Develop a SART
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Assess Community Readiness

Before you form your SART, you'll need to understand the following issues as they relate to your community:

  • Its perception of sexual violence:
    • How are sexual assaults reported in the local media?
    • Do high schools and colleges/universities support presentations about preventing sexual assault?
    • Is there community support for a response to sexual violence that includes a volunteer base?
  • Its current services for victims:
    • What have victims identified as needs or unmet needs?
    • Are services easily accessible for individuals with disabilities?
    • Are services equally accessible for victims residing in urban and rural areas?
    • Are there institutional and community services available for victims living on college campuses, reservations, or military installations?
    • Are ethnic minority groups well served?
    • Is there a coordinated response for undocumented victims?
    • Are services provided for victims with limited English proficiency?
  • Its current resources:
    • What nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies serve sexual assault victims?
    • Has a SART model been used in the past? If so, what changes have occurred since then?

To determine whether the community is prepared for the long-term commitment of establishing a SART, collect data on the following:

  • Jurisdictional considerations.
  • Sexual assault trends.
  • Local, state, federal, tribal, territorial, campus, and military resources.
  • Formal or informal interagency protocols.
  • Barriers and system issues involved in the response to sexual violence.
  • Risk factors affecting public health and safety.

This data-informed planning can be especially useful for SART organizers. Information collected can answer questions about the frequency of sexual assault, where it is happening, its victims' demographics, and its perpetrators' mode of operation. The data can then be used to compile resources, examine service delivery, and address risk factors.

Obtaining data is crucial to creating your SART's mission and establishing team goals and objectives that are specific to the needs and resources of your jurisdiction.

Data collection doesn't stop after this initial assessment of community readiness. You should continue collecting information after you establish your SART to track your success over time, aid future requests for funding, and inform researchers and policymakers of trends that need to be addressed. Because of this, data collection is described in much more detail in the next section of this toolkit, Collect Data, which discusses interagency statistical data, community needs assessment surveys, victim surveys, focus group findings, and public forums.