A Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) is a multidisciplinary team that works collaboratively to make system-wide improvements in response to sexual violence. In Maryland, SART membership must include a Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE) or medical care provider, a local rape crisis advocate, a law enforcement officer, a representative from the local States Attorney's Office, and a representative of the state coalition (MCASA). Other members may include domestic violence victim advocates, military members, Title IX staff, state crime laboratory personnel, social services staff, and other professionals who provide services to survivors of sexual violence. The SART members can work cooperatively towards many different goals, including developing protocol, providing cross-training to SART members, reviewing cases, and implementing a coordinated, victim-centered community response.
One way that SARTs address sexual assault cases in their community is by conducting case reviews, where the team comes together and evaluates the information of various cases. Case reviews are conducted for many reasons, including improving systemic response to sexual assault, ensuring collaboration among professionals who work in the field of sexual violence response, and eliminating the backlog of sexual assault evidence kits (SAEKs) in their community. In Maryland, SARTs are responsible for conducting untested kit case reviews. These reviews take place when a survivor’s sexual assault evidence kit is not submitted for to the lab for testing and they request an independent review of that decision.
MCASA’s SART Program seeks to help counties and regions in Maryland advance, develop, or establish their own SART. For more information about SARTs in Maryland, contact us at 301-328-7023 or at [email protected].