. Freyd provides information on trauma psychology that may not be commonly known by jurors in sexual assault trials. The author also explains why victims may engage in counterintuitive behaviors or hesitate to report assaults.
Fry, Deborah. 2007. How SAFE is New York City? Sexual Assault Services in Emergency Departments. New York, NY: New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault.
Fry examines services available for rape victims in New York City emergency departments, analyzing hospital adherence to medical care protocol, forensic evidence collection, advocacy, followup care, and quality assurance in an effort to gauge New York's medical response to rape victims. Fry demonstrates that while all New York public hospitals studied provide medical attention to rape victims (and most provide emergency contraception and HIV PEP), emergency departments with SAFE and SART programs offer the most comprehensive medical care. Furthermore, emergency departments with SAFE programs are more likely to have specialized equipment for forensic evidence collection (e.g., colposcopes, Woods lamps) than departments without SAFE programs. Hospitals with SAFE programs reported providing victims with information, advocacy, and followup services more consistently than non-SAFE facilities, indicating a local need for more resources and volunteer advocacy for victims. Because SAFE programs are not arranged systematically throughout the city, Fry argues that SAFE programs must make the public aware of their services, as well as develop protocols for transferring rape victims to SAFE facilities. In short, Fry demonstrates how New York's SAFE and SART programs have greatly enhanced emergency department responses to rape victims.
Fry, Deborah. 2007. A Room of Our Own: Sexual Assault Survivors Evaluate Services. New York, NY: New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault.
Fry examines rape survivors' perspectives on sexual assault services provided by New York City hospitals, rape crisis/victim assistance programs, law enforcement, and the criminal justice system. Drawing on an anonymous survey of 65 adult rape survivors from New York City, Fry approaches New York's rape response holistically by examining various service providers from whom victims might seek assistance. Survey responses indicate that many survivors received inadequate medical treatment and followup from hospitals, but also that survivors were more satisfied with care at hospitals that feature sexual assault forensic examiner (SAFE) programs. Of all service providers discussed, survivors reported the greatest satisfaction with rape crisis programs, indicating that rape crisis advocates are an important element of survivor care. However, services for special populations (e.g., males, people with disabilities or a mental illness, and members of the LGBT community) were inadequate and in need of improvement. Fry concludes that dialogue and a climate of change within service-providing agencies are necessary if all rape survivors are to receive adequate care.
Gaensslen, R.E., and Henry C. Lee. 2002. Sexual Assault Evidence: National Assessment and Guidebook. West Haven and Meriden, CT: University of New Haven and Connecticut State Police Forensic Science Laboratory.
Gaensslen and Lee examine the collection and use of physical evidence in sexual assault cases, assess the value of various evidence-gathering methods, and offer recommendations for evidence-related practices. The authors note that coordination of law enforcement, medical staff, victim service agencies, and prosecutors is stressed in much of the literature and protocol surrounding sexual assault investigation and acknowledge that SARTs and SANEs have facilitated such cooperation. The authors offer procedural recommendations for investigation, evidence collection, and collaboration between stakeholders, stressing the importance of forensic science laboratory participation for the latter.
Although the report is useful as a detailed source of guidelines for law enforcement, medical examiners, crime laboratory staff, and prosecutors, its outdated content makes it problematic as a resource.
General Assembly of the State of Illinois. 2003. The Efficacy of Illinois' Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Pilot Program. Chicago, IL: Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.
This study evaluates the SANE pilot program administered by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority in Champaign, DuPage, and Lake Counties. Research findings indicate that the SANE program improved community responses to sexual assault victims, as well as post-assault evidence collection and processing. However, it is unclear if the SANE pilot program has resulted in higher prosecution rates for perpetrators of sexual violence. The report concludes with recommendations for SANE program funding, SANE availability and utilization in hospitals, collaboration between SANEs and other service providers (e.g., criminal justice staff, SART members), and further research.
Karjane, Heather, Bonnie Fisher, and Francis Cullen. 2002. Campus Sexual Assault: How America's Institutions of Higher Education Respond: Executive Summary. Newton, MA: Education Development Center.
