Hold Team Meetings . Monitor and Evaluate Your Efforts . Sustain Your SART . Know Your Team . Critical Issues
Why Is a Sustainability Plan Important?
Intentionally planning for sustainability is essential. Research has found that
- Social systems need to be reorganized to create victim-centered settings.1
- Responders need to maintain their involvement with victims beyond the initial intervention.2
- Victims need services whether or not they are initially involved in the criminal justice system.3
Victim-centered care after an assault is vital to recovery and an indicator of victims' willingness to participate in criminal justice proceedings. Both anecdotal and research-based evidence lead to the conclusion that having the appropriate individuals respond collaboratively, instead of simply referring victims to various agencies, usually results in victims being willing at least to meet with law enforcement to disclose their assaults.4
In This Toolkit: What Is a SART? Describes the value of SARTs for victims, service providers, and the community.
In addition, when teams develop a strategy for institutionalizing their multidisciplinary responses, they can bring about perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes that are favorable to more consistent and compassionate responses to sexual assault. For example, the SART in Ames, Iowa, has noted that "With the SART in place, team members report that excellent partnerships exist throughout the system that are meeting the needs of victims better. Sexual assault reports to the team have increased each year: There were 18 in 1998, 47 in 1999, and 62 in 2000a 244 percent increase in calls between 1998 and 2000. The team credits the increase in SART calls to the word getting out in the community that victims who call will be treated with respect."5