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Section 1: About the Toolkit

Welcome to the SART Toolkit

Sexual assault response teams (SARTs) are multidisciplinary, interagency teams that promote collaboration to support victims of sexual assault and hold offenders accountable. SARTs began forming in the United States more than 30 years ago and continue to form across the country as needed.

By nature, SARTs are unique to their local circumstances but share three core goals: supporting victims, holding offenders accountable, and increasing community safety. Over time, most SARTs face challenges and identify gaps in services that require working to change systems. The most successful SARTs work to improve systems toward these three common goals.

The SART Toolkit is designed to support SARTs in all aspects of their work, including practical tips for effective teamwork, ideas for expansion, tools for identifying what is most important in each community, best practices, and connections to technical assistance providers to guide development and improvement.

The SART Toolkit is a collaborative effort, written and reviewed by survivors, current or past SART members, subject matter experts and organizations that provide technical assistance and training to SARTs, and individuals and organizations that research SARTs. Examples and resources are shared throughout to help you deepen your knowledge and skill in the practice of SART work.

SART development does not follow a straightforward path. You and your team are welcome to start using the SART Toolkit in any place that makes the most sense and, using the links provided, move freely throughout the SART Toolkit. The SART Toolkit includes the most common aspects of SART development, ongoing SART work, and examples of thriving SARTs, including information on critical issues that will likely apply to your SART at some stage of its work. You will find some duplication of resources as they are appropriate for multiple topics.

As you use the SART Toolkit, keep in mind that your SART is a unique reflection of your community norms and values. Collaboratively, your SART will make decisions that fit your community and reflect the combined resources, commitments, and strengths of your victims and members.

The anti-sexual violence field is always growing, with more research and evidence-based practices yielding new information. As such, the toolkit will be updated periodically to include new studies and resources. Please submit suggested resources to resources@nsvrc.org.

A Note About Language

The SART Toolkit uses the term "SART” broadly to include multidisciplinary teams (MDTs), coordinated community response (CCR) teams, joint domestic and sexual violence response teams, domestic abuse response teams (DARTs), or teams by any other name focused on improving the immediate systems response to reports of sexual assault and community-wide response to sexual assault.

These terms, often used interchangeably, have distinct and overlapping definitions, as illustrated in Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART): A Model Protocol for Virginia.

Creation of the SART Toolkit

In 2004, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) received funding from the Office on Victims of Crime (OVC) to help service providers work together to promote quality responses to sexual assault. The funding supported the development of the original SART Toolkit, which celebrated the groundbreaking work of service providers.

To guide the original development, NSVRC —

  • established a national advisory committee. Committee members included advocates, medical, and legal specialists who contributed, reviewed, and edited the SART Toolkit's contents.
  • created and disseminated a National Needs Assessment Survey. The survey was conducted to determine the state of SARTs nationally. Responses were received from 49 states and 3 U.S. territories.
  • conducted an environmental scan of SART materials. NSVRC solicited, reviewed, and cataloged materials (e.g., research, manuals, forms) and included them in an online library.
  • launched a SART discussion group. NSVRC created an email-based discussion group to promote peer-to-peer technical assistance for sexual assault service providers while the SART Toolkit was being developed. The SART discussion group has proved to be an extraordinary forum for real-time recommendations and solutions.

In 2008, the SART Toolkit received a small update to convert the distribution of the SART Toolkit from CD to online.

In 2015, NSVRC received funding from OVC to work with stakeholders in the field to update and expand the SART Toolkit. This version includes information on new developments, current research, and best practices in the anti-sexual assault movement.

The SART Toolkit aims to inspire and help SARTs work toward providing victim-centered, trauma-informed, culturally relevant, and community-specific services through meaningful systems change. The toolkit provides foundational knowledge of topics affecting collaborative response to sexual assault.