Karjane, Fisher, and Cullen evaluate a nationwide study of colleges and universities, assessing campus crime reporting, policies, training, referrals, and disciplinary procedures related to campus sexual assault. The authors find that 4-year public and private nonprofit institutions are making progress in developing detailed sexual assault policies and protocols. However, significant gaps still exist in campus sexual assault policies and responses, indicating that large-scale changes in campus approaches to sexual violence are needed. Additionally, the operative definitions of sexual assault vary across institutions and states, and this absence of a standard definition may skew reporting rates. The report recommends developing guidelines for meeting Clery Act reporting mandates; developing consistent, victim-centered sexual assault policies and protocols; enhancing services for sexual violence victims; and conducting further research on barriers to reporting.
Kaufman, Miriam, and The Committee on Adolescence. 2008. "Care of the Adolescent Sexual Assault Victim." Pediatrics 122: 462470.
Sexual assault is a broad-based term that encompasses a wide range of sexual victimizations including rape. Since the American Academy of Pediatrics published its last policy statement on sexual assault in 2001, additional information and data have emerged about sexual assault and rape in adolescents and the treatment and management of the adolescent who has been a victim of sexual assault. This report provides new information to update physicians and focuses on assessment and care of sexual assault victims in the adolescent population.
Kirkbride, Jennika. 2008. "Civil Legal Protection for Victims of Sexual Violence." Sexual Assault Report 12: 2324, 3132.
A protection or restraining order issued by a court is the most common way of offering protection to a victim of violent crime or harassment. Because of the serious and unique nature of sexual violence, however, states must reexamine the need for separate legislation granting specialized protection orders to victims of sexual assault. Such a statute should be narrowly tailored to meet the needs of victims of sexual assault and include those victims currently prevented from obtaining other forms of protection. A separate sexual assault civil protection order would increase access to legal protection for the 38 percent of victims assaulted by a friend or acquaintance.
Ledray, Linda E. 2008. "Alcohol and Sexual Assault: What Can/Should We Do in the Emergency Department." Journal of Forensic Nursing 4: 9193.
Ledray discusses how alcohol use renders women vulnerable to sexual assault, an issue that must urgently be addressed by service providers. Ledray encourages SANEs to have an impact on the health of sexual assault survivors who abuse alcohol, suggesting that SANEs screen for alcohol abuse and use intervention tools in ways that are sensitive to sexual assault victims.
Lena, Eileen M. 2001. Impact Evaluation of STOP Grant Programs for Reducing Violence Against Women Among Indian Tribes. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.
This report explores the use of STOP funds for tribal victim services, law enforcement, and policy development. Coordination has been facilitated and victim services have been enhanced in tribal communities by establishing formal protocols for domestic and sexual violence response. However, Lena acknowledges that tribal jurisdiction ambiguities (e.g., "checkerboarding," the Major Crimes Act) and overlapping forms of law enforcement have posed problems for law enforcement and prosecution in the past. The degree to which STOP funds improved tribal responses to violence against women is not known, as information on violence against American Indian women before the disbursement of STOP grants is limited due to lack of adequate tracking. However, several tribal sites have used STOP funds to improve standardized data collection for tracking domestic and sexual violence. The author concludes that the STOP program is having a positive impact on American Indian communities by aiding them in developing programs and strategies to combat violence against women.
Logan, T.K., Lucy Evans, Erin Stevenson, and Carol Jordan. 2005. "Barriers to Services for Rural and Urban Survivors of Rape." Journal of Interpersonal Violence 20: 591616.
The authors examine reasons for the low use of health, mental health, and law enforcement services by rape victims and pay special attention to barriers that may prevent rape victims from using these services. Their study draws on the responses of 30 female rape survivors who participated in 6 rural and urban focus groups. Rural and urban respondents noted similar barriers to their use of services, including cost, lack of nearby services, and ignorance of and misunderstandings about services. Respondents also noted problems that emerged after they called on law enforcement and criminal justice providers, including limited police availability when reporting crimes, revictimization by law enforcement and courts, lack of autonomy through the prosecution process, lack of legal efficacy, and fear of perpetrator retaliation. Study participants stressed the need for greater community education and professional training on sexual assault, changes in the judicial system's response to rape, and expanded resources for rape victims. The report indicated that responses to sexual violence must take into account the unique cultural and geographic conditions of rural and urban communities.
