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 take 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:
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 Tribal Trial College is a project of the Southwest Center for Law and Policy (www.swclap.org) This project is supported by Grant No. 2017-SA-AX-K001, awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.