Future of SARTs
Successful and emerging reforms in the collaborative response to sexual violence include victim-driven decisions to report or not report sexual assault to law enforcement, forensic medical/legal exams provided without using victims' insurance,12 orders of protection for sexual assault cases involving ongoing relationships, broader terms of restitution (including court-ordered payments by offenders sentenced to prison),13 and collaborative responses for those victims sexually assaulted by professionals.
Hundreds of ideas and recommendations for SARTs to consider are documented in New Directions from the Field: Victims' Rights and Services for the 21st Century, which calls on the United States to14
- Enact and enforce consistent, fundamental rights for crime victims in federal, state, juvenile, military, and tribal justice systems and administrative proceedings.
- Provide crime victims with access to comprehensive, quality services regardless of the nature of their victimization, age, race, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, capability, or geographic location.
- Integrate crime victims' issues into all levels of the Nation's educational system to ensure that justice and allied professionals and other service providers receive comprehensive training on victims' issues as part of their academic education and continuing training in the field.
- Support, improve, and replicate promising practices in victims' rights and services that are built on sound research, advanced technology, and multidisciplinary partnerships.
- Ensure that the voices of crime victims play a central role in the Nation's response to violence and those victimized by crime.
With these efforts, SARTs can chart new directions that creatively address emerging issues. If you are using this toolkit to develop, enhance, or expand your response to sexual violence, choose a course of action that is relevant to your community. Perhaps that course of action involves uniting with new allies, making a new commitment to sustain your program by developing strategic funding streams, or formalizing a system that strengthens your response during times of change.
What if . . .
- Victims formerly fearful of reporting begin to trust the systems in place to help them?
- Core team values look beyond individual organizational needs?
- Communities build on what has been done elsewhere and on their own unique strengths?
- Public safety goals are united with public health and educational initiatives?
- Criminal justice solutions are routinely coupled with civil legal remedies?
- Victim stigma is turned into public outrage and norms change about sexual violence?
- Success is measured by victims' experiences?