Hold Team Meetings . Monitor and Evaluate Your Efforts . Sustain Your SART . Know Your Team . Critical Issues
Expand SART Membership
When you first establish your SART, it is best to work with as few people as necessary to meet your objectives. The more people involved, the more likely they are to encounter difficulties in learning about each other, balancing power, coming to agreement on issues, and coordinating the work. Once established, you may want to expand the team to help guide culturally relevant responses, make good referral connections, and incorporate risk reduction and prevention education into your outreach efforts.
Potential new members to add include stakeholders who support SART work, such as allied organizations and funders, and survivors of sexual assault, who can help you make informed decisions about critical needs for victim-centered responses. For each group of stakeholders, you'll need to determine the issues they care about, why they care, what they can do, how they will mobilize to respond, and how you will achieve cross training.
By diversifying and expanding your SART's membership, you can build leadership to support a wide range of victims' needs and help criminal justice professionals secure expert resources. New members also add fresh vitality to the team. Ultimately, providing victims with an integrated team of service providers helps them receive all the assistance they need.
Consider the following agencies and individuals—not an exhaustive list—when expanding your team:
- Civil legal attorneys to provide legal information to the team and assist with multijurisdictional issues, international/immigration law, and victims' civil legal remedies and rights.
- Community employers to inform the team about workplace violence and safety issues.
- Crime victim compensation agencies to educate the team about crime victims' compensation benefits, claims processing, and application issues (e.g., victims often find it difficult to navigate through the regulations and forms required to receive reimbursement).
- Culturally specific organizations to inform your SART about specific issues within diverse ethnic populations and to promote referral networks.
- Disabilities experts to educate SART members on specific accessibility needs for victims with disabilities and inform primary responders about appropriate services.
- Domestic violence experts to enable the team to further address the link between intimate partner violence and sexual violence and to ensure that victims receive appropriate services regardless of where they first ask for help (e.g., some SARTs have agreements with domestic violence shelters to provide safe housing for victims, regardless of whether the victims were in a battering relationship).
- Educational representatives to help bridge intervention and prevention initiatives (you will need to determine which educational system or personnel should participate, such as higher education personnel, school district personnel, school administrators, social workers, or school/campus nurses).
- Juvenile justice program staff to help promote victims' rights within the juvenile justice process and to assist with strategies for managing juvenile sex offenders.
- Elected officials to help the team proactively address systems and policy issues.
- Grant administrators to help coordinate local and statewide SART objectives, sustainability options, and public policy initiatives.
- Hospital administrators to ensure that a coordinated response is efficient and seamless when victims present in emergency departmentshospital administrators can educate the team on medical issues and hospital practices.
- Media experts (e.g., television and radio broadcasters, newspaper reporters) to help the team promote public awareness of sexual assault intervention and prevention and to keep the community informed of its activities.
- Military officials to assist with specific needs of victims serving in the military and to help coordinate the response inter-jurisdictionally.
- Probation, parole, and correctional officers (e.g., officers involved with electronic monitoring, officers from city jails or state correctional facilities) to assist you with victim safety needs and sex offender management issues.
- Researchers (e.g., volunteer consultants, employees of public and private institutions of higher education, professionals within medical and legal educational institutions) to help the team monitor and evaluate initiatives, assess community needs, and analyze victim surveys.
- Sex offender management specialists to provide comprehensive victim-centered responses during case management of offenders. Sex offender management personnel are in a unique position in the criminal justice system as they work not only with offenders but also with victims and those who live and work with offenders.
- Sexual assault survivors to help the team understand how the system addresses victims' needs and to keep the team focused on the victim.
- Substance abuse programs to address the connection between the aftermath of sexual assault and drug or alcohol abuse (e.g., 3845 percent of women in substance abuse treatment programs are survivors of sexual violence7).
- Tribal representatives to inform the team of the needs of American Indian victims and to help bridge jurisdictional gaps (e.g., North Dakota's Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Protocol Committee was expanded to include federal and state victim-witness coordinators and Tribal Judicial representatives8).