Joint Investigation Response Teams (JIRT) aims to provide a seamless service response to children and young people at risk of significant harm, as a result of sexual assault, serious physical abuse and extreme neglect. JIRT's role is to undertake joint investigations of statutory child protection matters that require a criminal justice response. The JIRT model aims to deliver improved outcomes for vulnerable children and young people and their non-offending family members by providing them with coordinated safety, justice and health responses.
Interagency roles and responsibilities
Each agency has specialised knowledge and expertise in their area of work and has responsibilities under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (the Care Act). JIRT links the:
- protective intervention and risk assessment role of the Department of Family and Community Services
- criminal investigation conducted by the NSW Police Force
- prosecution systems of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) and
- medical examination and treatment, counselling and therapeutic services to the child/young person and to the non-offending parent or care-giver by NSW Health.
This tri-agency partnership operates under the JIRT Memorandum of Understanding, a formal agreement fostering co-operation between these agencies, “for the mutual benefit of working effectively to create relationships that provide the best outcomes for children, young people and their families”.
NSW Health became an equal partner in JIRT in 2009, as a result of the JIRT review in 2006.
About NSW Health role in JIRT
NSW Health is responsible for providing an integrated medical and psycho-social response to JIRT clients who are victims of sexual assault, serious physical abuse and extreme neglect.
A small team of clinicians is employed to work in the Joint Referral Unit (JRU) on joint decision-making around intake to JIRT. JRU Health staff work closely with health services to provide timely health information about JIRT clients and to arrange urgent health service provision where required.
NSW Health also employs clinicians in the 22 JIRT units around NSW where they work with the partner agencies on local planning and coordinated service responses for JIRT clients. Again, the JIRT senior health clinicians and health clinicians rely on the support of their local health district or specialty health network to perform their functions and ensure JIRT clients receive a seamless response from NSW Health.
The NSW Health role in JIRT is a whole-of-organisation response which is broader than the dedicated health staff working in the JRU and the JIRT units: