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A Framework for SART Effectiveness: Part 5

Guest Blog by Katie Johnson | STOP Projects Coordinator at SVJI @MNCASA

Today’s post is about the final internal factor in SVJI’s new Framework for SART Effectivenessdiverse membership. There are multiple ways of thinking about and prioritizing diverse membership, and we’ll be covering two of them today.

First, there’s multidisciplinary diversity. The “core SART disciplines” typically include advocacy, law enforcement, prosecution, medical, and corrections. It is especially important that all of these disciplines be represented on a systems-change SART because they collectively form the foundation of the systems-based response to sexual violence. The SARTs interviewed for the Framework project agreed that having representation of all core disciplines was a crucial part of their teams’ effectiveness.

In addition to these five disciplines, however, it is important to invite in representatives of other organizations that play important roles in the response to sexual violence in your area. These organizations might include culturally specific organizations, colleges and universities, prisons, etc., depending on your community. Including these additional organizations in the work of your SART can bring important new perspectives, voices, and skillsets to the table, along with extremely valuable insights into the needs of community members who are often overlooked and underserved.

Just as important as multidisciplinary diversity within a SART is individual diversity. Every SART should strive to have members whose identities reflect the full spectrum of community members being served by the team. If every member of the team comes to the table with a similar set of lived experiences (e.g. being white, college-educated, and living in an affluent part of the community), the team as a whole is going to have a very limited perspective on what the community is experiencing and what its needs are. Although it may be more difficult in some communities than others, making every effort to ensure as much diversity among team members as possible can greatly improve a team’s ability to remain connected to the community as a whole and to be adaptable and responsive to the evolution of community members’ needs.