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Learn About SARTs: Section 2

What SARTs should know about sexual violence What is a sexual assault response team? History of SARTs

History of SARTs

SARTs were created to change how sexual assault victims were treated, evidence was collected, and cases were managed. The histories of SARTs throughout the country show how victims, advocates, law enforcement officers, forensic laboratory scientists, health care professionals, and prosecutors collaborated to create integrated, victim-centered systems that support victims as well as successful prosecution of offenders. SART stories demonstrate that positive social change often follows multidisciplinary collaborations that embrace tenacity, planning, training, and creativity.

This section contains information on criminal and civil justice reforms related to sexual assault and SART history by decade.

Legislative Reforms

Sweeping changes have been made to sexual assault statutes since the 1970s that shift the focus from people who have been victims to people who are offenders.

The reforms have — [120]

  • modified statutory definitions of rape.
  • discontinued the need for victims to prove resistance.
  • eliminated the need for corroboration.
  • enhanced penalties when drugs or alcohol are used to facilitate sexual assault.
  • extended confidentiality privileges to community-based advocates and counselors.
  • prohibited housing and employment discrimination or retaliation following sexual assault.
  • created national sex offender registries to promote public safety.
  • repealed marital rape exceptions.
  • Although these reforms are significant, the concrete outcomes for victims and society still have far to go. Research indicates that societal attitudes toward sexual assault have not kept pace with statutory reform. [121] Many people are confused about what constitutes consensual sex, ambivalent about criminal sanctions for sexual assault not involving physical injuries, and unclear about the boundary between sex and rape. [122]

Unfortunately, some in the criminal justice system continue to rely on outdated and erroneous notions of sexual assault victims and perpetrators. For example, they may view vulnerable or marginalized victims (e.g., victims with a history of substance abuse, intellectual disabilities, or undocumented immigration status) as less credible. [123]

As a result, sexual assault victims often face the same hurdles they did before the advent of rape law reform. [124] Jurors still expect immediate complaints by victims and expect them to show signs of a struggle, even though "resistance" has been eliminated as a statutory element of the crime. [125] In addition, trial, appellate, and state supreme courts still argue over issues that reforms in the law have tried to resolve: the meaning of consent, degrees of force, the victim's role as an active or passive participant, and a victim's right to privacy. [126]

To be successful in championing sexual assault victims' rights in both the criminal and civil arenas, the outcomes from rape law reform in the criminal justice system cannot be ignored. Those advocating for sexual assault victims must learn from the successes as well as the failures. Although statutory reforms have not produced significant changes in outcomes within the criminal justice process to date, the law can serve as a tool for victim healing and recovery. [127]

Rape reform laws, by themselves, do not persuade victims to report or to seek services. Victims need to know that when they disclose their sexual assaults and reach out for help, they will be met with timely, compassionate, and competent responses for as long they need them. To turn statutory breakthroughs into practical applications, many communities form SARTs to monitor and evaluate interagency responses, address criminal justice objectives, and make victims' medical, legal, and advocacy needs a priority.

SART History

The development of SARTs from the 1970s to today highlights improvements in the response to sexual assault victims. SART stories show how many teams throughout the country have transformed isolated and fragmented responses into holistic and collaborative partnerships. To view the histories and to add your community's SART history to the online collage, go to the NSVRC’s SART History page. [128]

In the 1970s

Although SARTs were not formally named in the 1970s, this decade saw the first SARTs form, growing awareness of gaps in victim care, and early studies and programs that laid the groundwork for future SART creation.

The study that led to the conceptual framework of victim care happened early in the decade. In 1972, Ann Burgess, a psychiatric nurse, and Lynda Holmstrom, a sociology professor, arranged to be on call day and night to interview and counsel rape victims who came to the emergency room of a Boston, Massachusetts, hospital. They noted that some of the victims' symptoms resembled those of combat veterans and coined the term "rape trauma syndrome."

