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Developing a Sexual Assault Response Team—Kentucky

In 1999, the Kentucky Governor created a task force to address sexual assault issues. The Governor's Task Force Report mandated the development of a statewide medical protocol. In October 2000, the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs (KASAP) organized a statewide SART Steering Committee to develop a statewide SART resource guide.

Making the Idea a Reality
Initially, members of the criminal justice system, victim advocacy, forensic medicine, forensic nursing, KASAP staff, and other professionals developed a medical forensic protocol, using a preliminary document developed by the Medical Examiner's Office. In 2002, the Hospital/Community Procedural Guidelines for the Forensic and Medical Examination of Adult Sexual Assault Victims in Kentucky was published and distributed throughout the state.

As information about the forensic medical exam protocol spread, the advantages of multidisciplinary SART programs became apparent. In response, KASAP and members of the statewide SART Steering Committee collaboratively developed a SART resource guide called Developing a Sexual Assault Response Team: A Resource Guide for Kentucky Communities. It was designed for rape crisis centers, health care providers, and other community agencies in Kentucky that are interested in starting SART programs, and it has been used extensively on a national level.

Benefits to Victims
Establishing SARTs can—

  • Improve the quality of evidence collection.
  • Reduce the re-traumatization of victims.
  • Help a community meet the unique needs of specific populations.

Benefits to Victim Service Professionals
Establishing SARTs can—

  • Help to improve evidence collection.
  • Increase reporting and prosecution rates.
  • Reduce the cost paid by each community to meet its unique needs.
  • Decrease the chances for mistakes when collecting evidence and for lapses in the chain of custody—which reduces the need to defend evidence in court that may have otherwise been argued as inadmissible—because of the strict protocol guidelines used by SANEs and SARTs.

Lessons Learned

  • A task force should be established before beginning to develop a SART program.
  • Designating a statewide SANE/SART coordinator ensures consistency in practices throughout the state.

Contact Information
Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs
P.O. Box 4028
Frankfort, KY 40604
866–375–2727 or 502–226–2704