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Multidisciplinary Teams: Overcoming the Challenges and Reaching your Potential

Multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) are essential components of a comprehensive and coordinated community response to sexual assault. MDTs have the potential to cultivate collaboration among service providers and system professionals; increase the effectiveness of institutional, social service, medical, and community interventions; and ultimately, improve the response to and experiences of survivors.

The process of getting from theory to practice is rarely easy or immediate but the rewards are well worth the struggles. The relationships we build with our partners not only benefit survivors, but also sustain our efforts to end sexual violence.

To support your work with system partners, WCSAP has created a new resource focused on MDTs. The information provided is especially relevant to community- based advocates, but it can be utilized by team members from all disciplines.

Whether your MDT is new or old, struggling or flourishing, it is the hope that this document will provide some grounding information and quick tips that may be useful as you continue to develop, evaluate, or modify your team and your role within it.


Resources

  • Sexual Assault Response Team Development: A Guide for Victim Service Providers. "The focus of this technical assistance guide is to help sexual assault service providers build, expand, formalize, and maintain strong interagency responses to sexual violence."
  • The Office for Victims of Crime unveiled the SART Toolkit in March 2011. It has five main sections: Learn about SARTS, Develop a SART, Put the Focus on Victims, Follow Innovative Practices, and Find Tools.
  • Collaboration Multiplier is a practical tool that was designed to "make key differences and similarities within groups explicit, so that they are more likely to succeed in the challenging work of building and sustaining collaborations." This would be an applicable exercise for teams at any stage but may be most useful for new teams or those needing to revisit the basics.
  • Collaboration Factors Inventory is an easy and free way to assess your team's collaboration. Take the inventory individually or create a group account so all members can weigh in.
Reviewed: April 13th, 2015