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December 12, 2013

ODU's Sexual Assault Resource Team a Model for Virginia Colleges


How do you know you are succeeding at creating a campus culture of safety and care? One indication of the Old Dominion Women's Center's success came this fall when the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services invited Joann Bautti, assistant director, to train colleges across the commonwealth on effective and collaborative campus SARTs. She conducted the first training in October, presented a second session this month and has a third session scheduled in March.

Under Bautti's guidance as chair, ODU has developed a model Sexual Assault Resource Team (SART), providing a student-centered and trauma-informed response to incidents of sexual and relationship violence. In addition to various representatives from Student Engagement and Enrollment Services, ODU's SART includes: ODU and Norfolk Police, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners Program, Commonwealth Attorney's Office and Response of the YWCA.

Bringing on- and off-campus partners together each month to review staff training, student education, policy/protocol and crisis intervention practices has made a tremendous difference for survivors seeking support. At ODU, whenever or wherever a student discloses an experience of interpersonal violence, thanks to the work of the SART, students receive the sensitive response and coordinated care they deserve.