How SART Works
The Story County Sexual Assault Response Team can be activated by contacting any SART agency. Upon activiation, a three person team responds. Responders include:
- Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE): This is an experienced Registered Nurse (RN) who has received extensive training specific to collecting and documenting evidence in sexual assault cases. Other options available include treatment for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.
- Sexual Assault Advocate: Advocates are confidential service providers who offer emotional support, victim rights information, additional community resources, and support when utilizing other systems.
Sexual assault victims have the right to have an advocate present at all proceedings relating to the assault, including meetings with law enforcement, medical professionals, or the criminal justice system.
- Law Enforcement Officer: can take a report of the assault and/or start an investigation, depending on the wishes of the victim. Options include:
- File written report only, no investigation
- File written report, gather immediate evidence, no further investigation
- File written report, gather evidence, conduct full investigation
The nurse, advocate, and law enforcement officer each explain their role on the team and what services they are able to provide. It is up to the victim to decide which resources they want to use. In a sexual assault, choice was taken away from the person who was sexually assaulted. SART wants to give that choice back to that person and will respect all decisions that person makes.
Understandably, many sexual assault victims are not ready to make a decision about pursing criminal charges immediately after a sexual assault. In Iowa a survivor has ten years to ask the County Attorney's Office to pursue a criminal case (or ten years after one's 18th birthday if the assault took place prior to the survivor turning 18). Physical evidence, however, is lost quickly after a sexual assault and typically cannot be recovered. The choice can be made to have evidence collected and preserved immediately after an assault and decide later how to proceed.