Domestic violence advocates know the important role that law enforcement plays in responding to victims in these often dangerous situations. As first responders to calls of domestic violence and sexual abuse, much of the system’s ability to keep victims safe and hold offenders accountable relies upon the initial response and investigations done by law enforcement officers. Due to this role, our advocates work closely with law enforcement agencies in the seven county region of the Domestic Abuse Resource Center (DARC). In 2003, our Fayette County advocate and now Director of the DARC, Kathleen Davis worked with the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office to start the first DA/SART (Domestic Abuse and Sexual Abuse Response) team of its kind in our area. One of our partners, Riverview Center provides sexual assault services in the northeast region of Iowa.
After the initial team was developed, the teams expanded to include all of the law enforcement agencies that include the area police departments and policies were developed to fit the needs of the agencies involved. The team concept includes a designated law enforcement official, the victim advocate and the county attorney to ensure consistent responses to survivors affected by domestic violence or sexual assault. The mission of DA/SART is to work together toward the common goal of reducing the incidence and impacts of domestic violence and sexual assault and increase access to services. After law enforcement have responded to a domestic violence or sexual assault incident, the law enforcement official refers the victim to the appropriate advocate program. The advocate then provides follow up services to the victim including support, crisis counseling, and information about the victim’s rights and available options.
All of the services provided by the Domestic Abuse Resource Center are at no cost, client driven and optional to the survivor. If you know someone who is affected by domestic violence, please encourage them to call our 24/7 Resource Line at (800) 383-2988.