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Joint Investigation Response Teams
Joint Investigation Response Teams (JIRTs) are made up of Community Services, NSW Police and NSW Health professionals who undertake joint investigation of child protection matters.
Joint investigations link the risk assessment and protective interventions of Community Services with the criminal investigation conducted by Police.
Community Services and Police have an equal partnership and share responsibility for the operation of JIRTs. The Community Services component of JIRT operates from 23 sites. Community Services is co-located with Police at 11 sites, there are six non co-located sites and there are six JIRT trained staff attached to regional/remote locations.
NSW Department of Health provides medical examination, counselling and therapeutic services to children or young people and their non-offending parents or carers, when required.
By working together as a JIRT, Community Services, Police and Health officers provide a more effective investigative process and better understand each agency’s role so the best outcome for the child or young person is achieved.
Why are JIRTs required?
Child protection is a community and government responsibility. Close links between child protection agencies ensure a more coordinated and timely service. Children, young people and families experience better outcomes from joint investigation.
Joint investigation aims to:
- provide a timely and comprehensive investigative process, which minimises delay and promotes information exchange between relevant agencies
- conduct investigative interviews in an environment that is focussed on the child or young person and promotes their participation
- enhance the standard of briefs of evidence presented to Court jurisdictions and proceed with charging offenders where appropriate
- ensure timely access to care and support services throughout the joint investigation process
- ensure immediate referral to crisis counselling
- minimise the number of investigative interviews conducted
- use protective intervention to ensure the safety of children and young people
- assess the individual needs of children, young people and families
- support the non-offending parent or carer
- identify and prosecute offenders.
What is the process for involving JIRTs?
Referrals to JIRT can only be made through Community Services Helpline or a Community Services Centre (CSC).
Joint investigation occurs when a Community Services Child Protection Caseworker (CPC) and Police officer investigate a report of child abuse that meets the JIRT criteria – mostly when there is a possibility the abuse constitutes a criminal offence.
The process includes completing a risk assessment and determining the need for Children’s Court action and/or criminal charges.
Further information is available for NGO caseworkers working with JIRT to support children and young people in out-of-home care following a disclosure of abuse.