National Indian Country Clearinghouse on Sexual Assault


American Indian/Alaska Native victims of sexual violence may come into contact with people from multiple disciplines and jurisdictions during the course of their journeys towards healing.


Victims in Indian Country may undergo a forensic medical examination with a SANE nurse, discuss the facts of her case with multiple law enforcement agencies, receive services from victim advocacy and victim witness providers, and assist tribal, federal, and/or state prosecutors in seeking criminal justice against her perpetrator(s).  If done on a piecemeal basis, this process imposes an overwhelming burden on the victim.  


Many tribal communities have developed a multi-disciplinary, inter-jurisdictional team response in responding to the varied needs of American Indian/Alaskan Native victims of sexual violence.  Commonly referred to as a "Sexual Assault Response Team" (SART), the effective SART brings justice and service providers together to provide a streamlined, coordinated response to sexual violence.  

The SART model has become the standard for responding comprehensively to victims of sexual assault.  Ideally, SARTs are tailored to the legal, cultural, healthcare, and service needs of the jurisdictions that they serve.  SARTS can be informal, cooperative partnerships or they can be formalized, coordinated, multidisciplinary responses that meet on a regular basis. that takes into account the victim’s feelings, make victims' physical and emotional needs a priority, hold offenders accountable, and promote public safety.



The most commonly included  members of a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) are:


Victim Advocates

۞ Law Enforcement
۞ Prosecutors
۞ Victim Witness Personnel Working For Law Enforcement or Prosecutors

Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners


Because SARTs are tailored to fit the individual communities that they serve, tribes can incorporate others into their team including: SAFESTARs, 911 emergency dispatchers, emergency medical services, corrections, sex offender management professionals, hospitals, elders, and others.

Participation in a SART requires strict confidentiality from all of the team members.



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National Indian Country Clearinghouse on Sexual Assault, a project by the Southwest Center for Law and Policy © 2019

This project was supported by  Grant No. 2011-TA-AX-K045 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women. Points of view in this document are those of the author and do not necessary represent the official position of the U.S. Department of Justice. All rights reserved. | Privacy policy   Login