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Sexual Assault Response

SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) Summit

Outreach Services Director, Paula Schoenberg

A SART consists of Law Enforcement, Prosecution, SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners) and Advocates. Family Advocates, Inc. facilitates Southwest Wisconsin Area SART for Grant, Iowa and Lafayette Counties.

This conference was held to improve the dynamics of SART's in Wisconsin with best practice's for the whole team. We talked about bias and how bias's could effect the work we do with victims. Bringing a multidisciplinary team to one table can create for a bunch of bias's such as not believing a male can be a victim to what someone is wearing could cause an assault. It is important to work together to find out each others roles, bias's and what we can do for all victims of sexual assault and intimate partner violence.

Another important aspect is to use a trauma informed approach with victims. Trauma is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. All of us react to trauma in different ways. Two people could have the same experience but come away with different reactions. When working with victims of trauma we need to follow the 4 R's Realize, recognize, respond and resist re-traumatization. As a team we each have our role to improve victim experience and criminal justice outcomes. That is why it is important for an advocate to be with a victim through the whole process. An advocate is the only person that can accompany a victim through the whole process and is there to support, believe and encourage them. When everyone else has a role to figure out what happened.

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