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Rejuvenating Sexual Assault Response Teams

By Miranda Gonzalez

Happy Wednesday everyone! This blog will be talking about rejuvenating tired sexual assault response teams (SARTs).

Sometimes, coordinators may experience challenges in meeting attendance or meeting participation. This can cause a pause in the work of the team and may be frustrating for all team members. However, there are a few steps that teams can take to reenergize the work.

Teams can take time to reground themselves in the work, reach out to individual team members, and take time to celebrate the team’s successes. Teams can take time to revisit their mission and vision statements and determine if these need to be modified to describe the team’s work. This can be especially helpful, especially if, as part of the rejuvenation process, the team intends to invite new members to engage in team meetings. If your team finds they need to revise their mission and vision statements, they can use SVJI’s Mission and Vision Builder to get started.

When teams are struggling with attendance, it may be a good time for all member organizations to renew their memorandum of understanding (MOU). Teams can find a sample MOU in the appendix of the SART Starter Kit. This can also give coordinators an opportunity to meet with all team members individually and discuss the purpose and expectations of the SART team. During these meetings, coordinators can check in with individual team members to ensure that their collaboration needs are being met through SART work. If SART work is no longer meeting an organization’s needs, the meeting may also provide an opportunity for some team members to step back or step down from SART work. While reviewing the MOU with team members, it may also be helpful to ask leadership from the organization to attend the meeting. Leadership can learn more about the team’s expectations and how to best support the staff attending SART meetings.

By meeting with team members individually, coordinators will reengage folks in the work. Lastly, during times of frustration, it is vital that teams take a moment to acknowledge the work they are doing! Members will see all the work SARTs can accomplish by building a sense of accomplishment. If teams are struggling to celebrate, we at SVJI suggest working on projects that take less time to complete. This could include outreach events, meetings with new partners, or hosting a training for the team! By working on these projects teams will develop that sense of accomplishment!

As always if you have any questions or would like to brainstorm re-engagement methods for your team, please reach out to us at svji@mncasa.org.

This project was supported by Grant No. 15JOVW-22-GK-04024-RURA awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.