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NEWS RELEASE

12-17-01

Contacts:
Julie Harders, Department of Public Safety, (515) 294-9395
Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720


SEXUAL ASSAULT EFFORT AGAIN EARNS NATIONAL RECOGNITION

AMES, Iowa -- The Story County Sexual Assault Team (SART), which operates out of the Iowa State University Department of Public Safety, has again been nationally recognized for exemplary efforts in improving community response to sexual assault.

The Urban Institute, a non-profit, nonpartisan economic and social policy research organization in Washington, D.C., cited the team as an example of successful community collaboration in its report to the National Institute of Justice. This is the third year in a row that the team has gained national attention from evaluators of STOP (Violence Against Women Act of 1994) projects.

SART is made up of specially trained professionals who take a survivor-centered approach toward sexual assault. The team offers immediate and follow-up medical care, advocacy, counseling and criminal justice services for sexual assault survivors. The team began responding to sexual assaults in Story County in 1998. In that first year, SART received 18 calls. The number rose to 47 in 1999, 62 in 2000, and 39 to date this year.

Members of SART include ISU DPS, Ames Police Department, Story County Sheriff's Office, ISU Student Health Center, Mary Greeley Medical Center, Planned Parenthood, the Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support (ACCESS), ISU Student Counseling Services and the Story County Attorney's Office.

"Team members report that before SART, few partnerships existed among community agencies to address sexual assault, and only some needs of sexual assault victims were being met. With the SART in place, members report that excellent partnerships exist throughout the system and that they are meeting the needs of victims better," the report said.

SART is funded by a federal Violence Against Women Act grant, which is administered by the state's Office of Drug Control Policy. The ISU DPS also provides support for the program. The Urban Institute publishes studies, reports and books on topics important to society.


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