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Rural Health Information Hub

Eastern Plains Sexual Assault Response Team (EPSART)

Summary 
  • Need: To provide support and resources to victims of sexual assault and to collaborate and streamline processes for victim-centered care.
  • Intervention: The EPSART holds quarterly team meetings, case review, and opportunities for team training.
  • Results: Enhanced victim and public safety by facilitating investigations and enhancing prosecutions.

Description

The Eastern Plains Sexual Assault Response Team (EPSART) was created in 2008 by the Brookings Domestic Abuse Shelter, with assistance from the South Dakota Network Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault. The team serves rural Brookings and Kingsbury counties and includes members from the following agencies:

  • Brookings County State's Attorney
  • Kingsbury County State's Attorney
  • Brookings Domestic Abuse Shelter
  • Brookings Health System Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)
  • County, regional, and state Victim Witness Specialists
  • Department of Social Services – Division of Child Protection Services
  • Law enforcement representatives from state and county departments
  • South Dakota State University Counseling Department
  • South Dakota State University Title IX Program

Services offered

  • Quarterly team meetings: collaborative communication, discussions of challenges, resources, and problem-solving
  • Team training opportunities
  • Case review: process improvement
  • Resource sharing
  • Victim-centered response
EPSART group photo

Results

A multidisciplinary, victim-centered response has been established for the communities served. The EPSART allows for collaborative communication, discussions of challenges, resources, and problem-solving. The coordinated approach of facilitating investigations and enhancing prosecutions increases the likelihood that offenders are held accountable for their actions, further sexual assaults will be prevented, victims' voices are heard, resources and support are provided, and healing can begin.

The EPSART brings suggestions, questions, and challenges to the Statewide Sexual Assault Taskforce and provided suggestions to assist the taskforce's work on the South Dakota Sexual Assault Response Team Toolkit and Protocol Guidelines, completed in April 2022.

Challenges

Program coordinators identified the following challenges:

  • Limited resources in rural areas
  • Extensive case loads

Replication

  • Gain buy-in from agency leaders and administration
  • Hold team members accountable to attend meetings
  • Create an open environment for members to share and learn
  • Create working protocols
  • Attend trainings and bring information back to the team

Contact Information

Cindy Schmit, EPSART Co-Leader
SD Division of Criminal Investigation
605.690.1476
Cindy.Schmit@state.sd.us

Topics
Abuse and violence
Criminal justice system
Networking and collaboration

States served
South Dakota

Date added
December 5, 2017

Date updated or reviewed
June 7, 2022

Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub, 2022. Eastern Plains Sexual Assault Response Team (EPSART) [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at: https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/project-examples/991 [Accessed 10 August 2022]


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