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SART Foundations: Who Should Be On My Team?

Building your SART can be a mixture of planning, luck, and unexpected twists. Sometimes, it’s a straightforward process and all of the people who want the SART are the right fit and are ready for the responsibility and challenges that come with systems improvement. That’s not usually what happens, and that’s okay. It takes time and effort to get the right team together (or any team at all). I’ve had many new and veteran teams ask the eternal question, “Who should be on the team?” There are a couple of considerations to weigh into your decisions:

  1. Are they the right fit? Not in the sense of would you want to spend your working life with this person around, but for the purpose of the team. Is this person invested in the issue of sexual violence in your community? Is this person someone willing to advocate for change in their organizations?
  2. Do they have decision making power or the support of decision makers? Being super ready to take on the issue of sexual violence is awesome! However, you need to make sure this potential member can directly (or have access and support from the person who can) shape organizational policy and procedure. Passion is great but it must be paired with the ability to make change. An intern might be really invested in the topic but do not have a long term or significant say in what the organization does.
  3. Are they a first responder or core community disclosure point? The people who must be represented on your team are those who provide first response to sexual violence cases: advocates, law enforcement, medical, and prosecution. Others who might be really important and involved in the process might be corrections, faith organizations, or culturally specific service providers. It’s necessary to keep your group to these core representatives, especially in the early stages of the team’s development.
  4. Team size depends on your community. Some teams may need 25 representatives to achieve access to the whole spectrum of sexual violence victim/survivors. Most teams need fewer than that number. Your team may only need 10-12 representatives to coordinate your responses and supports for victim/survivors.

When you are working to build your team, keep some of these basics in mind as guidelines. For those who are veterans in SART work, what advice or thoughts do you have regarding team membership? Share in the comments!