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What is the Role of the Member Agency?

This month, I want to address a hot topic of discussion: membership. This is especially important, given the upcoming holidays and new year on the horizon! In short, without members, no Sexual Assault Response Team can function. This post is dedicated to explore what the role of a member agency is on the Team.

The member agency (sometimes called the “home agency” for the person who attends the meeting), is the specific agencies that have signed onto being a part of the SART. Typically, member agencies are the local community advocacy program, different law enforcement agencies, office of the county attorney/prosecutor, colleges/universities, and others. These are the agencies who have signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

In really simplified terms, the role of the agency is to provide necessary resources for the success of the team and implement changes based on the team’s work.

  • Necessary resources include sending a person to attend meetings, providing staff time to do SART work, potentially hosting team meetings, and coordinating with other agencies to help the team succeed in making changes. Staff time, travel support, meeting space, leadership buy-in, and willingness to change are all critical resources that help teams succeed.
  • Implementing changes is just like it sounds. Agencies have the role of taking what the team learns and discusses and making changes to individual practices, agency policies, and procedures. This will require conducting training, reviewing and amending policy, and working with other agencies to ensure compliance with best practices/changes. These are just some of the ways that agencies enact their role in implementing change.

Without committed agencies who are willing to provide necessary resources and implement changes, the team can struggle to be successful. When selecting member agencies, be sure to focus on those who are primary points of disclosure of sexual violence and those who can make changes to sexual violence response. It’s important to have a core group who will make the difference for victims/survivors in your community!