Malcoe, Lorraine Halinka, and Bonnie M. Duran. 2004. Intimate Partner Violence and Injury in the Lives of Low-Income Native American Women. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center.
Malcoe and Duran examine lifetime prevalence rates of intimate partner violence among American Indian women in western Oklahoma, using their findings to address deeper issues of violence against American Indian women. Malcoe and Duran's findings indicate high levels of physical and sexual violence among respondents: 82.7 percent of women surveyed experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, with 66.6 percent reporting physical violence and 25.1 percent reporting sexual violence by an intimate partner. Of respondents who experienced physical or sexual violence at the hands of an intimate partner, 88.8 percent were also injured by that partner. The authors conclude that rates of lifetime intimate partner violence demonstrated in this study indicate that some American Indian women are at greater risk for physical and sexual violence than women of other ethnic or cultural groups.
National Institute of Justice. 2010. Compendium of Research on Violence Against Women, 1993Present. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.
This regularly updated compendium lists and briefly describes all of the projects funded under NIJ's Violence Against Women and Family Violence Program.
National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center. 2002. College Sexual Assault Programs that Have Been Evaluated: A Review. Washington, DC: National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center.
The National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center reviews eight college sexual assault prevention programs that were previously evaluated and published in peer review journals. Almost all of the programs cited were one-time, 60- to 90-minute presentations, with only one semester-long program included in the review. The review found that comprehensive programs (rather than short, 60- to 90-minute programs) were more effective in encouraging attitudinal and behavioral changes in participants over time. The authors recommend that further research explore program components that are effective in spurring long-term attitudinal and behavioral changes. The authors also stress the importance of including culturally specific materials in college sexual assault prevention programs, as well as incorporating outside evaluators into the program to analyze program performance and findings.
Nugent-Borakove, M. Elaine, Patricia Fanflik, David Troutman, Nicole Johnson, Ann Burgess, and Annue Lewis O'Connor. 2006. Testing the Efficacy of SANE/SART Programs: Do They Make a Difference in Sexual Assault Arrest & Prosecution Outcomes? Alexandria, VA: American Prosecutors Research Institute.
Researchers from the American Prosecutors Research Institute and Boston College examine the effects of SANE and SART intervention on the judicial process of sexual assault cases. Drawing on sexual assault case data from three counties in New Jersey, Kansas, and Massachusetts, the study compares arrest rates, charging, guilty pleas, convictions, and sentencing in cases with and without SANE/SART intervention. The authors conclude that SANE/SART intervention is an efficacious tool for the criminal justice system when responding to sexual assault.
Orchowsky, Stan, and Candace Johnson. 2002. Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Data Collection Systems in the States. Washington, DC: Justice Research and Statistics Association.
The National Institute of Justice commissioned a 199697 study of data collection systems across states for incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault. In addition to research on various data collection systems, Orchowsky and Johnson highlight three state data collection systems: the Iowa National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), Connecticut's Family Violence Reporting Program, and Illinois' InfoNet system. The authors propose that states implement incident-based reporting systems that use relationship and offense codes that are compatible with NIBRS, as well as incident-based service provider systems that collect data on domestic and sexual violence. Furthermore, the authors recommend that states analyze domestic and sexual violence data gathered by statewide incident-based systems, as well as establish protocols for identifying and reporting domestic and sexual violence. Finally, the authors encourage states to develop links among different state data systems that gather domestic and sexual violence data, so that information can be effectively shared among states.
Peacock, Thomas, Lila George, Alex Wilson, Amy Bergstrom, and Ellen Pence. 2003. Community-Based Analysis of the U.S. Legal System's Intervention in Domestic Abuse Cases Involving Indigenous Women. Duluth, MN: Mending the Sacred Hoop of Minnesota Program Development, Inc.
Peacock, George, Wilson, Bergstrom, and Pence explore the U.S. legal system's responses to domestic and sexual violence against American Indian women. The authors draw on victim experiences in rural counties in the Midwestern United States, focusing on the legal system's institutional processes and how these processes often marginalize American Indian women. Their research finds that responses from police, courts, and child services frequently fragment and decontextualize victims' experiences, thus failing to safeguard the welfare of victims and their children. The authors contend that the legal system must acknowledge indigenous values (e.g., holism, social cohesion) when responding to American Indian victims, offering a holistic rather than fragmented response to violence.
