Crowley, Brown And Sexual Assault Victims Call To Restore Funding For Response Team
Councilmembers, the District Attorney’s Office and others gathered for a rally on June 7 to restore funding for the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART).
The Bloomberg administration is cutting SART, which costs the city $1.27 million. SART workers are trained to respond to a sexual assault victim within an hour to gather evidence that is needed for investigations and to care for sexually assaulted victims.
“Since its inception, SART has been instrumental in identifying and bringing to justice rapists and sexual offenders,” said Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, who also serves as Fire and Criminal Justice chair. “SART sends the message that sexual assault will not be tolerated in this city—to eliminate this program, at the height of its success, gives perpetrators and potential perpetrators the wrong message.”
SART was expanded citywide in 2006 because of its success in The Bronx and Brooklyn. The program helps to quickly identify sexual assailants and helps ensure that rapists are caught.
“These are specially trained medical experts who respond to our city’s hospitals to perform the forensic examinations required in sexual assault cases and who care for our sexual assault victims with compassion and understanding,” District Attorney Richard A. Brown said, who insisted that funding for SART be continued at current levels because without SART evidence collection and prosecution rates will fall. “Without their expertise in the emergency room, DNA evidence collection will decrease and without their expertise in the courtroom the prosecution of rape cases will suffer.”
Other attendees at the press conference included: Councilmember Daniel Halloran, Susan Xenarios, Director of the Crimes Victims Treatment Center at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, Queens Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Marjory Fisher, Special Victims Bureau Chief, Queens ADA Eric Rosenbaum, DNA Prosecutions Unit Chief, Queens ADA Leigh Bishop, Special Victims Bureau Senior Trial Attorney, Queens ADA Jared Rosenblatt, Qian W., Bronx sexual assault victim, Jim R., father of a Queens sexual assault survivor from the case of People v. James Gillespie.