If you’ve ever shared space with me, you’ve probably noticed I use SARTs (Sexual Assault Response Teams) and CCRTs (Coordinated Community Response Teams) interchangeably. So what is each kind of team, how are they similar and different, and at what point does one become the other?
Historically, SARTs are systems-based teams, focusing on medical and legal processes to support survivors when they choose to interact with the criminal justice system. They are normally multi-disciplinary teams of professionals who coordinate sexual assault responses to meet the needs of victims/survivors by creating inclusive, comprehensive protocols and more effectively holding those who cause harm/offenders accountable by coordinating effective investigation and prosecution efforts.* These teams are typically:
- Medical professionals/SANEs/Forensic nurses
- Law enforcement
CCRTs are an emerging best practice and move beyond a systems-based model into more comprehensive collaboration to meet all the needs of all survivors. More than two thirds of survivors do not report** and survivors are whole people outside of the legal system with complex needs. At the core, CCRTs operate under the assumption that sexual violence is a community issue and requires the engagement of entire communities to address it.* As such, these teams may include systems-based professionals, community providers, and other community members such as:
- Core members of a SART
- Culturally-specific agencies
- Faith-based leaders
- LGBTQI organizations/stakeholders
- Disability providers
- PREA representatives
- Grassroot organizations
- Male-focused organizations
- Adult advocacy centers
- Title IX coordinators
- Community healthcare agencies
- Community Mmembers
- Peer recovery specialists
In order to most comprehensively serve survivors through a CCRT, teams should:
- Review census data to ensure team members reflect the community
- Assess where survivors are disclosing, finding support, and finding harm/re-traumatization
- Map out community resources, both formal (such as housing/shelters, mental health, healthcare, LGBTQ centers, and culturally-specific programs) and informal (such as faith communities, libraries, and community gardens)
Because CCRTs likely have many more stakeholders than SARTs, teams may consider forming workgroups, committees, or action initiatives. Additionally, since there may be a mixture of professional members and community members, meeting times and locations should be considered to ensure equitable access.
So, what qualifies as a CCRT? Maybe your community has a domestic violence collaborative that is called a CCRT, or maybe you’ve been expanding your SART and wondering if you should call yourself a CCRT. Ultimately, language helps us to understand concepts, so we utilize CCRT at the macro level primarily to encourage comprehensive teams that are reflective of your full community. However, at the local level, you may call your team pretty much whatever you want. Typically, your team becomes a CCRT when you secure more comprehensive community membership that fully reflects your community and the needs of all survivors in your community, reporting or not. If you expand your team, you can still call your team a SART, or you can change the name to CCRT.
If you’d like to learn more, need assistance with expanding your SART, or anything else, I’m always here to help! Just send an email to me, Nicole Kass-Colvin, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Building Community-Centered Teams, Shandra Ingram