Prior to SART's inception, Story County lacked a coordinated response to sexual assaults. Victims/survivors experienced a range of treatment by providers whose training was sometimes limited. Collaboration within Story County was identified as a way to improve the experience of victims/survivors, and Story County SART was formed in 1997. The concept of the team originated in the Iowa State University Department of Public Safety, which applied for a STOP Violence Against Woman Grant to run a pilot project in mid-1997. In the first year of SART, members met hundreds of times to discuss current and anticipated responses to sexual assault and to increase knowledge among members. Law enforcement officers attended trainings that covered sex crimes investigation, as well as how to better serve the needs of sexual assault victims/survivors. Advocates learned new skills in serving victims of different cultures. Area nurses were trained as sexual assault nurse examiners, and many other team members attended medical training to increase their own awareness of health and forensic issues involved in sexual assault cases. SART agencies developed protocols as a result of this specialized training.

By spring of 1998, the team consisted of eight agencies: Iowa State University Police, Ames Police Department, Story County Sheriff's Office, Iowa State University Student Health Center, Mary Greeley Medical Center, Planned Parenthood of Ames, Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support (ACCESS), and Story County Attorney's Office. The Iowa State University Student Counseling Service joined the team in 2001. Today approximately fifty individuals are formally associated with the team, but numerous more assist as dispatchers, volunteers, supporters, and referral sources. Team members conduct dozens of trainings each year in Story County and continue to provide a consistent, compassionate, and professional initial contact for victims of sexual assault in our community.

Iowa State Daily Articles About Story County SART's Origins and Current Work