To guide the most recent updates, NSVRC —

  • established a national advisory committee. Committee members included interdisciplinary specialists who provided critical support and contributed, reviewed, and edited the contents of the SART Toolkit.
  • created and disseminated a national needs assessment surveyto determine the state of SARTs nationally. Responses were received from 767 individuals from 49 states, 2 U.S. territories, and 4 branches of the military willing to share their biggest challenges and strongest dreams related to SART work.
  • analyzed the SART discussion group. NSVRC used this discussion group to connect with subject matter experts and SART members.
  • wrote a literature review. NSVRC staff examined 129 articles and resources to develop a literature review on SART effectiveness, uncovering best practices and outcomes supported by evidence-based research.
  • reviewed website analytics.Broad analysis was conducted in the form of website analytics, both of the existing SART Toolkit and SART-related websites hosted by NSVRC.
  • held focus groups. NSVRC held three formal individual focus groups with coalition staff, military staff, and Latin@/x advocates who shared their unique experiences around SART work.
  • conducted a robust review of the existing SART Toolkit. Eighteen reviewers from a variety of geographic locations and disciplines provided an in-depth, critical analysis of the existing SART Toolkit.
  • reviewed technical assistance. NSVRC analyzed current needs through NSVRC’s technical assistance data and that of many advisory board members to identify areas in which SARTs need support.

Who Should Use the SART Toolkit?

The SART Toolkit is a resource for individuals, agencies, and SART leaders dedicated to responding to and ending sexual violence in their communities. SARTs at all stages of development can find support, information, and resources as they develop and meet victim-centered, culturally relevant, trauma-informed, community-specific goals to support victims and hold offenders accountable.

The SART Toolkit promotes building relationships to create open communication and have difficult conversations about problems and inconsistencies in order to improve individual, agency, and systems response to victims.

Why Use the SART Toolkit?

The SART Toolkit provides SARTs with access to information, resources, and technical assistance providers as they constantly seek to improve their services.

SARTs — informed by victims, community needs assessments, service providers, resources, etc. — determine their own priorities. Through the act of setting priorities and areas of focus, SARTs yield tremendous power over the way systems may evolve to serve the needs of vicitms.

SARTs that truly enage in listening to their communities, including seeking alternative viewpoints, will see the biggest impact in the way they provide healing to victims and the way the community responds to the SART. SARTs are encouraged to use the SART Toolkit to identify opportunities to connect with vicitms and their community to make the most meaningful improvements.

SARTs can use the SART Toolkit —

  • when there’s a pressing need. SART members can search the SART Toolkit for information, support, resources, and connections to experts specifically related to their topic of interest. SARTs are encouraged to reach out to the technical assitance providers listed in each section and seek support from agencies dedicated to having the most current information on best practices.The SART Toolkit contains information that is most useful when discussed as a team and applied based on local realities.
  • if your SART is losing momentum. SART members can search the SART Toolkit for inspiration. SARTs are encouraged to be intentional about their actions and realistic about their resources. Taking actions without the appropriate planning — even with the best intentions — could result in negative consequences for victims and the safety of the community.
  • to learn more about a specific topic. Each section provides an overview of a topic with additional resources and technical assistance providers on that topic. The resources and technical assistance providers will be helpful to SARTs seeking to adapt best practices in their local communities.
  • to find agenda topics. SART members are encouraged to read sections of the SART Toolkit on topics that have not been discussed in their SART. We hope that providing information on various topics will enable SARTs to proactively plan before concerns arise.
  • to connect with experts. The SART Toolkit aims to highlight the importance of building relationships within communities, among members of a SART, among various SARTs, and with organizations whose missions focus on an aspect of SART response. To that end, the SART Toolkit lists leading technical assistance providers at the end of each section. SART members are encouraged to expand relationships within their communities and nationally to ensure SARTs are making decisions and moving forward based on the best information available.

Acknowledgments

The SART Toolkit is a representation of multicultural, multidisciplinary collaboration. The National Sexual Violence Research Center (NSVRC) leadership provided a platform for subject matter experts and end users to contribute, edit, review, and share resources for each section.

