Journal article

Better together? A review of evidence for multi-disciplinary teams responding to physical and sexual child abuse

1 Jan 2017

Multi-Disciplinary teams (MDTs) have often been presented as the key to dealing with a number of intractable problems associated with responding to allegations of physical and sexual child abuse. While these approaches have proliferated internationally, researchers have complained of the lack of a specific evidence base identifying the processes and structures supporting multi-disciplinary work and how these contribute to high-level outcomes. This systematic search of the literature aims to synthesize the existing state of knowledge on the effectiveness of MDTs. This review found that overall there is reasonable evidence to support the idea that MDTs are effective in improving criminal justice and mental health responses compared to standard agency practices. The next step toward developing a viable evidence base to inform these types of approaches seems to be to more clearly identify the mechanisms associated with effective MDTs in order to better inform how they are planned and implemented.

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