Hold Team Meetings . Monitor and Evaluate Your Efforts . Sustain Your SART . Know Your Team . Critical Issues
Despite the best intentions of SART members to cooperate with one another, disagreement among disciplines is inevitable.8 Team members bring personal and professional experiences, agendas, beliefs, and perceptions into dialogues. If you cannot resolve conflicts or disagreements, you could diminish your SART's effectiveness.
The mix of different preferences, histories, communication patterns, and professional experiences in your SART is bound to cause disagreements. Several basic strategies can help you resolve conflicts:
- Be open: Address problems openly rather than allowing them to go unresolved.
- Stay focused: Adhere to a decisionmaking philosophy grounded in what is best for the victim and what is in the best interest of the community.
- Clarify interests: Encourage team members to explore the interests of opposing viewpoints and attempt to find common ground, all the while keeping the victim as a priority concern.
- Generate options: If common ground does not seem apparent, brainstorm ways to think in new and creative directions. For example, prosecutors may oppose the idea of evidence-based prosecution of cases involving adult sexual assault. On the other hand, forensic medical examiners and advocates may think justice is best served by developing evidence-based strategies proactively. Instead of stopping at an impasse of opposing viewpoints, develop evidence-based protocols based on exceptional cases. This strategy would provide an opportunity for the team to work through issues proactively and give victims who are unable to testify full access to the criminal justice system.
- Find the middle ground: Encourage those with opposing opinions to identify the most attractive alternative recommendation while factoring in costs, time, outcomes, and compliance issues.
- Be patient: Recognize that some problems do not lend themselves to immediate resolution.
Read on to learn how to—