NSVRC is grateful to all the survivors, service providers, agencies, and organizations who walked with us throughout this process to share their time, experiences, challenges, expertise, successes, and hopes. We are exceedingly grateful for everyone who supported this project, especially those individuals that engaged in difficult conversations and held us accountable for sharing multiple truths from multiple perspectives. We are grateful for your honesty, and we believe the SART Toolkit will be more useful because of your willingness to share and engage with us.

We acknowledge this information is not fully representative of the experiences of every victim, service provider, or community. Learning to be culturally responsive, trauma-informed, and victim-centered is an active commitment to constantly seek to incorporate new voices, uplifting those that are often not included, and acting to improve our individual response and the systems response based on that feedback.

We feel strongly that sharing the voices and experiences of some is part of an active commitment and better prepares us — as individuals, service providers, agencies, and systems — to listen to and honor all voices, especially the most vulnerable victims. As part of our commitment to listen and deliver on those conversations, we will continue to actively seek opportunities to honor all voices and experiences in updates to the SART Toolkit.

To those who supported this project and those of you we have not yet connected with — we thank you for the work you do every day to support victims, expand existing services to all victims, hold offenders accountable, and keep communities safe.


SART Toolkit Project Team

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

  • Amanda Shaw, Multimedia Specialist
  • Angeline Binick, Research Specialist
  • Chad Sniffen, Online Resources Coordinator
  • Christina Presenti, SART Toolkit Coordinator
  • Emily Bigger, Graphic Design Specialist
  • Enid Melendez, Training Specialist
  • Eric Stiles, Lifespan Project Manager
  • Jennifer Benner, Resource Development Coordinator
  • Jennifer Grove, Prevention Director
  • Karen Litterer, Head Librarian
  • Karen Stahl, Technical Assistance Coordinator
  • Karla Vierthaler, Advocacy and Resources Director
  • Laura Palumbo, Communications Director
  • Maria Jirau-Torres, Language Access Coordinator
  • Megan Thomas, Communications Specialist
  • Mo Lewis, Prevention Specialist
  • Taylor Teichman, Online Resource Specialist

Office for Victims of Crime

  • Ivette Estrada, Victim Justice Program Specialist
  • Jo Johnson, Visiting Fellow

SART Toolkit Advisory Committee

  • Bonnie Clairmont, Victim Advocacy Specialist, Tribal Law and Policy Institute
  • Condencia Brad, Executive Director, National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault
  • Karyn Rasile, Forensic Nurse Consultant, Rasile Training & Consulting, LLC
  • Kay Buck, Chief Executive Officer, Coalition to Abolish Slavery
  • Kim Day, Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Technical Assistance Project Director, International Association of Forensic Nurses
  • Leah Lutz, Program Manager, Sexual Violence Justice Institute at Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault
  • Peter Pollard, Director Community Education and Outreach, 1in6, Inc.
  • Mary Lentschke, Assistant Chief, Houston Police Department
  • Michael Rizzo, Project Manager, International Association of Chiefs of Police
  • Rebecca Campbell, Ph.D., Michigan State University
  • Wanda Allen-Hubert, MEDCOM SHARP PM
  • Phyllis Adams, Women’s Healthcare Nurse Practitioner, James Madison University Health Center (intern)

Special Thanks to the Robust Reviewers

  • Beth Hope, SART Coordinator, Tillamook County Women's Resource Center
  • Cricket Rerko, Sr., Improvement RN, UH Elyria Medical Center
  • Debbie Curtis, President, Rutherford County SART
  • Jennifer Arsenian, Executive Director, Alabama Coalition Against Rape
  • Julie Edwards, Gwinnett Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy
  • Kathleen Kimball, New Hampshire SART Coordinator, Department of Justice
  • Katie Reid, Director of Systems Advocacy and Prevention, South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
  • Megan Williamson, Nurse Coordinator, Sanford Children’s CARE Clinic
  • Michael Rizzo, Project Manager, International Association of Chiefs of Police
  • John Wilkinson, Attorney Advisor, Aequitas
  • Shannon Knudsen RN, SANE-A, SANE-P, CFN, Mid-Iowa SANE Coordinator
  • Scott Hampton, Director, Ending the Violence
  • Susan Pintar, County Health Officer, Carson City Health and Human Services, Public Health Agency
  • Tiffani Collier, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, United States Coast Guard
  • Tim Meacham, Detective, University of Richmond Police Department

