Message from Executive Director Jay Neal
In light of recent concerns around the spread of COVID-19 and in the interest of public safety, the Governor’s office has instructed all state agencies to suspend non-essential training, beginning March 12, 2020.
RELEASED: Sexual Assault Response Team Guide
Atlanta, GA — The Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC), in partnership with the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) State Expert Committee, is pleased to announce the release of the Georgia SART Guide. This collaborative project outlines a multidisciplinary victim-centered approach for responding to victims of sexual assault throughout the state.
Created as a part of the Georgia SART Project, the goal of the Guide is to assist law enforcement officers, prosecutors, court personnel, and victim service providers with a statewide, unified, consistent response to cases of sexual assault. The Guide is meant to serve as a resource for SARTs across Georgia as they develop their own sexual assault response protocols; strengthening community-specific plans, but not replacing them. The ultimate outcome is for each judicial circuit to have a trained SART and coordinated response to sexual assault; ensuring that victims are safe, and offenders are held accountable. The SART Guide is available at the following link: https://svrga.org/sites/default/files/docs/field/resources/sartguide101018.pdf.
CJCC Sexual Assault Planning and Policy Development Specialist, Liz Flowers, says she is excited to help Georgia communities understand the benefits of a coordinated SART response, adding that, “This guide was created to assist SART members in their everyday tasks. We encourage members to use this resource to identify best practices for the unique needs of their communities.”
Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney and Superior Court Judge Elect for the Gwinnett Judicial Circuit, Tracie Cason, is a member of the SART Project’s State Expert Committee. Cason is pleased that the citizens of Georgia will now have this resource available to them, “It is the Committee’s desire that each jurisdiction will use these guidelines to create or enhance a SART in their community.” Cason goes on to say, “It was a privilege to work with so many professionals dedicated to making sure that Georgia is committed to treating all victims of sexual assault with dignity and respect throughout the criminal justice process.”
The release of the SART Guide comes in conjunction with the launch of the Sexual Violence Resource of Georgia, a website to help communities understand the benefits of the SART response, outline the principles guiding SARTs, and connect SART members with local contacts and resources. The site also features a page that is restricted to SART members. From that page, members can access protocols, resources, and information to connect with other SART members within their judicial circuit. To access the Sexual Violence Resource of Georgia, visit: https://svrga.org/. The website and SART Guide are both supported by the US Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.
The Guide and website are both important components of Georgia’s multifaceted initiative to best serve survivors of sexual assault. In addition to these and the recently established Metro Atlanta Cold Case Sexual Assault Task Force, last year, CJCC created another website (Sexual Assault Kit Victim Notification Portal) to allow survivors to communicate their notification preferences regarding potentially reopened investigations and prosecutions resulting from previously unsubmitted or untested sexual assault kits in Georgia. CJCC encourages all victim service providers to routinely share this site (notify.svrga.org).
About the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC)
Created by the Georgia General Assembly in 1981 as an Executive Branch agency, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) represents the culmination of many efforts to establish a statewide body that would build consensus and unity among the State's diverse and interdependent, criminal justice system components. For more information visit the CJCC website: https://cjcc.georgia.gov/.
About the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) State Expert Committee
The State Expert Committee is comprised of multi-disciplinary sexual assault experts from across Georgia including advocates, law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, judges and state agencies including the Department of Health and the Department of Corrections. The committee’s role is to advise and support the project’s Core Partners in providing guidance to SARTs in Georgia’s 49 judicial circuits.
Samantha Wolf – Communications and External Affairs Director | Atlanta | 404/657-1958