Active Research

Evaluation of the Multi-Agency Investigation & Support Team

    • Response to child sexual abuse
    • Needs of victims and survivors
Research Topic areas 
  • Domestic & family violence
  • Government & policy responses
  • Intersection with other violence/victimisation
  • Justice & legal responses
  • Mental health
  • Therapeutic responses
Project Duration
Start: April 2024
End: August 2024
Geographical Scope
WA
Populations
Victims and survivorsParents & caregiversWorkforce
Young adults (18-25 years)Adults (26-65 years)
Gender
All genders

Project Lead

Dr James Herbert, Centre for Social Impact - University of South Australia
Dr David O'Shaughnessy, University of Western Australia
Project lead email: james.herbert@uwa.edu.au

Project Team

Dr Leanne Lester, University of Western Australia

Background

In 2015 a pilot of an integrated multi-agency team (MIST) commenced in Armadale, Western Australia, which aimed to improve the holistic response to child sexual abuse. This pilot involved the WA Police, Parkerville Children and Youth Care, Department of Child Protection and Family Support (now Department of Communities), and the Child Protection Unit from Princess Margaret Hospital. A 2016 evaluation found that caregivers were highly satisfied with the response, and accessed a range of specialist services as a result of the pilot. A comparison with usual practice indicated that all stages of the criminal justice process occurred significantly faster (Herbert & Bromfield, 2020, 2021). MIST has continued and has since expanded to two sites. This evaluation occurs in the context of significant change to the broader response to child sexual abuse in Western Australia, as well as changes to the MIST model.

Aims

a) Reach a clear mutual understanding of the MIST model and how it differs to Usual Practice for the Perth Metro area across all stakeholders to facilitate the evaluation of the implementation, process and outcomes of the model.
b) Inform ongoing operational improvements through regular progress reporting to teams and key stakeholders (e.g., sharing preliminary findings with MIST clinicians, team leaders, CEO of PCYC, Detective Inspector Sex Crimes, Detective Sergeant Child Abuse Squad).
c) Examine evidence of implementation effectiveness and examine the contribution of the model to improved outcomes for children and families.
d) Investigate possible impact measures to implement that would allow MIST to monitor the contribution of the program to long-term outcomes for young people and their families and comparison to usual practice in the Perth metro area.

Methods

This initial process/implementation evaluation will draw on interviews with MIST detectives and interviewers from Child Abuse Squad (WA Police) and staff from Parkerville Children and Youth Care. To obtain an understanding of practice as usual, interviews will be sought from equivalent positions outside of MIST. The evaluation will also seek interviews with an adult lived experience panel, that has had direct experience with the MIST response. Administrative data from Parkerville will be obtained to examine the range of support and therapeutic service responses provided to clients.

Significance and Dissemination

Multi-agency responses (e.g., Barnahus, Children’s Advocacy Centres) to child sexual abuse have a reasonable evidence base for improving the quality and experience of the criminal justice response and improving the accessibility of counseling and therapeutic services (Herbert & Bromfield 2017). However, the potential impacts of implementing a multi-agency response heavily depend on context, particularly the degree to which the new intervention is distinct from existing practice. This phase of the evaluation will assist the development of the program by more clearly identifying and documenting how the MIST operates, and how it is distinct from usual practice. This will contribute to the updating and development of the theory of change for the program, which will be critical for productively exploring how to evaluate the impact of MIST. The evaluation will also obtain critical information about user experiences with the program, and what could be improved, along with service data that will outline what participants received as part of the MIST response. Along with informing the approach for measuring impact, the evaluation is also expected to contribute to informing the ongoing development of the response to child sexual abuse in the state.