Other Supporting Organizations

The SART Toolkit team sends sincere appreciation to the following agencies, organizations, and individual practitioners for their great outpouring of support to ensure the information provided in the SART Toolkit is accurate, relevant, and useful.

Alabama

  • Julie Lindahl, PhD SHARP Program Manager Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program

Alaska

  • Lenora Hootch, Director, Yupik Women’s Coalition
  • Jackie L Mazeikas, Director, Becky’s Place Haven of Hope Corporation
  • Angie Ellis, Forensic Nursing Services, Fairbanks Memorial Hospital
  • Wendi Siebold, President & Sr. Research Associate, Strategic Prevention Solutions

California

  • Cannon Han, Senior Project Manager, Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence
  • Debbie Lee, Senior Project Manager, Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence
  • Dr. Nora J. Baladerian, Clinical Psychologist, Spectrum Institute
  • Ellen I. Hong, Community Program Director, Center for the Pacific Asian Family
  • Ignatius Bau, Health Care Policy Consultant
  • Julie Renfroe and Nathan Sato, Assistant Laboratory Directors, California Department of Justice, Bureau of Forensic Services
  • Karin Stone, Director of Client Services, Women’s Center-High Desert, Inc.
  • Kimberly A. Lonsway, Research Director, End Violence Against Women International
  • Linda McFarlane, Deputy Executive Director, Just Detention International
  • Mark Fender, Community Services Manager, Center for the Pacific Asian Family
  • Stephanie Molen, Director of Partnerships, Coalition to Abolish Slavery

Colorado

  • Alicia Aiken, J.D., Director, Confidentiality Institute
  • Cinnamon Ronneng, Program Coordinator, Red Wind Consulting, Inc.
  • Chris Lobanov-Rostovsky, Program Director, Colorado Sex Offender Management Board
  • Don Bird, Jail Administrator, Pitkin County Jail
  • Misty Fowlds, SART/SANE Coordinator, 6th Judicial District
  • Victoria Ybanez, Executive Director, Red Wind Consulting, Inc.

District of Columbia

  • Aequitas staff: Christina Supinski, Chief Operating Officer and Patricia Powers, Attorney Advisor
  • Amber Carr, Supervisory Biologist DNA Training Program Manager, DNA Support Unit, FBI Laboratory
  • Leslye E. Orloff, National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project
  • Marnie R. Shiels Attorney Advisor, Department of Justice
  • Rafaela Rodrigues, National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project
  • Sarah J. Sykes, J.D.
  • Toby Shulruff, Senior Technology Safety Specialist, National Network to End Domestic Violence
  • Vanessa Chauhan, Strategic Engagement Advisor, Polaris

Florida

  • Chief John W. Johnson, President, Miami Corrections and Rehabilitation Department
  • Jim Jolley, Criminal Justice Training Coordinator, Florida Council Against Sexual Violence
  • Sergeant Rich Mankewich, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Criminal Investigations Division

Georgia

  • Denise Atkinson, Forensic Nurse Coordinator, Hodac, Inc.