Although the term was not universally accepted until years later, rape trauma syndrome (now referred to as simply a trauma response) eventually became the basis of better victim services in both the health care and criminal justice systems.

Also during this decade, the federal government created the first government-sponsored victimization survey. The National Crime Survey (now called the National Crime Victimization Survey) gathered crime data from individuals and households throughout the United States, an approach that differed from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), which included only a compilation of statistics reported to law enforcement agencies.

According to the National Victim Assistance Academy Textbook, this survey "made it devastatingly clear that the rates of child abuse, rape, and domestic violence were much higher than imagined." [129]

SART Initiatives

First and Largest SART created — Kansas City, Missouri (1973)

The Kansas City Police Department formed a long-range planning committee to study reported forcible rapes and to address the alarming rates of sexual assault in its jurisdiction. As a result of this study, the Metropolitan Coordinating Committee for Rape Treatment and Prevention was formed on a multicounty, bi-state level, with 67 members representing five counties (about 50 square miles) on both sides of the Missouri state line.

This interagency collaboration was one of the first and largest SARTs in the United States. Advocates, social workers, medical personnel, law enforcement, and researchers forged alliances, and Saint Luke's Hospital became the first private sexual assault treatment center in the country.

The designated sexual assault facility offered victims anonymity and did not require them to go through the criminal justice process. When the program began, 139 victims were treated at the hospital; by the following year, that figure had almost tripled. [130]

First Full-Service Forensic Exam Facilities Developed — Honolulu, Hawaii (1974)

Prior to 1974, victims in Honolulu were taken to a city morgue to have sexual assault forensic exams performed. That insensitive practice prompted the Kapiolani Hospital to create an ad hoc committee to study whether it could establish an in-house center for treating sexual assault victims.

The feasibility study revealed that there were not only gaps in services, but also fragmentation. Medical care provided by city and county physicians consisted primarily of checking for physical injuries. It did not include tests and treatment for sexually transmitted infections or responses to victims’ reproductive health concerns. If victims went to their private physicians after a sexual assault, they generally received better medical care, but evidence collection was either not done, was incomplete, or was collected improperly. Moreover, some hospitals automatically reported the incident to the police regardless of the victim’s intentions.

The hospital applied for and was granted a certificate of need from the State Health Planning and Development Agency, which enabled it to open the center to provide victims of sexual assault with crisis intervention, advocacy services, forensic medical exams, and criminal justice assistance. Law enforcement and the hospital signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), and the prosecuting attorney's office gave a verbal agreement to support the team model. [131]

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Programs Created — Memphis, Tennessee; Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Amarillo, Texas (1975–1979)

Prior to 1975, most nurses executed all components of the sexual assault evidence kit except the pelvic examination, which a doctor would perform. A study showed that victims generally preferred female examiners when they had just been assaulted by male perpetrators. Unfortunately, the only available hospital physicians often were males.

To meet victims' trauma-related health care needs, including their preference for female examiners, and to better serve criminal justice objectives, nurses were specially trained as sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs), who would complete the entire sexual assault evidence kit, including the pelvic exam. The first SANE program started in Memphis in 1976, followed by programs in Minneapolis (1977) and Amarillo (1979).

Since the 1970s, SANEs have not only become a core component of SARTs nationally but also have been instrumental in starting SARTs in many communities.

Victim Advocacy Begins on Campus — Fort Collins, Colorado (1974)

Colorado State University started its victim advocacy team approach through the Office of Women's Programs in 1974 .Advocate teams of trained students, faculty, and staff referred victims to appropriate resources and helped them choose the resources that would best meet their physical, emotional, and legal needs on campus. This initial step brought together community- and campus-based services to help tailor responses to each student's needs. [132]

Partnerships Formed Between Law Enforcement and Advocates — Logan, Utah (1976)

The Community Abuse Prevention Services Agency (CAPSA) began in 1976 in Utah as a group of women who met under the sponsorship of the State University Women's Center. Law enforcement worked closely with CAPSA to assist with victims' needs, providing a foundation for broader community partnerships and collaboration with health care and other community organizations in the future. [133]

In the 1980s

The 1980s saw more progress in mental health, health policy, and government as well as non-governmental services to aid SART members in supporting people who had experienced sexual assault.

