What is a SART? By Zoë McDowell

A Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) is a multidisciplinary inter-agency team of individuals working collaboratively to provide services for the community by offering specialized sexual assault intervention services. SART’s exist all across the country!  STSM participates with SARTs in Lexington, Richland, and Newberry Counties.   We are working towards creating a SART in Sumter County.  There is an STSM staff member appointed to each SART board.  These staff members serve as the Community Advocate representation.

SARTs are typically comprised of six agency components: Legal/ Justice (Solicitor’s Office and Attorney General’s Office), a Community Advocate (community based rape-crisis centers) a Forensic Nurse Examiner, a System-Advocate (Law Enforcement Victim Advocate, Solicitor’s Office Advocate and College Campus Advocates) and various Law Enforcement agencies.

Our Sexual Assault Response Teams work together for three goals:

  • immediate response to sexual assault cases
  • ensure a victim-centered approach to service delivery
  • explore ways to prevent future victimization

This is accomplished in a variety of ways such as monitoring reported sexual assaults and case review, evaluating justice/service responses from the standpoint of victim safety, and networking among SART team members to provide the most comprehensive services to survivors. This ensures that each team member knows what other team members are doing to stay abreast of cases.

These teams are important because they establish and maintain a strong working relationship between different agencies. This way, when a survivor needs assistance with any of these systems, the team member they are already working with (i.e. a counselor or advocate) will be able to provide an effective referral for that survivor.  Each team member has unique and important skills to bring to the table which helps to provide the best services possible to the survivor.