ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Regional Victim Crisis Center (RVCC) is leading a newly developed team whose goal is to heal adult victims of sexual assault. The Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) formed in Abilene after a state mandate ordered last year.

Director of the RVCC Janey Wawerna says the team is comprised of local law enforcement agencies, the District Attorney’s office, and other professional crisis organizations.

The main goal of the SART is to assist victims with navigating the justice system or healing services like counseling to deal with their trauma, says Wawerna.

The director says other cities had similar programs like this in place before the state order, with Taylor County Commissioners approving the formation of a local SART in January.

“Sexual assault and rape, it’s a crime that only continues to grow,” says Wawerna. “The atmosphere for victims to come forward and report just isn’t there. We want to help create that with the SART.”

The victims whom the SART will help will be determined by criteria set by the team’s members. Once assessed, the team will help facilitate the next moves benefiting the survivor’s well being.

Wawerna says the protocols and procedures of the group are still being worked out.

“We have to have a solid foundation before we assess cases,” says Wawerna.