Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART)

"It is important for law enforcement to adopt the “Victim First” attitude in their investigation.  By addressing the victim’s needs first…it brings the victim to a level where they feel comfortable enough to talk about the abuse that they have been through.  We have found this to be a great asset to our investigation."

Sgt. Kenneth Kolich, Special Victims Unit, Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.

When a survivor reports a sexual assault, the response they receive is vital to the beginning of their healing process. In an effort to provide survivor centered services, each county in New Jersey has a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). SART members include law enforcement, Forensic Nurse Examiners, and Confidential Sexual Violence Advocates (CSVAs). SART members work together to put the needs of the survivor at the forefront of any services they provide.

If a survivor who is 13 years old or older reports a sexual assault within 5 days of the assault, they should be offered the option to activate the county SART process. The survivor should be given the option to decide which SART members s/he wishes to involve.

The survivor has the right to have a CSVA present throughout the SART process, including during medical examinations and law enforcement interviews.

If a survivor decides to participate in a forensic medical examination, the survivor will be examined by a Forensic Nurse Examiner. In addition to collecting evidence, survivors will be offered treatment for any injuries, medication to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, and emergency contraception. At the end of the exam, the evidence will be stored for no less than 90 days. This allows survivors who do not wish to immediately file a police report to take 90 days to make a decision about speaking with police.

The Office of the Attorney General of New Jersey has created standards for the SART process. You can find the Attorney General Standards for Providing Services to Victims of Sexual Assault by clicking here.

Survivors who wish to activate their county SART may do so by calling their local sexual violence program 24-hour hotline (click here)