In 1980, the American Psychiatric Association added post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the third edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Exposure to rape, torture, and severe war zones were defined as catastrophic events that can result in PTSD.

In December 1982, President Ronald Reagan appointed a Task Force on Victims of Crime. This task force published 68 recommendations for improving the treatment of crime victims. [134] The recommendations were directed at both the public and private sectors, including the criminal justice system. (New Directions from the Field: Victims' Rights and Services for the 21st Century, a 1998 report, reviewed the progress made in meeting the 1982 recommendations.)

In 1985, the report Healthy People: The Surgeon General’s Report on Health Promotion and Disease prevention identified violence as a public health priority. The report states that violence can be prevented and should not be ignored in the effort to improve the nation’s health. [135]

In 1987, Howard and Connie Clery established The Clery Center for Security on Campus (formerly Security on Campus, Inc.), following the tragic robbery, rape, and murder of their daughter Jeanne at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. [136] The organization provides resources for victims and service providers and works to raise national awareness about crime and victimization on college campuses.

In 1988, OVC established the Victim Assistance in Indian Country (VAIC) discretionary grant program to assist American Indian tribes in developing reservation-based victim assistance programs in remote areas of Indian Country. [137] Since its inception, VAIC has touched the lives of thousands of American Indians requiring victim assistance services in Indian Country, where the highest ethnic crime rate exists in the United States.

During the same year, case law set precedence for using expert testimony to explain the behavior and mental state of adult rape victims. State v. Ciskie (751 P.2d 1165 (Wash. 1988) ruled that expert testimony can be used to show why victims of repeated physical and sexual assaults by intimate partners would not immediately call the police or take other action.

SART Initiatives

  • Joint Medical and Legal Victim Interviews Conducted
  • SART Institute Established
  • Community-Based Exam Facility Started

First SART team in California, Joint Medical-Legal Victim Interviews Conducted — San Luis Obispo County, California (1980)

Laura Slaughter, M.D., in collaboration with a group of nurses at San Luis Obispo County General Hospital, organized the first SART-like team in California in 1980. The team of law enforcement officers, sexual assault advocates, and on-call trained physicians conducted joint interviews to minimize the number of times victims were required to repeat (and often relive) the painful facts of their cases. [138]

SART Institute Established — Santa Cruz County, California (1985)

In 1985, the Santa Cruz County District Attorney consulted with the local rape crisis center and formed a task force after he learned of San Luis Hospital's model and of a SANE program in Houston, Texas. The models were combined to form California's first formalized SART. In 1987, Cabrillo College's SART Institute was created, serving as a catalyst to memorialize SARTs and to help replicate the SART model nationally.

Community-Based Exam Facility Started — Memphis, Tennessee (1988)

In 1988, the Rape Crisis Comprehensive Program (RCCP), an early pioneer for SART models, began to expand its multidisciplinary partnerships and services through collaborative agreements with local hospitals.

The agreements mandated that when victims of sexual assault appeared at an emergency department and did not need medical intervention, they would be immediately transported to RCCP (the designated exam facility) and met by sexual assault forensic nurse examiners. This procedure reduced victims' waiting times to less than an hour and provided care in a private and comfortable location.

During the same year, RCCP and the University of Tennessee (Memphis) collaborated to integrate educational materials related to the forensic medical-legal evaluation of victims of interpersonal violence into the curriculum for physicians and nurses.