Rottman, David B. 2003. Evaluating Data Collection and Communication System Projects Funded under the STOP Program: Executive Summary. Williamsburg, VA: National Center for State Courts.
This report contains the National Center for State Courts 19982001 findings on subgrantees' use of STOP funds to improve data collection and communication systems with the purpose of combating violence against women. The author also cites the Domestic Violence Court Technology Application and Resource Link as a case study, demonstrating how STOP funds were used to link various criminal justice agencies and service providers involved in domestic violence cases. According to a survey of 240 STOP subgrantees, 80 percent of subgrantees used STOP funds to purchase hardware or software, 50 percent used funds to develop or augment case or client tracking systems, and 32 percent used funds to coordinate integrated data systems. Additionally, a followup survey of 51 subgrantees indicated that large percentages reported that they could base decisions on more immediate or reliable information, that communication across systems had been enhanced (allowing them to provide better services to victims), and that stronger linkages existed across agencies. The report concludes that STOP funds improved subgrantees' ability to provide services and accomplish goals set out by VAWA.
Roy, Corinna, and Nicole Martin. 2002. Improving Services to Sexual Assault Victims in Olmsted County: 2000-01 Evaluation Report of a Minnesota Model Protocol Project Test Site. St. Paul, MN: Wilder Research Center.
Roy and Martin look indepth at the protocol and team member attitudes of the Olmsted County Sexual Assault Inter-Agency Council (SAIC), a collaborative team of Minnesota agencies designed to enhance community responses to sexual assault. First, in their summary of SAIC's guideline development, the authors detail SAIC's clarification of medical guidelines (e.g., confidentiality, care of young victims, implementation of the SANE program) and law enforcement guidelines (e.g., appropriate interviewing of victims, role of school liaison officers). Also, the authors discuss a Wilder Research Center survey of SAIC team members intended to measure collaboration between member agencies. Survey results indicate that perceived strengths of SAIC include its unique purpose, its goals, and its collaboration as serving agencies' self-interest, whereas perceived problem areas include decisionmaking, sufficient resources/funds, and knowledge of prior collaboration in the community. The report demonstrates the importance of guideline and role clarification for collaborative groups such as SARTs, as well as the need to assess attitudes and conditions within such groups to ensure optimal collaboration.
Ruch, Libby, Barry Coyne, and Paul Perrone. 2000. Reporting Sexual Assault to the Police in Hawaii. Manoa, HI: Social Science Research Institute.
In a collaborative study conducted by the Sex Abuse Treatment Center (SATC) of Honolulu, the Social Sciences Research Institute of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and the Hawaii State Department of the Attorney General, researchers looked for variables that facilitated or hindered reporting of sexual assault to the police in Hawaii. Drawing on a sample of 709 female victims of sexual assault who sought treatment at SATC within 1 year of the assault, the report distinguishes immediate treatment seekers from delayed treatment seekers (those who sought treatment more than 72 hours after the assault). The study found that among immediate treatment seekers, reporting of sexual assault was higher when the assailant used a weapon, the assailant threatened to harm or kill the victim, the victim attempted to flee, the victim shouted for help, the victim was non-Asian, and/or the victim felt no or low self-blame for the attack. Among delayed treatment seekers, reporting was higher when the assailant was a stranger, the assailant threatened to harm or kill the victim, the victim tried to trick or fool the assailant, and/or the victim felt no or low self-blame after the incident.
Shapiro, Deborah, and Alicia Rinaldi. 2001. "Achieving Successful Collaboration in the Evaluation of Sexual Assault Prevention Programs: A Case Study." Violence Against Women 7: 11861201.
Shapiro and Rinaldi explore ways of achieving successful collaboration when community-based programs conduct evaluative research. Citing an evaluation of an adolescent-geared rape awareness education program as a case study, the authors discuss steps of the evaluation, augmentation of the program, and interactions between collaborating participants. Although Shapiro and Rinaldi agree that there is no "one" way to successfully collaborate, they observe that several elements are necessary for effective collaboration: (1) mutual respect, trust, and communication, (2) open discussion of roles and explicit agreement on who controls which aspects of the evaluative process, (3) mutual recognition of each party's expertise and skills, and (4) flexibility. The authors acknowledge the advantages of collaborative program evaluation, such as opportunities to communicate findings to wider audiences, which in turn results in more effective societal change. Shapiro and Rinaldi's account offers SARTs useful guidelines for interagency and interpersonal collaboration, as well as incentives for outside evaluation.
