The Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MNCASA) and the Sexual Violence Justice Institute (SJVI) united to tackle the change initiative around the way Sexual Assault Response Teams (SARTs) work together to provide the most effective services to victims of sexual assault.
Sexual Assault Response Teams (SARTS) are multidisciplinary, collaborative bodies comprising different teams working together to address sexual assault (e.g., victim advocates, medical/forensic examiners, police, prosecutors, and others) by improving their community’s response to sexual assault cases and providing better support to victims. There was a real need to evaluate the effectiveness of SART operational programs and take a change management approach to improving the programs.
SVJI@MNCASA wanted to build learning assets to assist SART coordinators in building and sustaining effective teams and help them systematically evaluate their programs, identify potential improvements, and implement changes.
SARTs experience high turnover, and team members expressed apprehension about self-evaluation and a lack of offender prosecution.
Any systems change is difficult, which is especially the case when bringing together a group of people who do not work together on a regular basis and have different goals with regard to addressing sexual assault.Each member of a SART has a specific role and has specific responsibilities; however, the overlap is that they all desire to improve their services and outcomes.
Dashe designed a blended learning solution comprised of a series of videos and custom eLearning modules aimed at creating buy-in for program self-evaluation. SARTs also received a series of interactive practice cases, in which the learner makes choices about how to perform an evaluation in a given scenario and how to respond when obstacles arise. All of these components were included in a learning portal that users across the country can access to find training materials, templates, and supporting tools to jump-start and enhance their planning and evaluation efforts.
The eLearning modules included story vignettes from members of SARTs, including police officers, victim advocates, sexual assault nurse examiners, and SART coordinators. These stories provided insight into how SARTs have been effective in the past. eLearning modules also presented case studies and prompted learners to practice the evaluation process of “Plan, Do, Reflect, Apply.”
Since SVJI@MNCASA has released the toolkit, it has been used by 1,380 SART teams across the country.
The learning program received positive feedback:
‘I definitely found the learning tools helpful. Our center covers seven very rural counties and things don’t go smoothly often. Almost every survivor I come in contact with is frustrated with some aspect of this system and I hear what they’re saying and have no idea how to change it. I am having my SART meeting later this month. I am sending all attendees the tools so that they can be on the same page!’