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SART are multidisciplinary response teams that provide direct intervention to sexual assault victims as they interact with the criminal justice system; they coordinate effective investigative and prosecutorial efforts in connection with a report of sexual assault. A SART is designed as a vehicle for collaboration, relationship building, training, education and accountability among and between professionals, making the most of limited public resources. Members of a SART team include (at a minimum) representatives from law enforcement, SANE, victim advocates, and prosecution.
OJA and Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s (WACASA) SART Coordinator provides technical assistance and support to SART teams in 38 Wisconsin counties.
Sexual assault is the number one underreported crime across the nation and in Wisconsin; sexual assault survivors. Law enforcement is one of many groups that may serve as a first responder to a victim of sexual assault. Victim service agencies, hospitals, emergency room staff, medical staff, family doctors, sexual assault programs, counselors, and clergy may be the first contacts for victims seeking services or support after an assault has occurred.
A primary goal of a SART is to reduce further trauma to a sexual assault victim as she/he accesses the criminal justice system, allowing the victim to see the criminal justice system as an ally that gathers relevant information fairly and without prejudging the facts. SARTs also strive to mitigate the effects of sexual assault on victims and their families, hold perpetrators accountable, enhance community safety, and prevent future victimization. It is important to the safety of a community that victims believe that reporting to and participating in the criminal justice system is a safe and viable option.
In 2009, OJA released a statewide protocol designed to respond to sexual assaults in a uniform way utilizing the four major disciplines of a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART); Advocacy, Law Enforcement, Prosecution, and SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners).
In early 2011, OJA completed an additional section of the Protocol addressing the Prison Rape Elimination Act Protocol outlining the collaborative response to Prison Rape incidents involving both inmate on inmate and staff on inmate sexual assaults.