In July 2015, Parkerville proudly announced the launch of the Multi-agency Investigation and Support Team located at the George Jones Child Advocacy Centre. This project is a Western Australian first and sees government and non-government agencies coming together to trial a community based, collaborative working model to support children, young people and their families who have experienced child sexual abuse.
The Multi-agency Investigation and Support Team (MIST) will respond to all child sexual abuse cases reported within the South East metropolitan corridor. This will equate to approximately one quarter of all cases and shows a strong commitment from all areas of the sector to try something different to better support families. The team comprises an investigation team, child protection workers, specialist child interviewers, medical services, psychological therapeutic services and two Child and Family Advocates.
The aim of the team is to improve the lives of children affected by abuse through the co-located, integrated and localised delivery of services to respond to all the needs of the child from the point of referral to police and child protection services.
By bringing together the different agencies that respond to child abuse, the pilot will enable a more child focused, coordinated service that minimizes the adverse consequences of child abuse and trauma. Advocacy and therapeutic services are provided to children and families from their first contact with the centre, these services are provided alongside the forensic process of medical examination and interview, and last as long as they need through the investigation, court process and beyond.
The work of the MIST will be evaluated by the Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia. Dr James Herbert has commenced work with all agencies to define the outcomes anticipated for children through multiple measurement strategies.
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