Guam

  • Cynthia Cabot, Executive Director, Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault & Family Violence

Idaho

  • Brandy Selover, Independent Contractor & Consultant, Strategic Prevention Solutions

Illinois

  • Jill Dunlap, Director, Equity, Inclusion and Violence Prevention, NASPA

Indiana

  • Kimber Nicoletti, Director, Multicultural Efforts to end Sexual Assault (MESA), Purdue University

Iowa

  • Kris Bein, Assistant Director, Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault
  • Valerie Davis, SADI TA Specialist, Resource Sharing Project
  • Katryn Duarte, Assistant Director, Iowa Sexual Abuse Hotline
  • Elizabeth Balcarcel, Latino Services Specialist, Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Kansas

  • Jess Harman, Director of Advocacy Services, The Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center

Maryland

  • Jenifer Markowitz, Editor, Forensic Healthcare Online
  • Kathleen Maguire, Director of Certification, International Association of Forensic Nurses
  • Megan Rosenfeld, Project Director, Maryland Network Against Domestic
  • Theresa Friend CNM, MSN, National Forensic Nurse Consultant, Indian Health Services

Massachusetts

  • Carol L. Schrader, Esq. Staff Attorney Victim Rights Law Center
  • Gina Scaramella, Executive Director, Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
  • James Hopper, Teaching Associate, Harvard Medical School
  • Holly Ramsey-Klawsnik, Researcher & Clinician, Klawsnik and Klawsnik Associates
  • Stacy Garrity, Consultant

Michigan

  • Andrea Munford, Sergeant, Investigative Division Michigan State University Police Department
  • Carrie Moylan, Assistant Professor, Michigan State University School of Social Work
  • Debi Cain, Executive Director, Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board, Department of Health and Human Services
  • Gail L. Krieger, Staff Attorney, MI Domestic and Sexual Violence, Prevention and Treatment Board
  • Herb Tanner, HR Tanner Consulting LLC
  • Megan Greeson, Assistant Professor, Community Psychology DePaul University
  • Shelia Hankins, Project Director, Department of Human Services Michigan

Minnesota

  • Elizabeth Murphy, Mitchell Hamline School of Law
  • Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Sexual Violence Justice Institute staff:Jessica Jerney, Leah Lutz, Shereen Reda, Noelle Volin, Jude Foster, Johanna Ganz, & Shane Wethers
  • Steven Sawyer, MSSW, LICSW, Sawyer Solutions, LLC
  • Laura Williams, Independent Consultant

Mississippi

  • Jannie Ferris, SANE-SART Coordinator, Victims Services Division, Department of Family and Community Services, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
  • Marsha Kisner, Chancery Court Administrator, Mississippi Chancery Court District
  • Strong Oak, President, Visioning B.E.A.R. Circle Intertribal Coalition

Missouri

  • Russell W. Strand, Co-founder & Lori Jones, Co-founder, Strand & Heitman Innovation Forensic Techniques (SHIFT) LLC
  • Victoria Pickering, Coordinator of Education and Outreach, Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault

Nebraska

  • Marla Sohl, Prison Advocacy Coordinator, Nebraska Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence

Nevada

  • Corinne M Martin, Education Coordinator, University of Nevada School of Medicine

New Hampshire

  • Grace Mattern, author, non-profit advisor
  • Jeffrey Maher, Title XI Coordinator, Keene College
  • Kathryn Kiefer, Campus Consortium Coordinator, New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office
  • Linda Douglas, Trauma-Informed Specialist, NHCADSV
  • Zachary Ahmad-Kahloon, Male Victim Program Coordinator and Educator, SHARPP (Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program)

New York

  • Holly G. Franz, SAFE Program Coordinator, Crisis Services
  • Ilse Knecht, Director Policy and Advocacy, Joyful Heart Foundation
  • Kelly Bunt, Clinical Supervisor, Family Services
  • Karen Ziegler, Director, Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center
  • Rebecca Thomforde Hauser, Associate Director, Domestic Violence Programs Center for Court Innovation
  • Stephanie M. Townsend, PhD, Townsend Consulting & Evaluation
  • Ted Wang, Director of US Program, Unbound Philanthropy