Smithey, Martha, Susanne E. Green, and Andrew L. Giacomazzi. 2002. Collaborative Effort and the Effectiveness of Law Enforcement Training Toward Resolving Domestic Violence. El Paso, TX: University of Texas at El Paso.
Smithey, Green, and Giacomazzi present a twofold report on domestic violence responses by law enforcement and collaborative partnerships. First, the authors analyze a process evaluation of interagency collaboration among members of a domestic violence prevention commission in an unnamed Southwestern U.S. city. Using data from four focus groups convened in 1998 and 1999, the evaluation uncovered several practical and philosophical issues that jeopardized collaboration: (1) agency self-interest as motivation to collaborate, (2) leadership and control concerns, (3) unclear expectations of participants and lack of structure, (4) absence of key participants in the commission's implementation phase, and (5) excessive focus on law enforcement responses to domestic violence to the perceived marginalization of other participants.
Second, the authors evaluate the effects of police officer training on attitudes surrounding domestic violence, drawing on a sample of 135 Duluth police officers and corresponding control groups. The evaluation found that while most officers embraced liberal ideas about gender roles, many also embraced inaccurate or simplistic beliefs about the causes of domestic violence that were not dispelled by training. Furthermore, inaccurate or simplistic beliefs about the causes of domestic violence were correlated with approval of mandatory arrest policies as effective tools for reducing family violence. Training did not affect the length of time officers spent at crime scenes, acceptance of cases for prosecution, or conviction rates.
Spohn, Cassia, and David Holleran. 2004. Prosecuting Sexual Assault: A Comparison of Charging Decisions in Sexual Assault Cases Involving Strangers, Acquaintances, and Intimate Partners. Omaha, NE, and Johnson City, TN: University of Nebraska at Omaha and East Tennessee State University.
Spohn and Holleran probe the role of victim, suspect, and case characteristics in prosecutors' decisions to pursue or refuse charges in sexual assault cases. A study of 259 sexual assault cases from Kansas City and 267 cases from Philadelphia revealed that victim and suspect traits affected prosecutors' decisions to pursue charges. Specifically, prosecutors were more likely to pursue cases if physical evidence connected a suspect to the crime, if the suspect had a criminal record, and if there were no questions about the victim's character or behavior at the time of the incident. If the victim and suspect were partners, prosecutors were less likely to file charges if the victim physically resisted the attacker or engaged in risk-taking behavior, but prosecutors were more likely to file charges if the victim had been injured during the attack. Nevertheless, prior research on variables influencing prosecutors' decisions in sexual assault cases is contradictory, a possible result of rape law reforms over time that have changed factors that prosecutors must take into account.
Teaster, Pamela, and Lisa Nerenberg. 2005. A National Look at Elder Abuse Multidisciplinary Teams. Washington, DC: National Center on Elder Abuse.
The National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA) and the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) conducted a national study of elder abuse multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) to uncover challenges, strengths, and accomplishments that characterize such teams. Drawing from a survey of 31 representatives or spokespersons for elder abuse MDTs, the study examines how teams describe purpose, composition, services, strengths, and challenges. One of the strengths of MDTs was their ability to mobilize a wide range of service providers and professionals for addressing elder abuse cases. Most teams described their purpose as providing expert consultation to service providers, as well as identifying service gaps and system problems in the elder care infrastructure. Helping to resolve difficult elder abuse cases and identify service gaps were often cited as primary team goals, suggesting that MDTs play an important role in revealing systemic problems and needs for new resources and strategies.
Thurman, Pamela Jumper, Roe Bubar, Barbara Plested, Ruth Edwards, Pamela LeMaster, Erica Bystrom, Mirisa Hardy, DeWayne Tahe, Martha Burnside, and E.R. Oetting. 2003. Violence Against Indian Women: Final Revised Report. Ft. Collins, CO: Colorado State University, Tri Ethnic Center for Prevention Research.
