OVC Provider Forum Transcript

Coordinating SANEs-SARTs in Indian Country
Charity White  -  2013/12/18
How are most agencies you work with handling the VAWA requirement that survivors may get forensic exams even if they do not choose to report immediately? (Am thinking of cost and evidence storage.)
1.  Charity
 Not many victims from tribal communities report in general but thatís something that weíre thinking would change with SART. Also programs, states, tribes have to be in compliance with VAWA in order to get VAWA funding so victims shouldnít be paying for forensic exams but storage is a problem everywhere. Lack of storage and length of time evidence is stored.
2.  Judith Burke
 In Del Norte County, CA, the Sheriff's office handles all "non-reporting" evidence. They have a locker for storage, and so far the cost is minimal, so they are handling that. We have had one case "convert" to an active investigation, so now the deputies are more willing to do these cases.
Is there a need for victim advocates or sexual assault subject matter experts for Tribal Communities in Southern California?
1.  Charity
 occurring in tribal communities.
2.  Charity
 I think it is always important to have a culturally appropriate victim advocate available for victims, especially in Southern California. We spend a great deal of time at our agency ensuring victim advocates are sensitive to issues
Are there any grants available to pay for processing the rape kit?
1.  Charity
 Here in California the rape kits are required to go through a very specific set of steps via law enforcement and the chain of custody. Because of our limitations within a Public Law 280 state and jurisdictional issues, we are not able to process our own rape kits at this time. There may be grants available for other states or at the federal level, however.
Hi. Several years ago, I received training in SART. However, I am a correctional professional/Victims Advocate. I am not a nurse or social worker. I have not been called upon to actually be used in on a team. Is there a need for professionals such as myself on your team? Or is the preference for nurses or license social workers to serve?
1.  Andrea Graham
 Thank you so much for the information. I am inspired to reach out again to our local SART.
2.  Charity
 We accept all professionals on our team, including correctional professionals. We work as a multidisciplinary team to ensure victims are treated appropriately no matter what the point of entry may be for them. In our own SART team, we have representatives from Child Welfare Services, Corrections, Border Patrol, Law Enforcement, Behavioral Health, etc. The more agencies and individuals aware of the needs of victims, specifically tribal victims, the better we all are in meeting those needs.
Based on your experience to date for developing and coordinating a SANE/SART in Indian Country, what would be your best advice to others who are starting or thinking of starting a SANE/SART in a tribal community? What would you do different if you had to do it over?
1.  Charity
 The Office for Victims of Crime has a number of resources and agencies they work with including Tribal Law & Policy Institute who are truly experts in this arena.
2.  Charity
 The best advice is to get buy in and support from your SART members. We initially had difficulty recruiting and retaining vital members of the SART team. We had to adjust meeting times/frequency/subject matter, etc. We wanted the team to take ownership of the meeting, not just attend and not participate. It is also essential to get the buy in and support from the Tribal Councils you are serving. They have quite a bit of influence and can get you through doors that you may not be able to as an agency. It is also important to seek technical assistance and support from agencies who have extensive experience in facilitating SART teams.
What are some examples of ways in which SANE/SARTs in Indian Country might be similar/different from teams outside Indian Country?
1.  Charity
 Another major difference in tribal SARTís and mainstream SARTís is the jurisdictional issues victims have to navigate. It's a much more effective system for everyone when thereís collaboration & coordination between jurisdictions.
2.  Charity
 In San Diego County, there is a SART Team that serves the region and then we have a specific Tribal SART Team. Some of the members are the same, in terms of agencies represented. The Tribal SART Team is much smaller in size. Certainly, we are all focused on serving victims. The primary difference is the unique way in which tribal communities and victims operate. We created a Tribal SART because there was such an unmet need for tribal victims. We spend a good deal of time educating team members on cultural sensitivity. Our team members needs to be ready to accept and provide the appropriate service for victims when victims are seeking those services. That has been lacking in the past.
how do you train your team on cultural sensitivity? do you incorporate any members of the tribe in the trainings.
1.  Charity
 We utilize a variety of methods to train on cultural sensitivity. We definitely incorporate members of the tribe in training, that is crucial. We are fortunate to have members of the tribe who actually work for the agency as well so that helps with not only training SART members but ensuring our own agency members are trained. Further, we utilize external technical assistance providers like Tribal Law & Policy Institute; we utilize culturally appropriate materials (most available on the OVC website) like videos (Rape on the Rez) and handouts. We have also had victims come to the group and speak about their own experience as tribal members and victims. Those tend to be the most powerful because members can actually see the impact of their efforts or lack thereof.
One of our biggest challenges in Alaska is that we do not have a road system to almost all of our surrounding villages. It limits victims access to support systems, because they may or may not have a VPSO (Village Public Officer), Village Advocate or a Behavioral Health Aide. Our hub community is accessible by plane in which depends on the weather. I do have excellent resources for protocols and guides for implementing a SART team, but what I was interested in is any online information for Tribal Response Teams.
1.  Charity
 There are a number of resources on the Tribal Law & Policy Institute website www.tlpi.org and anyone can contact them for training/technical assistance. It's a pretty straightforward process and they are very knowledgeable regarding issues specific to sexual assault and tribal issues. If you don't see the information you need, contact them directly and they will send you in the right direction.
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