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Sexual Assault Response Team Formations: Subcommittees

Last week, we looked at the traditional, full team SART, where all members met during team meeting times. This week we are going to look at another team formation: sub-committees! For many teams, the sub-committee style allows more flexibility to work in focused, smaller groups to achieve many tasks or discipline specific tasks.

In the sub-committee, you will have all of the typical disciplines represented on the team: advocacy, law enforcement, medical professionals, prosecutors, probation/corrections, and the additional team members identified as critical points of disclosure and entry in to help seeking by the service providers. In this team formation, many of the members meet in designated sub-committees that are tasked to focus on a specific issue or project. The bulk of the team’s work occurs in these smaller meetings and then, on designated meeting days, the sub-committees come to a full SART meeting and present their work. There is typically a coordinator or facilitator who attends each of the sub-committee meetings or a designated “reporter” who is responsible for ensuring good communication between team leaders and the rest of the team’s represented agencies.

A sub-committee formation is particularly effective for teams that have been working together for quite a while, teams that have multiple on-going projects towards systems change, or for those with scheduling conflicts and challenges. This style of SART can be a particularly effective strategy, but does require a high degree of trust and coordination among committees. Sub-committees also need crystal clear objectives, team mission, and expected end results of committee work. This style can also require more time and work for a coordinator or facilitators.

As always, whatever style of SART you choose as the best strategy for your community, what matters most is that you are enacting systems change in order to improve experiences and outcomes for all victims/survivors in your communities.