Sexual Assault Response Team

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What is a sexual assault response team?

The Sexual Assault Response Team (S.A.R.T.) is comprised of a sexual assault nurse examiner (S.A.N.E.), a confidential sexual violence advocate and a law enforcement agent. The S.A.R.T. uses a team approach in providing a compassionate comprehensive medical care, emotional support, information, assistance, evidence collection and investigation of incidents of sexual assault. Most importantly, the S.A.R.T. is “Victim Centered,” encouraging victims to make informed decisions regarding their care and treatment.

The members of the S.A.R.T. form a coordinated, multi-disciplinary response to crimes of sexual assault. Our goal is to provide the highest standard of care and services available in a compassionate and timely manner.

All services provided by the S.A.R.T. are free of charge.

S.A.N.E.

A Forensic Nurse Certified in Sexual Assault examinations who will perform a medical-forensic examination of the victim. The S.A.N.E. will obtain a medical history and information regarding the sexual assault. Examination and evidence collection is driven by the assault history. The S.A.N.E. offers victims preventative treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. The S.A.N.E. also offers medication to prevent pregnancy, which may result from the sexual assault. Follow up discharge instructions and information is provided and reviewed with each client.

Confidential Sexual Violence Advocate

A specially trained individual who will provide crisis intervention and emotional support throughout the  medical and investigative process. The advocate will provide the victim with a safe, neutral and confidential avenue to explore and weigh options.

Law Enforcement Officer

An officer/detective who is trained in the investigation of sexual assault. The law enforcement officer will ensure immediate safety and security of the victim. The officer/detective will obtain information regarding the assault and investigate in a non-judgmental manner.

When is the sexual assault response team activated?

The Sexual Assault Response Team may be activated 24 hours a day/7 days a week providing:

  • The victim is 13 years of age or older;
  • The assault occurred within the last 5 days; and
  • The victim chooses the S.A.R.T. services.
  • The victim may choose to activate all team members or individual disciplines.

Where are services available?

RWJUH/Somerset
Emergency Department
110 Rehill Avenue
Somerville, New Jersey  08876
908-685-2920

Children under 13 years of age

A separate program is in effect for children under the age of 13 who may receive an acute medical forensic examination by a S.A.N.E. at RWJUH/Somerset (if indicated) or may receive care and treatment of sexual assault at the following center:

Dorothy B. Hersh
Regional Child Protection Center
123 How Lane
New Brunswick, New Jersy 08901
732-448-1000 (main)
888-491-3841 (toll-free)
732-296-1521 (after hours)

How is the sexual assault response team contacted?

The Sexual Assault Response Team can be contacted by telephoning any of the following:

  • Local Police Department or 911
  • RWJUH Somerset/Emergency Department – 908-658-2920
  • Sexual Assault Support Services (S.A.S.S.) Hot Line 908-526-7444

If you have been sexually assaulted:

  • Go to a safe place.
  • Seek immediate assistance by calling 911.
  • Do not change or wash your clothes. If clothing is already removed, collect clothing in a paper bag and bring it with you to the exam site or police department.
  • Do not bathe/shower or douche.
  • Do not eat, drink, smoke, gargle or brush teeth.
  • Do not urinate or defecate if possible. If urination is urgent, collect urine in a glass container and bring it with you to the exam site.
  • Do not wash your hands or clean your nails.

Why seek medical attention?

Medical attention is recommended as soon as possible for several reasons.

  • There may be visible external injuries that need to be treated such as cuts or bruises.
  • There may also be internal injuries that can only be detected through the use of special equipment used during the medical-forensic exam.
  • Concerns regarding sexually transmitted disease, pregnancy, medical aftercare and psychological care are addressed during the examination.
  • Medical aftercare is very important to ensure injuries have healed properly and sexually transmitted infections were treated appropriately.

For more information regarding the S.A.R.T. Program or questions regarding sexual assault, please contact the following:

Merrill Mezzacappa
Assistant Prosecutor

Sharon Williams, RN, FN-CSA
S.A.N.E. Coordinator
908-575-3426

Sexual Assault Support Services Coordinator
908-526-2335 ext.130

Deborah McGowan
Victim Witness Coordinator
908-575-3405

Sex Crimes Unit
908-575-3300