In the 1990s

During the early part of the 1990s, the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO) required health care facilities to have protocols on sexual assault as well as other violent trauma. The commission revised the initial standards in 1997 to require health care facilities to teach staff how to recognize and respond to violent trauma, including sexual assault. [139]

During this time, the JCAHO standards were underscored when the American College of Emergency Physicians created Evaluation and Management of the Sexually Assaulted or Sexually Abused Patient to promote consistency and best practices in the care of patients who had been sexually assaulted or abused.

In 1992, the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) formed as a centralized location to understand, develop, disseminate, and provide education on best practices for forensic nurses.

In the late 1990s, one of largest studies examining the association between childhood abuse and neglect and physical and mental health and well-being, the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study, was initiated. [140] The ACE study showed that adverse events experienced during childhood increase risk for a range of negative health and well-being outcomes later in life, including risk for intimate partner violence and sexual violence. [141]

The ACE study has been critical in raising public awareness about the long-lasting effects of childhood trauma and adversity. Since 2009, 32 states and the District of Columbia have collected data on exposure to ACEs through the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). [142]

Findings from the both the original ACE study and the state-level data collected through BRFSS show that about two-thirds of adults report a history of at least one ACE. In addition, there is a dose-response relationship between the number of different adversities reported during childhood and increased risk for over 40 different indicators of physical health, mental health, and general well-being, such as unemployment, lower educational outcomes, depression, smoking, diabetes, and stroke.

The 1990s also brought about significant federal legislation that directly affected the response to sexual violence:

SART Initiatives

If your SART is working on something interesting, innovative, or challenging, we’d love to highlight your work here. Email with information about your team and initiatives.

SARTs in the National Forefront — Tulsa, Oklahoma (1994)
Tulsa's SANE program received a Ford Foundation Innovations in State and Local Government Award in 1994. The award recognized Tulsa's SANE/SART as an exemplary program that collaborated with law enforcement officers, advocates, forensic laboratory specialists, and prosecuting attorneys.

The national media coverage of the award brought multidisciplinary response to sexual assault to the forefront for many communities that were previously unaware of the need for it. This, in turn, brought about training and replication efforts that led 22 states to establish or improve their own multidisciplinary forensic exam response. [143]

SART Protocols and Guidelines — Montgomery, Alabama (1996)
In 1996, the Montgomery SART, established by the Council Against Rape, developed a comprehensive, community-wide, multidisciplinary approach for responding to sexual assault. The team comprised the city police and sheriff's department, the district attorney's office, the Council Against Rape, the domestic violence program, the state forensic laboratory, the hospital, the victim's compensation board, and forensic nurses. A procedure manual outlined the responsibilities of these disciplines. The team met monthly to review cases (victims were assigned identifying case numbers to protect their privacy).

Protocols for Rural Areas — Fairbanks, Alaska (1997)
In 1997, Fairbanks developed communitywide SART guidelines with local and state law enforcement, the advocacy center, the district attorney's office, and the local hospital's administration. The guidelines were established to better meet the needs of a highly rural and very large area with only one community hospital and one military hospital.

The SART system in Alaska helps ensure that supportive infrastructures are in place to promote victim safety and healing. To help maintain this victim-centered response, advocates are called to the hospital on every case, and team interviews with nurse examiners and law enforcement are conducted when possible (sometimes, special circumstances make a team interview inappropriate). To meet the needs of military personnel, Fairbanks Hospital has contracts with the local military bases to provide forensic exams when military personnel become victims of sexual assault. [144]

Statewide Coordination of SARTs and SANEs — Augusta, Maine (1998)
In 1998, the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault hired a statewide SANE coordinator to ensure that efforts to create SARTs statewide were in line with the work already being done by SANEs. The coordinator reached out to hospitals, recruited nurses, organized the SANE training programs, and set up the first files on SANEs.

