Begun in 1997, Georgia Southern University’s Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) ensures that the university uniformly and effectively responds to sexual assault cases on campus.
The first year, SART focused on coordinating services and policies, and the team helped the university clarify the definition of and penalties for sexual assault in the Student Conduct Code.
The mission of the team has grown to include preventative programs and risk reduction, including programs for all First Year Experience courses and specially tailored programs for the Greek organizations, athletic teams, residence halls, Statesboro law enforcement officers and attorneys, and other groups.
In 2000, SART launched two new peer education programs: ASAP (Advocates for Sexual Assault Prevention) and SAFE (Sexual Assault: Facts and Education). In 2002 ASAP and SAFE combined to become SAPA (Sexual Assault Prevention Advocates). SAPA was recognized as an official student organization in 2004. In 2010 SAPA changed their name to Sexual Assault Student Educators (SASE).
In addition to expanding its outreach teams, SART has worked diligently to diversify its impact on both the Georgia Southern University campus as well as the local community. When the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit met to develop its tri-county Sexual Assault Response Protocol (as required by Georgia State legislation), it used SART’s campus protocol as its model.
Further, given the lack of rape/sexual assault crisis services in the many counties surrounding the university, SART collaborated with local residents to establish the Statesboro Regional Sexual Assault Center (SR-SAC).
Since the founding of SART its chair has remained an active board member of SR-SAC, which now has its own administrative office, an executive director, a sustainable budget, and a community board of directors. In addition, in 2007, SR-SAC was designated as the official sexual violence response agency by the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit.
SART has recently moved further into the political arena as it has joined the Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault in efforts to lobby state legislators for reforms to current sexual violence legislation.
We hope that by updating Georgia’s definitions of sexual violence to more accurately reflect other states, issues of sexual violence will be more easily identified, studied, investigated, and prosecuted.
In 2008, SART was the recipient of the NASPA Gold Excellence Award in the category of Student Health and Wellness. It is rare that universities are able to maintain SART’s level of commitment, communication and focus on sexual assault issues.
Last updated: 12/23/2016