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The Safe Harbors Youth Intervention Project: Intersectoral collaboration to address sexual exploitation in Minnesota

Author(s): Laurel Dean Edinburgh | Kathryn Richtman | Emily Huemann | Andrea McDonald Marboe | Elizabeth Saewyc

Journal: Nursing Reports
ISSN 2039-439X

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Sexual Exploitation: Sexual Abuse | Multi-disciplinary Collaboration

Abstract Objectives: To evaluate the Safe Harbors Youth Intervention Project intersectoral collaboration to improve continuity and appropriateness of services for sexually exploited children and adolescents. Methods: An intensive single case study, drawing on interviews and focus groups with experiential youth (n=125), multisectoral stakeholders (n=196), documented activities, and repeated interviews with collaborating team members (n=29), teen clients (n=46) and parents (n=22). The collaboration was designed around an 8-step process for creating victim-centered protocols within and across organizations, altering services to bridge gaps in care, and creating training tools for the different sectors. Results: The initial needs assessment documented fragmented care and problematic communication across departments and sectors. The shared protocol development among decision makers from each agency, focused on best practices and evidence-based interventions, fostered trusting relationships, greater awareness of different roles and services, and speeded practice changes to remove barriers to care for sexually exploited youth. Conclusions: A task-focused collaboration with a shared community-wide protocol, increased transparency between services, and ongoing intersectoral training can help foster a meaningful response to sexually exploited youth.
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