This study examines the extent to which American Indian communities are aware of violence against women as a pressing community issue, as well as the availability of prevention and intervention programs for victims. The study found that while communities were aware of violence against women and that resources existed, obstacles prevented victims from using such resources. Prejudice, inconsistent law enforcement response, prosecution delays, fear of tribal leaders who were themselves abusers, and family concerns between abuser and victim were among the barriers that prevented American Indian women from reporting incidents or making full use of community resources. Distrust of political and legal systems also emerged as a recurring theme in respondents' perceptions. Although the study indicated that no significant differences existed in communities' readiness to embrace violence prevention, differences did emerge in suggested response strategies. The authors conclude that to have an impact on violence against women, agencies and service providers must collaborate in ways relevant to their area and situation and recommend following the Community Readiness Model for this.
Tjaden, Patricia, and Nancy Thoennes. 2000. Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.
The National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sponsored the National Violence Against Women Survey, gathering data from a random telephone survey of 8,000 women and 8,000 men from November 1995 to May 1996. The study found that violence against women is primarily intimate partner violence, and that women experience more intimate partner violence and are more likely to be injured during an assault than men. However, only 35.6 percent of women injured during their most recent rape and 30.2 percent of women injured during their most recent physical assault received medical attention. Of the 17.6 percent of female respondents who were victims of attempted or completed rape, 54 percent were younger than age 18 at the time of the assault. The study also confirmed a correlation between violent victimization as a minor and subsequent victimization as an adult. American Indian/Alaskan Native women and men report more violent victimization, including rape, than women and men of other racial backgrounds.
Uekert, Brenda K., Neal Miller, Cheron DuPree, Deborah Spence, and Cassandra Archer. 2001. Evaluation of the STOP Violence Against Women Grant Program: Law Enforcement and Prosecution Components. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.
Uekert, Miller, Dupree, Spence, and Archer discuss an evaluation of prosecution and law enforcement components of the VAWA STOP grant program. The Institute for Law and Justice's 19952000 evaluation draws on surveys of subgrantees, legislative reviews, and process and impact evaluations of various STOP-funded projects. Analysis of STOP grant use indicates that STOP funds have been invaluable to prosecution and law enforcement training, the creation of criminal justice protocol, and the development of specialized units and collaborative multiagency teams. Additionally, subgrantees have increasingly used STOP monies to fund victim services, but many subgrantees focus more on domestic violence issues than on sexual violence or stalking. The STOP program has positively influenced legislative activity, as indicated by the enactment of 663 laws between 1998 and 2000 related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. In short, STOP funds have enhanced criminal justice and legislative responses to violence against women, allowing for fuller services and coordinated community responses.
Weisz, Arlene, David Canales-Portalatin, and Neva Nahan. 2001. Evaluation of Victim Advocacy within a Team Approach: Final Report Summary. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.
Weisz, Canales-Portalatin, and Nahan examine advocacy services provided by the Detroit police department's domestic violence units, with special attention to the experiences of African-American women. Through reviews of police reports, advocates' records, and interviews with victims who received advocacy, the authors probe services provided by dedicated police officers, police department advocates, and legal advocates, as well as victim perceptions of the services rendered. The authors conclude that advocacy services were not thorough enough to increase domestic violence victims' participation in prosecution, nor were such services correlated with a decrease in abuse or enhanced feelings of safety as reported by victims. Gaps in advocacy services, such as lack of safety planning with victims and lack of coordination with other agencies, indicate that victim needs are not fully being met. The authors argue that additional training and increased advocacy is necessary if domestic violence units are to meet victim needs and increase prosecution of assailants.
Zepp, James. 1996. Domestic and Sexual Violence Data Collection: A Report to Congress Under the Violence Against Women Act. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
The National Institute of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Statistics sponsored a study of domestic and sexual violence incident data collection by the states as mandated by Title IV of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This 1995 study, drawing on surveys of 47 state statistical analysis centers or uniform crime reporting programs, was intended (1) to examine statistical record-keeping problems at the federal level regarding domestic and sexual violence incidents, and (2) to identify ways that states can centralize data collection on domestic and sexual violence offenses. The report suggests that improvements to data collection on violence against women must acknowledge multiple subgroups and indicators (e.g., characteristics of victims and assailants) and must establish uniform data definitions and reporting methods across states. Moreover, the report highlights the need for uniform definitions of domestic and sexual violence as well as the need for collaborative data collection from the criminal justice system, health care providers, and service providers.
