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Determining the Fit of a SART in Your Community

Sexual Assault Response Teams are a powerful strategy for service providers and communities to craft meaningful changes to how victim/survivors experience sexual violence responses. Many communities can and do benefit from a SART. Especially when that SART is working to craft long-term and systemic changes to meet the needs of all victim/survivors. However, this blog post is designed to address a hard reality that we sometimes face in the field: determining if this strategy is the right one for your community.

There can be many reasons why a community wants to take on a SART. You might have almost all of the pieces in place. You might have heard that it worked wonders a few counties over. You might have had a SART that was doing amazing work a few years back and lately, isn’t able to meet or complete work. Maybe it’s the turnover in agencies or a shift in funding sources for service providers. Folks, there are so many variables that I cannot possibly list them all. However, what these variables can sometimes mean is that the community and/or the participants of the SART need to take a step back and critically evaluate, “Is this working for us to meet our goals?”

This is my final post for the year 2017, and so, I want to give you and your fellow service providers the space to reflect on this last year (or couple of years) and ask, “Are we accomplishing what we need to with the SART as our change strategy?” If that answer comes back as, “No.” Then, it is time to think through alternative options that still work to create meaningful justice options for victim/survivors in your community.

If you think this might be you, reach out and connect with SVJI. We understand the complexities of this work and know that sometimes, a formal SART isn’t the right option, right now for your community. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make change or continue advocating for victim/survivors in your community. It just means you need to find the routes that get you there, that accomplish this unbelievably important work of responding to sexual violence in comprehensive, compassionate, and meaningful ways.You can always revisit the SART option at a later time.

If you have experience with this or have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. You can always reach out for support through SVJI. We’re here to help.