Oregon

  • Beth Hope, SART Advocate, Tillamook County Women’s Resource Center’s
  • Carol Schrader, Staff Attorney, Victim Rights Law Center
  • Christopher Wilson, Psy.D., University of Oregon
  • Jessie Mindlin, National Director of Training and Technical Assistance, Victim Rights Law Center
  • Megan Foster, Prevention Program Coordinator, Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force

Pennsylvania

  • Ali Mailen Perrotto, Contract Liaison, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape
  • Barbara Sheaffer, Medical Advocacy Coordinator, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape
  • Jennifer L. Feicht, PREA Auditor, Jennifer L. Feicht Consulting, LLC
  • Kristen Houser, Chief Public Affairs Officer National Sexual Violence Resource Center & Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape
  • Paz Angelica Costello, Counselor Advocate, Crisis Shelter of Lawrence County
  • Suzanne V. Estrella, Legal Director, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape
  • Cristina Perez, Director Latino Programs, Women Organized Against Rape

Puerto Rico

  • Edgardo Ortiz-Sanchez, Associate Instructor, Department of Applied Health Sciences

Texas

  • Deana Franks, Deputy Director of Programs, The Rape Crisis Center
  • Julie Germann, Founder, Finding the Right, LLC
  • Irma Rios, Director, Forensic Analysis Division, Houston Forensic Science Center
  • Kayce Ward, Program Coordinator Forensic Nursing Services, Methodist Specialty & Transplant Hospital

Utah

  • Justin Boardman, Special Victim’s Unit Detective, West Valley City Police Department
  • Susan Chasson, Statewide SANE Coordinator, Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault
  • Turner C. Bitton, Executive Director, Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Virginia

  • Bonnie Price, Director, Bon Secours Richmond Health System
  • Debbie Evans, Division Chief, Sexual Assault Center and Domestic Violence Program
  • Monica DiGiandomenico, PREA Coordinator, Department of Juvenile Justice
  • Salma Elkadi Abugideiri, Co-Director, Peaceful Families Project

Virgin Islands

  • Khnuma Simmonds-Esannason, Executive Director, Virgin Islands Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Council (DVSAC)

Washington

  • Carolyn Scott Brown, Learning and Resources Director, Faith Trust Institute
  • Kat Monusky, Prevention Program Coordinator, Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs
  • Lexi Prunella, Senior Research Associate, Strategic Prevention Solutions

West Virginia

  • Marsha Kisner, Rural Services Project Coordinator, West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services
  • Nikki Godfrey, Campus/Stalking/PREA Project Coordinator, West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services
  • Samuel Wilmoth, Title IX Education Specialist, West Virginia University

Wisconsin

  • Bonnie Brandl, Director, National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life
  • Kelly Moe Litke, Associate Director, Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault,

Wyoming

  • Katie Hughes, Rural Program Capacity Specialist, Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Video Subjects

The SART Toolkit project team extends its appreciation to the dedicated individuals and organizations that contributed their passion, experience, and expertise to the videos created for the SART Toolkit.

  • Ana Price, Lead Advocate, Deaf Unity
  • Annika Leonard, Founder, Priceless Incite, a culturally specific violence prevention organization
  • Amanda Tonkovich, LMSW, New Orleans Family Justice Center
  • Barwaqo Aden, Assistant Director, African Family Services
  • Jessica Mindlin, National Director of Training & Technical Assistance, Victim Rights Law Center
  • Jim Markey, Trainer, Investigative Lead, LLC Jim Markey, Trainer, Investigative Lead, LLC
  • Kim Day, SAFEta Project Director, International Association of Forensic Nurses
  • Kristen Houlton Sukura, Executive Director, Sexual Violence Center
  • Liliana Olvera-Arbon, Project Coordinator, California Coalition Against Sexual Assault
  • Lina Juarbe Botella, Senior Director, Women of Color Network
  • Patricia D. Powers, Attorney Advisor, AEquitas
  • Paul Schnell, Chief, Maplewood Police Department
  • Sarah Deer, Professor, University of Kansas
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Topic Sexual Assault Response Teams