In the 21st Century

The Victim Rights Law Center, created in 2000, was one of the first law centers in the country dedicated solely to serving the legal needs of sexual assault victims. In 2002, the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) launched The World Report on Violence and Health. The CDC continued to make sexual violence a priority, focusing on prevention efforts throughout the 21st century. [145] In 2000, Maine became one of the first states to pass a statute providing victims with the option of anonymous reporting. [146]

National standards for core SART responders were developed. In 2004, the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) published a National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations Adult/Adolescent to help health care providers, law enforcement officers, advocates, and others address the health needs of victims of sexual assault and minimize any additional trauma to victims caused by the reporting process.

In 2006, OVW created a companion to the protocol, the National Training Standards for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examiners, to provide a framework for specialized education of medical forensic examiners to meet the health care, information, and forensic needs of adult and adolescent sexual assault patients presenting for medical forensic exams. A second edition of A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examination Adults/Adolescents was released by OVW in April 2013 that includes information about working on a SART.

A National Protocol for Sexual Abuse Medical Forensic Examinations: Pediatric was released by the U.S. Department of Justice OVW in April 2016. There are numerous national guidelines around collaborative work regarding medical forensic examinations and reporting to law enforcement on

Many states support or mandate SARTs through legislation, following the lead New Jersey set when they passed an act to establish a SANE program in 1997. Georgia passed a law to establish a sexual assault protocol and committee within each judicial circuit in 2010. California passed Assembly Bill No. 1475 in 2015 to authorize each county to establish an interagency SART.

Laws such as these outline the importance of SARTs and the collaborative work they do to support victims, hold those who offend accountable, and keep communities safe. In 2015, Oregon passed ORS 147.401, a law mandating the district attorney in each county to organize a SART that meets at least quarterly and independently of the county’s multidisciplinary child abuse team.

In 2003, the DNA Initiative — Advancing Criminal Justice Through DNA Technology — was announced. It provides increased funding, resources, online training, and assistance to SART members who are core responders as well as to defense lawyers and judges.

Federal legislation in 2000 bolstered SARTs' efforts to meet victims' needs for culturally relevant, victim-centered responses through the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-386, Division A). The act, which was reauthorized in 2003, 2005, 2008, and 2013, ensures just and effective punishment of traffickers and protects human trafficking victims. Visit the Polaris Project for additional information on these updates. Congress authorized the U.S. Attorney General to make grants to states, Indian tribes, units of local government, and nonprofit, nongovernmental victim services organizations to provide services to trafficking victims.

Additional federal legislation both altered and advanced SART intervention and prevention efforts, including —

  • the Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act of 2000 (Public Law 106–386, Title VI, Section 1601) mandated that any person who is required to register as a sex offender in a state must also notify the institution of higher education in that state in which the person is employed, carries on a vocation, or is a student. This complemented community-based sex offender registries.
  • the Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to End the Exploitation of Children Today (PROTECT) Act of 2003 increased penalties for individuals engaging in sex tourism with children at home and abroad.
  • Justice for All Act of 2004 (H.R. 5107) authorized $155 million in funding over five years for victim assistance programs at the federal and state level. This omnibus crime legislation enacted the Debbie Smith Backlog Grant Program, providing $755 million to test the backlog of more than 300,000 rape kits and other crime scene evidence stored in the nation's crime labs. In addition, more than $500 million was authorized for programs to improve the capacity of crime labs to conduct DNA analysis, reduce backlogs, train examiners, and support sexual assault forensic examiner programs. This was reauthorized in 2008 and 2014.
  • Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (H.R. 3402), signed by the president on January 5, 2006, included formula funding under the STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grants and required that by January 5, 2009, states, territorial governments, or units of local government that received this funding could no longer require a victim of sexual assault to participate in the criminal justice system or cooperate with law enforcement in order to be provided with a forensic medical exam. States or territories must have certified that their laws, policies, or practices ensure that no law enforcement officer, prosecuting officer, or other government official shall ask or require an adult, youth, or child victim of an alleged sex offense as defined under federal, tribal, state, territorial, or local law to submit to a polygraph examination or other truth-telling device as a condition for proceeding with the investigation of such an offense.
  • Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2013, (H.R. 1340) (VAWA) reauthorized most of the programs under VAWA, enhanced measures to combat trafficking in persons, gave Indian tribes authority to enforce domestic violence laws and related crimes against non-Indian individuals, and established a nondiscrimination provision for VAWA grant programs. The reauthorization also included new provisions to address the rape kit backlog in states. [147]
  • Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (Campus SaVE) Act of 2013 amended the Jeanne Clery Act to add requirements for institutions to address and prevent sexual assault on campus. View an explanation of the act [148] or the actual text. [149]
  • Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting (SAFER) Act was passed in 2013 as part of the VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2013. View RAINN’s overview [150] for additional information.
  • The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program of the FBI, which collects information about all crimes reported to law enforcement, updated their definition of rape to exclude the term “forcible.” The previous definition of rape, “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will,” was replaced with the following in 2013: “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” [151]
  • Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act of 2016 (H.R. 5578), signed by President Obama on Oct. 7, 2016, focuses on collecting and preserving evidence collection kits to encourage standardization and consistent treatment of sexual assault victims nationwide.

