Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART) are available to help survivors.
A SART consisting of nurse examiners, law enforcement officers, prosecutors and rape crisis advocates are available in Washoe, Placer and Nevada Counties. The SART teams were created to provide immediate and on-going support for the victim of a sexual assault and to improve prosecution rates. Although team members have different functions within SART, the members work together to ensure the needs of the survivor are met.
What Happens When a Sexual Assault Victim Calls for Help?
Typically the sexual assault victim calls 911, Tahoe SAFE Alliance Helpline, or may go directly to the hospital to report the sexual assault. A law enforcement officer then takes the initial statement and calls in an investigator who determines if there is a need for an evidentiary exam. If the officer believes that a sexual assault has occurred, and the victim consents to the exam, the victim is then notified of her/his right to a rape crisis advocate and another support person of her/his choosing. At this point, the law enforcement officer calls Tahoe SAFE Alliance to let the agency know that a victim is in need of an advocate at the hospital. A trained rape crisis advocate from Tahoe SAFE Alliance meets the victim at the hospital to provide advocacy and support. The nurse and officer interview the victim in order to gather evidence and information necessary for the exam as well as to locate and arrest the suspect. The nurse then conducts the evidentiary exam with the advocate present. The advocate provides counseling and support and ensures that the victim has a safe place to stay that night as well as clean clothes and transportation. The advocate then contacts the victim in the next few days to continue advocacy and schedule additional counseling if requested. The advocate continues to provide support for the victim throughout the criminal justice process.
What Hospitals Perform the Evidentiary Exam?
Currently, the only nearby location offering SART exams for both CA and NV (Tahoe/Truckee area) is in the Washoe County Child Advocacy Center (CARES/SART) in Reno. It’s located at 2097 Longley Lane in Reno NV. The closest location(s) in California is Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital or Sutter Roseville Medical Center. Each medical-forensic evidentiary examination is conducted in a safe, private room. Examiners are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond to requests from law enforcement to conduct medical-forensic exams. The Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) will obtain a medical and event history, complete a head-to-toe assessment looking for any signs of injury or trauma, and collect forensic evidence throughout the examination. You may be offered treatment to prevent sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy. When a child is the patient, an age-appropriate, non-threatening and sensitive exam is conducted by a SAFE with advanced pediatric training.