Further Details

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Funding body:
Stan Perron Charitable Trust
Australian Human Research Ethics Committee:
University of Western Australia Human Research Ethics Committee
Understanding child sexual abuse

Ngagagee Ngulu Murrup Durra (‘The Ngagagee project’)

Graham Gee
Murdoch Children's Research Institute
Prevention of child sexual abuse

Preventing repeat child exploitation material offending: An international evaluation of the CEM-COPE Program

James Ogloff
Swinburne University of Technology
Understanding child sexual abuse

Conceptualising and Estimating the Costs of Child Sexual Exploitation (Phase One of Australian Study into Economic Costs of Child Sexual Exploitation)

Jonah Rimer
The University of Queensland

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Understanding child sexual abuse

Ngagagee Ngulu Murrup Durra (‘The Ngagagee project’)
Preventing repeat child exploitation material offending: An international evaluation of the CEM-COPE Program
Conceptualising and Estimating the Costs of Child Sexual Exploitation (Phase One of Australian Study into Economic Costs of Child Sexual Exploitation)
An environmental scan of Child Sexual Abuse related workforce training offerings in Australia
Enhancing the capability of Australia’s Primary Health Workforce to respond to child sexual abuse
CHANGE – curtailing harm and navigating growth: evidence for change pathways of young people who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviour
Amplifying the voices of victim-survivors: Advancing the harmful sexual behaviour evidence base – the Ava project
Reshaping the Conversation: Development of a shared language and preferred definitions guide endorsed by victims and survivors of child sexual abuse
Building a knowledge frame for responding to the needs of children and young people who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviour
Children and Young People’s Safety Project
Child safe practices using contextual safeguarding strategies
The more I talk, the stronger I get: unlocking our past to free our future
Delivering trauma-informed support for child sexual abuse victims in Victoria: mapping the knowledge gaps and training needs of the specialist sectors
Online child sexual victimisation and associated mental health outcomes
Differentiating adverse childhood experience profiles of male youths who exhibit harmful sexual behaviours

Response to child sexual abuse

Ngagagee Ngulu Murrup Durra (‘The Ngagagee project’)
Preventing repeat child exploitation material offending: An international evaluation of the CEM-COPE Program
Conceptualising and Estimating the Costs of Child Sexual Exploitation (Phase One of Australian Study into Economic Costs of Child Sexual Exploitation)
Effect of multi-agency deliberation on perceptions of risk in responses to child abuse and neglect
The Australian child sexual abuse attitudes, knowledge and response study
CHANGE – curtailing harm and navigating growth: evidence for change pathways of young people who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviour
Improving legal, policy and practice responses to the intersection of domestic violence perpetration and child sexual abuse offending
Into the war zone: disclosure and disbelief in the Family Court
Understanding the experiences of child sexual abuse disclosure in Australia in the wake of the Royal Commission
Building trauma-responsive sexual health and relationship education
Learning from victims and survivors about what helps disclosure and responses to child sexual abuse
Amplifying the voices of victim-survivors: Advancing the harmful sexual behaviour evidence base – the Ava project
The dignity by design project: survivor-led system redesign
Evaluating a harmful sexual behaviour education program in a residential care setting
Community as experts: investigating the context, needs and help-seeking pathways for child sexual abuse survivors and their supporters in the NSW Bega Valley
Developing and implementing a framework for abuse prevention through culture change and organisational development
Reshaping the Conversation: Development of a shared language and preferred definitions guide endorsed by victims and survivors of child sexual abuse
Building a knowledge frame for responding to the needs of children and young people who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviour
Australian Child Maltreatment Study
Children and Young People’s Safety Project
Child safe practices using contextual safeguarding strategies
Enhancing the capacity of rural and regional respectful relationship educators
Strengthening relationships and connections for young people in therapeutic residential care
The safeguarding capability of adults in Catholic Church ministries: a global perspective
Creating safer futures: raising public awareness of child sexual abuse among young adults through digital storytelling
Survivor perspectives on institutional use of child sexual abuse material
The more I talk, the stronger I get: unlocking our past to free our future
Delivering trauma-informed support for child sexual abuse victims in Victoria: mapping the knowledge gaps and training needs of the specialist sectors
Online child sexual victimisation and associated mental health outcomes
Differentiating adverse childhood experience profiles of male youths who exhibit harmful sexual behaviours

