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Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Implementation and Collaborative Process: What Works Best for the Criminal Justice System?

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2013
226 pages
Two studies of a sampling of Sexual Assault Response Teams (SARTs) identified a SART model that is the most effective in improving victim services and legal outcomes for sexual assault cases and then examined the structure of inter-organizational relationships within model SARTs.
A nationally representative sample of 172 SARTs were examined in order to determine the structure and functioning of SARTs that were most effective in improving victim and legal outcomes in sexual assault cases. The findings suggest that formalization, regular collaborative processes, and broad active membership from diverse stakeholder groups are key components of successful SARTs. Formalization contributed to the greater institutionalization of multidisciplinary training and policy/protocol review. A commitment to evaluation of the operation and impact of SART operations was also an important component of effective SARTs. The second study used social network analysis in examining the structure of inter-organization relationships within model SARTs. The findings of the second study revealed a high degree of connection among organizations both within and across sectors (legal, medical, and mental health systems and rape crisis centers). Organizational representatives felt valued by other SART organizations and perceived one another as important resources in assisting victims and contributing to successful legal outcomes; however, there was a core group of organizations that drove relationships and a peripheral (less involved) group of organizations that tended to associate with the core groups, but not with one another. Frequency of communication across organizations tended to evolve as mutual benefits for case management developed. 18 figures, 18 tables, and a review of relevant literature

Date Published: August 1, 2013