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Measure the Change: Systems Change for SARTs

The final phase for us to talk about in this series on the 3 Phases of Systems Change for Sexual Assault Response Teams (SARTs) is where you measure the impacts and outcomes from the changes you made in Make Change. This step is just as vitally important as Assessing the Status Quo and Making Change. It brings together all of the parts and helps us make sense of our good work! Measuring the Change also helps the SART understand how the changes have impacted the response and victims/survivors who have experienced the change. Just like during ASQ, we must learn from victims/survivors when measuring how our changes are working! During this phase, it’s our job to listen, learn, reflect, and develop a method for getting good information.

Many SARTs can feel intimidated by this step in the phases; I hear folks tell me that they aren’t evaluators or researchers. The great news is that you don’t have to be either to collect information and make sense of it! If you have a favorite restaurant in your community, then, you already know how to gather information, interpret the data, and make recommendations based on that information.

When we measure the change, we use pre-determined approaches with a selection of criteria to make judgments about the effectiveness of our changes. This might look like a survey or focus group. The important part of this step is to use the same questions and methods to collect and compare information! Additionally, this evidence will give SARTs an opportunity to choose next steps, make adjustments, or find new areas to grow.

When SARTs complete the measuring of the changes they made, many think that it is the end of the process. However, as I said in the introduction blog for the month, SARTs must use a continuous improvement process. It’s a circle that just keeps going! Now that you’ve measured change, it’s time to see what you learned and make new changes. In what new areas do you need to conduct the ASQ phase? What additional changes have you found are necessary to improve the response? How will measure the impacts of those changes? By using the continuous improvement process, your SART will never find themselves without a project or opportunity to keep doing better work, together.