Zevitz, Richard, and Mary Ann Farkas. 2000. Sex Offender Community Notification: Assessing the Impact in Wisconsin. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.
Zevitz and Farkas examine the effects of Wisconsin's community notification statute, which authorizes law enforcement to notify residents of sex offenders living in or returning to communities. The authors confirm that community notification efforts protect and inform residents, thereby serving their intended purpose, but at the cost of increased public anxiety, hindered reintegration of offenders into society, and increased burdens on service providers. In documenting community resident responses and expectations, Zevitz and Farkas acknowledge the need to educate the public about what notification laws can and cannot accomplish. The authors also stress the value of developing protocol and organizing interagency teams to manage community notification efforts and offender supervision, as well as the need for considerable funding to cover labor expenditures for such tasks. Finally, they note the need for housing, employment, and treatment resources so that offenders can be successfully reintegrated into the community.
Zweig, Janine, and Martha Burt. 2004. "Impacts of Agency Coordination on Nonprofit Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Programs in Communities with STOP Formula Grant Funding." Violence and Victims 19: 613624.
Zweig and Burt examine the relationship between STOP funding, collaboration, and the success of victim service programs (e.g., domestic violence and sexual assault agencies), drawing on a study of 200 victim service programs in 32 states. Specifically, the report analyzes community and state contexts for victim service programs, the degree to which STOP funds have improved services and community interaction, and the degree to which collaboration with other stakeholders has improved victim service programs. The study found that collaboration between victim service programs and other community service providers improved services offered by victim service programs, based on respondent perceptions. The study also found that the greater the level of community activity surrounding violence against women before STOP, the less change occurred after the introduction of STOP funds. Conversely, communities with less activity before STOP funding experienced more change related to violence against women efforts after STOP funds were introduced.
Zweig, Janine M., Kathryn A. Schlichter, and Martha R. Burt. 2002. "Assisting Women Victims of Violence Who Experience Multiple Barriers to Services." Violence Against Women 8: 162180.
Zweig, Schlichter, and Burt explore the extent to which domestic violence and sexual assault programs tailor services to women with multiple barriers, such as substance abuse problems, mental health issues, cognitive impairment, incarceration, and involvement in prostitution. Acknowledging the scarcity of programs geared toward multi-barrier victims, the authors study 12 domestic and sexual violence programs that provide services to multi-barrier women. Common service obstacles cited by program staff include victims' lack of access to transportation, employment, housing, and education, as well as lack of income and the tendency of service providers to question victim credibility when barriers are present. Program staff also point out the lack of victim services that address multiple barriers simultaneously, batterers' exploitation of women's problems as abuse strategies, and service providers' lack of knowledge about special problems confronting victims. Victim services have responded to the needs of multi-barrier women with advocacy, treatment, support groups, outreach to vulnerable communities, staff training, and collaboration with other service providers (e.g., law enforcement, prosecutors). The authors conclude that more domestic violence and sexual assault services must address multiple barriers to service through innovative and collaborative approaches.
Zweig, Janine M., and Martha R. Burt. 2003. "Effects of Interactions Among Community Agencies on Legal System Responses to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in STOP-Funded Communities." Criminal Justice Policy Review 14: 249272.
Zweig and Burt analyze the degree to which STOP funding for victim service programs (e.g., domestic violence and sexual assault centers) has resulted in greater collaboration with other service providers and more positive legal outcomes. The study draws from interviews with staff of 200 STOP-funded victim service programs in 32 states, which measured perceptions of legal system responses and changes after receipt of STOP funding. The study found that increases in STOP funding were related to better communication, coordination, and participation between victim service programs and law enforcement. Such coordinated community responses resulted in increased convictions of assailants as well as more services and information being made available to victims. Additionally, the more community agencies cooperated before STOP funding, the more the legal system responded positively to victim needs after receiving STOP funds.