Statewide SART Advisory Committee 2013-2014 Work Commences

The Statewide SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) Advisory Committee is a statewide group coordinated by the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence and comprised of representatives from a broad range of disciplines whose work brings them into contact with rape victims.  The committee works to assess and improve Florida’s response to victims of sexual violence at the state and local level. 

For the 2013-2014 year, the Statewide SART will be focusing on three major areas for recommendations:  victim services, forensics and policy.  

Victim Services

The Victim Services Subcommittee within the FCASV Statewide SART is focused on issues being experienced by survivors of sexual violence, rape crisis advocates, and related professional fields that are directly relevant to victim services.  Our goal is to identify the top issues that we can address through factual data, statewide necessity, and practical solutions and implementation.  Our first conference call facilitated by our chair, Gretchen Casey, was very productive and successful, generating a discussion of a variety of possible endeavors.  A few of the key topics under consideration for the year include HIV prophylaxis, training, and best practices for handling non-reporting cases. 

The issue of HIV prophylaxis for survivors of sexual battery is something that comes up weekly at FCASV through a steady stream of technical assistance requests from rape crisis centers; if chosen, we would focus on best practices for this area as well as recommendations for partnership and education. Another issue under consideration is that of practical training resources and screening algorithms for certain types of injuries (such as strangulation) for medical and law enforcement settings to provide for better assessments and documentation.  With the onset of non-reporting forensic examinations, there have been questions and concerns about how these are being handled and how to best deal with the destruction of kits and survivor contact; if chosen, we would focus on best practices and recommendations.  Other areas of consideration include the lack of SANE trained personnel in hospital settings, forensic examination facilities at university campuses, and sexual battery relocation funding. 

Members of the Statewide SART Victim Services Subcommittee include:

  • Committee Chair Gretchen Casey, Director of Victim Services, Project Payback, and Witness Management, Office of the State Attorney, Gainesville
  • Terri Augspurger, Clinical Forensic Nurse Examiner
  • Christina Barone, Volunteer Activist
  • Nicole Bishop, Director, Palm Beach County Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center
  • Michelle English, Executive Director and Victim Advocate, Project Help, Inc.
  • Christina Harris, Bureau Chief, Office of the Attorney General Advocacy and Grants Management
  • Committee Secretary Concetta Hollinger, Victim Advocate Coordinator, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office
  • Christine Mouton, Director, University of Central Florida Victim Services
  • Julie Weil, Volunteer Activist 

The vast knowledge and experience within our committee will allow us to work towards addressing issues in a way that brings help, hope, and healing to our communities and survivors.  We look forward to our work together as a committee and to our work with the entire Statewide SART Advisory Committee.    

Forensics

The Forensic Subcommittee’s objective is to identify “best practice” recommendations for the State of Florida agencies regarding the collection, storage, and testing of evidence collected from survivors of sexual assault. Our 2014 goals are to update the 2007 Adult and Child Sexual Assault Protocols, expand on the forensic examination paperwork, and develop an ideal model for exam facilities including training recommendations for medical personnel conducting sexual assault examinations. Members within the FCASV Statewide SART are actively researching and evaluating additional areas in the field of forensic testing for improvement and future recommendations.

Members of the Statewide SART Forensics Subcommittee include:

  • Laura Adams, Division Chief, Miami –Dade State Attorney’s Office, Miami FL
  • Terri Augspurger, Forensic Nurse Examiner, Consultant, Instructor, St. Augustine, FL
  • Catherine Cothran, Senior Forensic Scientist, Forensic Biology Unit of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office
  • Michelle English, Executive Director Project Help, Naples, FL
  • LeAndra Higginbotham, Crime Laboratory Analyst Supervisor, Toxicology, Tallahassee, FL
  • Concetta Hollinger, Victim Advocate Coordinator, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office
  • Marcella Scott, Crisis Laboratory Analyst Supervisor – Biology Section, Jacksonville, FL
  • Sandra Vazquez, Crisis Unit Supervisor, Nancy J. Cotterman Sexual Assault Treatment Center, Ft.  Lauderdale

Policy

The Policy Subcommittee of the Statewide Sexual Assault Response Team makes recommendations to agencies to address how sexual violence is handled by service providers. It is focused on ensuring consistency statewide in all aspects of sexual assault response. This includes investigation and prosecution, as well as the care and services for every individual who experiences this trauma, whether they report to police or not. This subcommittee will work to identify areas where policies regarding sexual violence are lacking and fill the gaps.  Similar to the Victim Services Subcommittee, the area of HIV prophylaxis is of concern. This subcommittee will work with Victim Services to develop policies on its use and funding. Additionally, recommendations made by the 2012 Statewide SART will be reviewed and assessed.

Members of theStatewide SART Policy Subcommittee include:

  • Committee Chair Lorena Vollrath-Bueno, Division Chief, Office of the State Attorney, Tallahassee
  • Laura Adams, Division Chief, Office of the State Attorney, Miami-Dade
  • Terri Augspurger, Clinical Forensic Nurse Examiner
  • Christina Barone, Volunteer Activist
  • David Brand, Law Enforcement Coordinator, Florida Sheriffs Association
  • Christopher Butler, Assistant Chief, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office
  • Richard Mankewich, Sergeant, Orange County Sheriff’s Office
  • Tabitha McDonald, Government Affairs Coordinator, Florida Sheriffs Association
  • Marcella Scott, Crime Laboratory Analyst Supervisor, Florida Department of Law Enforcement
  • Yvonne Viel, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, Eglin Air Force Base

The subcommittee looks forward to the required hard work. The expertise and diversity of the group will result in comprehensive recommendations.