Structural, Organizational, and Interpersonal Factors Influencing Interprofessional Collaboration on Sexual Assault Response Teams

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30 Scopus citations


Sexual Assault Response Teams (SARTs) are multidisciplinary teams that coordinate multiple systems (e.g., medical, law enforcement, prosecutors, and rape crisis center advocates) to provide comprehensive care to victims and to collect high-quality forensic evidence to facilitate investigation and prosecution. Relatively little guidance is provided about effective teamwork strategies in resources on forming SARTs. Using in-depth surveys with the SART coordinators and telephone surveys (including close-ended and open-ended questions) with 79 professionals involved in three active, formal SARTs in one state, this study examined structural, organizational, and interpersonal factors that influence interprofessional collaboration on SART. Study findings indicate that perceived structural factors and interpersonal factors were significantly associated with SART members’/responders’ perceptions of the quality of interprofessional collaboration on their SART. Findings suggest that individuals’ perceptions of professionalization and power disparities between professions pose challenges to perceived interprofessional collaboration on SART. Compared with criminal justice and medical professionals, victim advocacy rated the level of collaboration on their SART significantly lower. The overall picture from the data was that SART professionals perceived mutual respect, trust, and commitment to collaboration to be pervasive on their SARTs, even though recognition of professional conflicts was also prevalent, suggesting that professionals understood that interpersonal conflict was distinct from professional conflict. Initial SART trainings should address the benefits of the team response, professional roles, and communication and conflict resolution skills, and ongoing training should provide professionals the opportunity to raise positive and negative examples of their collaborative efforts to explore existing tensions and constraints on the team for conflict resolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2682-2703
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2016.


  • intervention
  • reporting/disclosure
  • sexual assault

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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