Needs of victims and survivors

Ngagagee Ngulu Murrup Durra (‘The Ngagagee project’)
The Australian child sexual abuse attitudes, knowledge and response study
An environmental scan of Child Sexual Abuse related workforce training offerings in Australia
Enhancing the capability of Australia’s Primary Health Workforce to respond to child sexual abuse
Improving legal, policy and practice responses to the intersection of domestic violence perpetration and child sexual abuse offending
Into the war zone: disclosure and disbelief in the Family Court
Understanding the experiences of child sexual abuse disclosure in Australia in the wake of the Royal Commission
Building trauma-responsive sexual health and relationship education
Learning from victims and survivors about what helps disclosure and responses to child sexual abuse
Amplifying the voices of victim-survivors: Advancing the harmful sexual behaviour evidence base – the Ava project
The dignity by design project: survivor-led system redesign
Supporting continuous quality improvement in safeguarding at Hockey Australia and other national sporting organisations
Evaluating a harmful sexual behaviour education program in a residential care setting
Community as experts: investigating the context, needs and help-seeking pathways for child sexual abuse survivors and their supporters in the NSW Bega Valley
Enhancing the capacity of rural and regional respectful relationship educators
Creating safer futures: raising public awareness of child sexual abuse among young adults through digital storytelling
Survivor perspectives on institutional use of child sexual abuse material
The more I talk, the stronger I get: unlocking our past to free our future

Prevention of child sexual abuse

Ngagagee Ngulu Murrup Durra (‘The Ngagagee project’)
Preventing repeat child exploitation material offending: An international evaluation of the CEM-COPE Program
Conceptualising and Estimating the Costs of Child Sexual Exploitation (Phase One of Australian Study into Economic Costs of Child Sexual Exploitation)
The Australian child sexual abuse attitudes, knowledge and response study
An environmental scan of Child Sexual Abuse related workforce training offerings in Australia
CHANGE – curtailing harm and navigating growth: evidence for change pathways of young people who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviour
Evaluating a harmful sexual behaviour education program in a residential care setting
Developing and implementing a framework for abuse prevention through culture change and organisational development
Building a knowledge frame for responding to the needs of children and young people who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviour
Australian Child Maltreatment Study
Strengthening relationships and connections for young people in therapeutic residential care
Differentiating adverse childhood experience profiles of male youths who exhibit harmful sexual behaviours

Identification of child sexual abuse

The Australian child sexual abuse attitudes, knowledge and response study
An environmental scan of Child Sexual Abuse related workforce training offerings in Australia
Enhancing the capability of Australia’s Primary Health Workforce to respond to child sexual abuse
Supporting continuous quality improvement in safeguarding at Hockey Australia and other national sporting organisations
Evaluating a harmful sexual behaviour education program in a residential care setting
Developing and implementing a framework for abuse prevention through culture change and organisational development
Children and Young People’s Safety Project
The safeguarding capability of adults in Catholic Church ministries: a global perspective

Disclosure of child sexual abuse

Ngagagee Ngulu Murrup Durra (‘The Ngagagee project’)
The Australian child sexual abuse attitudes, knowledge and response study
An environmental scan of Child Sexual Abuse related workforce training offerings in Australia
Enhancing the capability of Australia’s Primary Health Workforce to respond to child sexual abuse
Improving legal, policy and practice responses to the intersection of domestic violence perpetration and child sexual abuse offending
Into the war zone: disclosure and disbelief in the Family Court
Understanding the experiences of child sexual abuse disclosure in Australia in the wake of the Royal Commission
Learning from victims and survivors about what helps disclosure and responses to child sexual abuse
Supporting continuous quality improvement in safeguarding at Hockey Australia and other national sporting organisations
Community as experts: investigating the context, needs and help-seeking pathways for child sexual abuse survivors and their supporters in the NSW Bega Valley