Sexual Assault Response and Survivor Care
Frequently Asked Questions Is there anything closer? In the Los Angeles County region, there are nine SART/SARC (Sexual Assault Response Teams/ Centers) serving a population of 10 million people: Santa Monica Rape Treatment Center, LAC-DHS in partnership with USC (Eastern Los Angeles), Long Beach Community Hospital (Long Beach), San Gabriel Valley Hospital (San Gabriel), Little Company of Mary (Torrance), Presbyterian Community Hospital (Whittier), Antelope Valley Hospital, Citrus Valley Medical Center (West Covina), and Pomona Valley Medical Center (Pomona). Although the LAC hospital is geographically closer to the University Park Campus (8 miles) than Santa Monica Rape Treatment Center (13 miles) and is served by USC physicians, the volume of patients and wait time at a large hospital can be much higher. The situation is also more complex in terms of USC students who are in the medical programs, raising confidentiality concerns for students who are practicing employees during clinical rotations.
What is involved with a “Rape Kit?” You may have heard the term “rape kit,” which is a term commonly used to refer to a sexual assault forensic exam, which is used in criminal prosecution. DNA evidence from a crime like sexual assault can be collected from the crime scene, but it can also be collected from the survivor’s body, clothes, and other personal belongings. Survivors may choose to have a sexual assault forensic exam to preserve possible DNA evidence and receive important medical care. The process gives survivors the chance to safely store evidence if/when they decide to prosecute. The length of the exam may take a few hours, but the actual time will vary based on several different factors. It may be helpful to have a support person—a friend to give you emotional support—as you go through this process.
Why doesn’t USC have its own SART/SARC unit on campus? SART/SARC programs are typically associated with emergency rooms in hospitals so that survivors can be treated for medical needs in addition to counseling, guidance on options for evidence collection (“rape kit”), and criminal prosecution. In Los Angeles County, SART/ SARC programs are required by law to operate in conjunction with a licensed general acute care hospital, a licensed basic emergency department or a hospital sponsored program clinic that has met specific requirements approved by the County of Los Angeles to receive patients who are victims of sexual assault/abuse.
Other sexual assault survivor services in Los Angeles USC also refers students to YWCA of Greater Los Angeles, Sexual Assault Crisis Services Program, and Peace Over Violence. These centers provide crisis intervention services, sexual trauma counseling, and advocacy services but do not provide SART/SARC services nor acute medical services. These organizations, especially Peace Over Violence, have provided reliable and professional services to students. However, they service the broad public community of Los Angeles and are not specialized for support issues related to college students, such as academic accommodations, emergency housing on campus, Title IX reporting, counseling services, etc. This is why the advocates in Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention and Services may serve as a better navigational resource for students.