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SARTs and Creating Conditions for Disclosure: Equitable Access to Services

As we continue to talk about creating conditions of disclosure, it is essential to talk about how and where victims/survivors have access to services. Access to services in the aftermath of sexual violence is the most pressing issue facing many victims/survivors, responders, and communities. This issue includes not just access, but equitable access to services. “What do you mean when you say that?” you might wonder. Wonder not! Equitable access means providing customized, responsive services that ensure each person seeking services gets the services that meet their needs.

Many populations experience differing levels of access to services. In responding to sexual violence, a one-size-fits-all approach is harmful to victims/survivors and results in negative case outcomes. Providing equity means that services are designed to respond to the needs of individuals as well as groups. Examples may include language access, materials that reflect diverse populations or cultural groups, and processes that have options for victims/survivors to get the tailored assistance they need after experiencing sexual violence. This includes service providers working to change issues of bias within their systems. This is the heart of SART work in creating conditions for disclosure.

Our team and community must strengthen our service models, outreach, and approaches to better meet the needs of individuals facing additional barriers to our services. Those barriers indicate the conditions for disclosure aren’t being met. Through the work of the SART, teams and agencies can commit to offering adaptable services that are designed to be accessible so that all victims/survivors feel comfortable and safe using our services. By developing accessible services our community becomes safer for all who live here.