SUCCESS FOR AUSTRALIA’S FIRST MULTI-AGENCY CHILD ABUSE VICTIM PROGRAM
Parkerville Children and Youth Care (Inc) are delighted to share a significant milestone in the work against child abuse. In six years at the George Jones Child Advocacy Centre in Armadale, the WA Police and the Australian Centre for Child Protection have become partners in a novel model of care in WA.
Parkerville Children and Youth Care’s CE, Basil Hanna said: “The George Jones Child Advocacy Centre is a safe place to come for children and families affected by trauma from abuse, where they can disclose their pain and enable their recovery, regardless of the time it takes”.
With a therapeutic approach to vulnerable victims of sexual child abuse and other serious child abuse crimes, the centre and model has produced positive outcomes for children and their families.
“The integration of services is not just about co-locating different professional groups in the same building, it promotes a culture of trusting and sharing professional expertise for the benefit of the client”. Mr Hanna said
The success has seen the Multi-Agency Investigation and Support Team (MIST) bring specialist detectives, child interviewers, therapeutic professionals of the government and non-government sector together to provide a child centred approach in often extremely difficult situations for the child and family.
The MIST approach has proven to be successful based on the research carried out by Dr James Herbert of the University of South Australia, with outcomes providing a rationale to utilise this approach as a benchmark of care for the future.
With great synergies between providers and research support, Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan commented: “In this instance we are talking about the youngest, most vulnerable victims of crime in our community, who’ve been subjected to sexual and severe physical abuse, as well as their families who are the secondary victims. So having specialist child abuse detectives, child interviewers, psychologists, case workers, child and family advocates and therapeutic support services all co-located in one building is significant in reducing the trauma victims and their families are invariably going through”.
Since MIST commenced in July 2015, more than 480 cases have been through the program. The assistant Director General of Child Protection and Family Support, Department of Communities, Jackie Tang, said that this initiative demonstrates the strong commitment of all agencies to continually work in the best interests of the children who have experienced sexual and physical abuse.
Further success from the Child Advocacy Centre model and MIST is demonstrated in the recent commissioning by Parkerville Children and Youth Care of a second Child Advocacy Centre in Midland.
For full details on the MIST evaluation please click here.