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What is a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)?
The Sexual Assault Response Team consists of:
1. a forensic nurse examiner,
2. a confidential sexual violence advocate (CSVA)
3. a law enforcement officer.
The SART uses a team concept in providing the compassionate and all-inclusive medical care, emotional and informative support, along with the gathering of crucial evidence of the sexual assault incident. For the most part and significantly, the SART will help to support victims in order to formulate knowledgeable resolutions concerning their care and healing.
When is the Sexual Assault Response Team activated?
The SART can be activated 24 hours a day and 7 days a week providing:
- The victim is 13 years of age or older.
- The assault occurred within the last 5 days.
- The victim chooses to utilize SART services.
Options available to you if you become the victim of sexual violence:
- A confidential sexual violence advocate from the county Sexual Violence Agency is available to victims, 12 years of age and older, 24 hours-a-day to accompany you through all medical, legal and court procedures.
- A confidential sexual violence advocate is someone who has received specialized training in the dynamics of sexual violence and is knowledgeable about assisting victims through the aftermath of a sexual assault.
- The confidential sexual violence advocate can provide emotional support and information to you and your significant others, as well as explain your options.
Sexual Violence Programs provide free and confidential services including, but not limited to:
- 24/7 hotlines
- 24/7 accompaniments
- Crisis counseling
- Victim advocacy
- Referrals and follow-up support
- Sensitivity training for professionals
- Participation in County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)
New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault Hotline:
1 (800) 601-7200
This 24-hour hotline will connect individuals affected by sexual violence with professionals that provide assistance and referrals. Calls to this toll-free hotline will be routed to the individual’s closest rape care center. You may also call the below programs directly.
Role of a Sexual Assault Advocate:
- Determine survivor safety.
- Work with the survivor to identify her/his immediate needs and offer assistance in meeting those needs.
- Be an active listener.
- Validate survivors’ feelings and offer emotional support.
- Provide information about any legal, medical or social support services.
- Work as a support system and not an investigator.
For more information on the SART program, please check out the Office of Justice Programs
Manavi's response when a sexual assault survivor reaches out:
- Safety plan with her/him – make sure she/he is in a safe place. If not, ask them to get to a safe place.
- Empathize with the survivor. Validate her/his experience and believe her/him.
- Ask if she/he has any injuries. If so, inform them about hospital resources (explained below).
- Find out if she/he has a safe place to stay. If not, provide resources about safe homes and shelters in their area.
- Provide her/him with a safe mode of contact in case they need to reach out for help.