Restart for Hennepin County Sexual Assault Multidisciplinary Action Response Team


The Hennepin County Sexual Assault Multidisciplinary Action Response Team (SMART) hosted and coordinated by the Sexual Violence Center, is Hennepin County’s tool to find systemic solutions to the problem of sexual violence. Since 2009 experts from all disciplines responding to sexual violence have sent representative to the SMART where, together, the team researches the needs of the diverse communities in Hennepin County to provide solutions that generate long-term changes in how folks interact with and receive services from the different organizations and agencies.
"At the SMART we develop guidelines and trainings to improve how institutions like the police, doctors and nurses, lawyers, attorneys, and advocates deal with victims and survivors who come to them to ask for help finding justice and healing after they have suffered from sexual violence," say representatives.
"Often times victims and survivors distrust the systems for multiple and very valid reasons. Communities don’t often have the best relationship with the agencies that are supposed to serve them. Understanding this and the causes helps us develop real solutions that have a positive impact on how the people in our communities are treated by the folks who are supposed to serve them."
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the services provider agencies hard and for some time the Hennepin SMART’s duties took a pause in the face a public safety emergency. Since March, the SMART has resumed its meetings, and is hard at work to make sure trainings can resume, as well. It is currently updating its Sexual Assault Response Protocol to ensure it is up to date with the new laws and court decisions of 2020. They are also designing new trainings for different community partners and preparing to engage with the community once more to make sure they keep in touch with the needs they are meant to address and provide solutions for.


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