SARTs encountered a challenge regarding health privacy at the turn of the century. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) revised its privacy rule in 2000 to ensure that individuals' health information is properly protected while allowing the flow of health information to provide high-quality health care. In some communities, health care facilities interpreted the standard to mean that sexual assault victim advocates could no longer be routinely dispatched to designated forensic medical exam sites. However, the National Protocol for Medical Forensic Examinations, Adult/Adolescent discusses HIPAA and disclosure to advocacy organizations. [152]

The IAFN has a position statement, Collaboration With Victim Advocates, that supports the presence of victim advocates as an essential member of the multidisciplinary team. EVAWI offers a FAQ in support of health providers calling victim advocates within HIPAA guidelines on a state-by-state basis. [153]

SART Initiatives

  • SART Manager Position Created
  • Innovations Facilitated in Military Response
  • State's Attorney Responds to Overwhelming Sexual Assault Problem
  • Project Focuses on Safety for American Indian Women

Since 2000, SARTs across the country have helped implement successful reforms in the collaborative response to sexual assault victims. Some SARTs work to ensure federal legislation is implemented locally. These reforms include —

  • supporting victim-driven decisions to report or not report sexual assault to law enforcement,
  • providing forensic medical and legal exams without using victims' insurance, [154]
  • creating orders of protection for sexual assault cases involving ongoing relationships,
  • creating broader terms of restitution (including court-ordered payments by offenders sentenced to prison), and [155]
  • creating collaborative responses for those victims sexually assaulted by professionals.

SART Manager Position Created — Cleveland, Ohio (2004)
Cuyahoga County's SART is situated in the largest county in Ohio (approximately 1.4 million residents) and includes the city of Cleveland, which has one of the highest violent crime rates in the nation. Cuyahoga County attempted to form a SART in 1998, but was unsuccessful.

Another attempt to form a coordinated team began in 2001 with limited success. By 2004, the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center secured funding for a full-time SART manager for two years. With a SART manager at the helm, the Cuyahoga County SART grew to a team of 30 — with members from the FBI, emergency medical services, Cleveland Metroparks rangers, and college campuses.

With SART leadership in place, the Cuyahoga County SART established 5 SANE programs, trained 2,600 law enforcement professionals, and hosted 2 community forums for more than 300 people.

Innovations Facilitated in Military Response — Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada (2003)
Nellis Air Force Base is located minutes from the Las Vegas Strip on the edge of the city, an international destination and home to 27,000 military retirees. The Nellis Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program provides round-the-clock crisis response services for nearly 9,000 active-duty, reservist, and guard members who live on the base and works with more than 23,000 family members and civilian employees.

