Statewide Sexual Assault Response Team Announces Goals for 2014-2015 Year

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 sexual assault victims.  The committee works to assess and improve Florida’s response to victims of sexual violence at the state and local level. 

For the 2014-2015 year, the Statewide SART will be focusing on three major areas for recommendations: forensics, law enforcement and victim services.

Forensics Subcommittee
The Forensics Subcommittee’s objective is to identify “best practice” recommendations for the State of Florida agencies regarding the collection, storage, and testing of evidence gathered from survivors of sexual assault. Our 2015 goals are to work with the Office of Attorney General to finalize the updates to the 2007 Adult and Child Sexual Assault Protocols, develop an ideal model for exam facilities including training requirements for medical personnel conducting sexual assault examinations and provide protocols for the collection of evidence from suspects including Suspect Collection Kits and who should collect them. 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 FCASV Statewide SART Forensics Subcommittee include:

  • Terri Augspurger, Forensic Nurse Examiner, Consultant, Instructor
  • Dr. Wade Barnes, North Florida OB-GYN Associates
  • Catherine Cothran, Senior Forensic Scientist, Forensic Biology Unit, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office
  • Christina Harris, Bureau Chief, General Advocacy and Grants Management, Office of the Attorney General
  • LeAndra Higginbotham, Crime Laboratory Analyst Supervisor, Toxicology, Florida Department of Law Enforcement
  • Concetta Hollinger, Victim Advocate Coordinator, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office
  • Sergeant Richard Mankewich, Sex Crimes Unit, Orange County Sheriff’s Office
  • Marcella Scott, Crime Laboratory Analyst Supervisor, Biology, Florida Department of Law Enforcement

Law Enforcement Subcommittee
The law enforcement subcommittee is developing an eight-hour in-person training on trauma informed sexual assault investigations for law enforcement officers.  Trauma informed investigations have gained traction across the country as law enforcement agencies are realizing the benefits of working with survivors of sexual violence in a different way. Based on research by Dr. Rebecca Campbell and Dr. David Lisak, the training will explain how trauma affects the brain, influencing victims’ reactions and memory during and after the assault. Building on this information, attendees will learn how to use the Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview (FETI) to uncover what victims are able to remember about the assault and how detectives can use this physiological evidence to effectively investigate a case.  

Trauma informed investigations using the FETI technique are a new development for most law enforcement agencies in the country, Florida included. The Law Enforcement Training Subcommittee engaged three law enforcement agencies, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, and Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office as pilot sites to learn and implement FETI and trauma informed investigative principles. Sgt. Richard Mankewich of Orange County Sheriff’s Office will be the lead trainer, teaching the material informed by his experience supervising a team of detectives using the techniques.  The two trainings will be led by take place in Central and South Florida in early May.

Members of the Statewide SART Law Enforcement Subcommittee include: 

  • Sergeant Richard Mankewich, Sex Crimes Unit, Orange County Sheriff’s Office
  • David Brand, Law Enforcement Coordinator, Florida Sheriff’s Association
  • Sergeant William Crews, Special Victims Squad Alachua County Sheriff’s Office
  • Grace Frances, Director of Certification and Special Projects, Florida Council Against Sexual Violence
  • Captain Eric Garcia, Miami-Dade Police Department
  • Concetta Hollinger, Victim Advocate Coordinator, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office
  • Tabitha McDonald, Government Affairs Coordinator, Florida Sheriff’s Association
  • Marcella Scott, Crime Laboratory Analyst Supervisor - Biology Section, Florida Department of Law Enforcement

Victim Services Subcommittee
The Victim Services Subcommittee will be focusing on expanding resources, sample documents and suggested activities for individual SARTs.  These recommendations will be integrated into the updated Florida SART Toolkit.  Members will draw upon their experiences in their own communities as well as input from state and national resources to develop more hands-on approaches to SART development and retention.  The Victim Services Subcommittee will also serve as a sounding board for some of the legislative initiatives that FCASV will be taking on in the spring. 

Members of the Statewide SART Victim Services Subcommittee include:

  • Nicole Bishop, Executive Director, Palm Beach County Victim Services
  • Lorraine Elder, Program Administrator, Sexual Violence Prevention Program, Florida Department of Health
  • Michelle English, Executive Director, Project HELP
  • Concetta Hollinger, Victim Advocate Coordinator, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office
  • Melissa Ashton, Director, Florida State University Victim Advocacy Program
  • Theresa Prichard, Director of Advocacy and Staff Attorney, Florida Council Against Sexual Violence
  • Micheala Denny, Director of Program Development, Florida Council Against Sexual Violence

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