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Why Should Our SART Do Case File Review?

Guest Blog By Jolene Engelking (SVJI Staff Member)

While many Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART) want to do case file review, sometimes the purpose gets lost.  One of the common questions SVJI gets from the teams we work with is “What will we actually get from doing this?”

There isn’t a set answer for that. Case File Review is an opportunity for teams to strengthen relationships, increase knowledge of the system response, and create lasting change in how victims/survivors experience the system. There are many different ways to use case files to enhance the response in your community. Yet, any type of review is not meant to point fingers at a specific responder or system. By looking at multiple cases and identifying themes (including gaps, redundancies, and strengths) in the response, actions can be taken that both benefit victims/survivors of sexual assault as well as streamline and enhance the way systems respond.

There are many reasons for you to engage in Case File Review with your team, including:

  • Identifying new or promising practices to be used in the response
  • Recommend changes to policy, protocol, or practice
  • Strengthen or create feedback loops in the response
  • Consider when and how advocacy is used in the response
  • Identify areas of future evaluation and how to engage the voices of victims/survivors

Case File Review is also one way for a sexual assault response team to show willingness to be held accountable to each other and the community. Teams who engage in Case File Review can show that by being bold and vulnerable that they want to do want is best for public safety and for victims/survivors.

So, the answer to “Why should our SART do Case File Review?” and “What will we actually get out of it?” really depends on what your team wants from it as well as how you go through the process. SVJI has a lot of tools and experience working with teams who engage in case file review. We are always willing to talk with you about how you might be able to use case files within the unique needs of your community.