As a frequent host to international training exercises, dignitaries, and joint-service activities, the Nellis community also opens its doors to an average of 1,500 visitors and temporary duty airmen daily, swelling the potential SAPR target audience to more than 60,000 on a given day.

Nellis Air Force Base began planning and organizing for a coordinated community response to sexual assault in the latter part of 2003. By 2004, this response was in full operation. It includes collaboration with the Rape Crisis Center of Southern Nevada and has increased the competency of its personnel and the quality of its service delivery through military and civilian cross-training, intervention, and prevention education programs. [156]

State's Attorney Responds to Overwhelming Sexual Assault Problem — Chicago, Illinois (2003)
In January 2003, the Cook County state's attorney took the lead in developing a SART in this densely populated county. He charged his office, members of the Chicago Police Department, members of the county's advocacy and medical communities, and the Illinois State Police Crime Lab with the task of forming a team to map solutions to the sexual assault problem. The resulting Cook County SART provides victims with comprehensive and specialized services and also helps identify, arrest, and prosecute offenders. [157]

Project Focuses on Safety for American Indian Women — The Sexual Assault Offenders Demonstration Initiative (2005)
In 2005, the OVW created the Safety for Indian Women from Sexual Assault Demonstration Initiative to enhance the response of tribal and federal agencies in addressing the high rates of sexual assault against American Indian women.

The demonstration sites selected were Hannahville Indian Community (Wilson, Michigan), Navajo Nation (Window Rock, Arizona), Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians (Red Lake, Minnesota), and Rosebud Sioux Tribe (Rosebud, South Dakota). The sites are working together to strengthen the tribal justice systems' immediate response to sexual assault, increase advocacy and services to victims, and strengthen the coordination between tribal and federal agencies.

For more information on serving American Indians and Alaska Natives see the American Indians and Alaskan Natives section of the SART Toolkit.

Campus-Specific SARTs

Since 2000, there has been an incredible victim/survivor-driven national movement to prevent and support victims of campus sexual assault, leading to conversations, collaborations, and the emergence of campus-specific SARTs. Read more about the history and regulations around campus sexual assault in the Campus Sexual Assault section of the SART Toolkit.

On January 22, 2014, President Barack Obama established the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. This initiative resulted in the launch of the It’s On Us Campaign,, The First Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault April 2014, a sample memorandum of understanding, [158] and many public service announcements, such as this 1 is 2 Many PSA. [159]

SART History Resources

Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance (PDF, 66 pages)

This publication establishes guidelines to be followed by officers and employees of U.S. Department of Justice investigative, prosecutorial, and correctional agencies in how to treat victims of and witnesses to crime.

Handbook on Justice for Victims (PDF, 133 pages)

This United Nations published handbook helps criminal justice agencies and others who meet with victims implement victim service programs and develop victim-sensitive policies, procedures, and protocols. The handbook also applies to those to whom victims reach out in their immediate circle — family, friends, and neighbors — and to various informal, spontaneous, and indigenous support structures.

The History of the Crime Victims' Movement in the United States (PDF, 15 pages)

This OVC-sponsored report reviews victimology, victim compensation, the women's movement, the criminal justice system, victim activism, and other victim-related topics.

How to Plan and Implement a State Oral History Project (PDF, 28 pages)

This OVC-sponsored guide helps organizations capture the scope and breadth of key historical activities through oral history projects and reviews lessons learned through experience.

Looking Back—Moving Forward: A Program for Communities Responding to Sexual Assault, Training Guide (2000) (PDF, 247 pages)

This training guide was used for training at two test sites and prepared the participants to create protocol.

New Directions from the Field: Victims’ Rights and Services for the 21st Century (PDF, 448 pages)

This OVC report examines how victims' rights and services have been realized since the 1982 Final Report of the President's Task Force on Victims of Crime and presents recommendations regarding what the nation should strive to achieve for victims in the 21st century.

Office for Victims of Crime: Grants and Funding

This page explains the various types of funding available through OVC and resources and links for additional information.

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