Our work in Forensic Intervention Services (FIS) starts with the belief that every person has the capacity to change and deserves the opportunity to make that change. By building connections with people who have offended (we call them service users) based on trust, professionalism, and empathy, we enable people who have committed violent and sexual offences to address their behaviour and develop insights that lead to better choices and a more constructive role in the community at the end of their order or sentence.
Led by highly respected leaders with a clear vision, we are transforming the way clinical forensic intervention is delivered in Australia and are fast gaining national and international recognition for our work not only with violent and sexual offenders, but in building emerging intervention practice in Countering Violence Extremism. Forensic Intervention Services is also responsible for the provision of distress tolerance services to vulnerable service users in protective quarantine units, namely PQS.
OUR OPEN CLINICIAN OPPORTUNITIES
THE WORK WE DO
We work within a forensic psychology framework with particularly challenging presentations: people who have histories of violent and sexual offending and, at times, a high risk of reoffending. In many cases, the people we work with have missed out on constructive care and parenting or have endured ongoing and significant trauma. It means the people and cases we work with are complex and, at times, confronting.
Using contemporary best practice assessment and interventions, we facilitate group and individual interventions that help people who have offended identify the factors that led to the crimes that brought them into the justice system. With those insights, we help them develop different attitudes and perspectives that lead to better choices and behaviours that will serve them, and the community, more constructively.
Our work is fast-paced and addresses each step of the process from assessment to treatment to report writing. While there is the opportunity to adapt elements of the program to address the situation in front of you, our practice is well documented for consistency, transparency and integrity.
So if you’re interested in complex work with people who have challenging histories, beliefs and behaviours, in exciting forensic environments, then you’ll love the work here.
And if making our community safer through assisting people to change their behaviour draws on your values and is important to you, then this work puts you right on the front line of that cause.
Safety is our first priority and the processes surrounding our work with the service users mitigate possible issues that may arise when working with the people that we do.
HOW WE WORK
Our work starts with the belief that every person has the capacity to change and deserves both the help and the opportunity to do that. We create an environment where our service users are safe to make changes. We build strong therapeutic alliances so that service users become active and engaged in the programs. These alliances are built on the trust service users have in us which in turn comes from communicating and connecting with them genuinely, professionally and with empathy.
Our aim is to help them understand and re-think the maladaptive thoughts and behaviours they’ve learnt and equip them with better decision-making abilities. We recognise that involvement in the justice system is a circuit breaker in people’s lives and can be a productive time and environment for change.
We work within the Risk-Needs-Responsivity model, which pairs the individual’s risk of recidivism to the intensity of the intervention, ensures the intervention is targeting relevant criminogenic needs and delivers our interventions in a way that is responsive to the person.
This last part is where our AH team comes to the fore. For example, an OT working with someone who is cognitively impaired can help increase the likelihood they will take up what we teach them.” We work as multifaceted team utilising our combined skills in psychology, occupational therapy, social work, mental health nursing and case management.
THE ORGANISATION YOU'LL BE PART OF
You will be part of an organisation that is becoming recognised nationally for the quality of its work and is heading quickly towards world best practice and outcomes. Led by highly respected leaders, a clear vision, and with the active support at the top of government, we are transforming the way we work and developing our clinical practice which is under-pinned by a strong research program.
HOW THE ORGANISATION SUPPORTS US
Our time and development with Forensic Intervention Services start with a comprehensive Clinical Induction program. This training is delivered by internal and external experts, to provide us with a solid grounding in contemporary best practice in effective correctional programming, including forensic assessment, treatment, and management of men and women who perpetrate crimes of interpersonal harm.
Clinical supervision is how we are supported on a day-to-day basis and our forensic practitioners say it is the best supervision they have had. Given the intensity and nature of our work this supervision is as much about developing our practice as looking after our mental health and wellbeing. Specifically, we provide mandatory debriefing for the first 12 months for new forensic practitioners.
Internal and external conferences, short courses, advanced technical training, and leadership forums deliver technical and professional development while scholarships, study leave, and research programs provide opportunities for taking our knowledge and qualifications to the next level.
The department is committed to providing and maintaining a working environment which is safe and without risk to the health of its employees consistent with the department's obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic).
Therefore, there is a requirement that all DJCS employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to undertake duties outside of their homes. Prior to commencement of employment with the department you will need to provide evidence that you are vaccinated against COVID-19. Acceptable evidence includes:
1. COVID-19 digital certificate (available via your myGov account)
2. Your immunisation history statement (available via your myGov account) or
3. A letter from the GP who vaccinated you.
WHAT WE LOOK FOR
You will need to be compelled by the opportunity to help make our community safer and to reduce reoffending. You will also need an optimism for change and the belief that the people we work with deserve the help to make that change.
Having a real interest in bringing your skills and experience to a forensic setting, particularly one right at the pointy end of psychology will be amply rewarded.
We’re looking for people to join our multidisciplinary teams that include psychologists, social workers, mental health nurses and occupational therapists with complementary skills and experience to address different aspects of a person’s rehabilitation.
You will need to develop a high level of resilience for several reasons. At times it can feel as if you are making very little progress with some people and that their resistance to engaging fully is taking a professional toll on you. This will require you to have confidence in the process, to draw on the professional supports available to you, and to stay the course.
It can be intense. The conversations you have, the worlds of those that you work with, and the complexity of the issues you’re dealing with means you need to have a real awareness of your own wellbeing and what enables you to reset and come back the next day refreshed and ready to go. This resilience is something we’ll help you develop.
And there will be things that you hear and read that will be confronting, so you’ll need to have an open-mind to the concept of self-care, and enough worldliness and lived experience to recognise when you feel overwhelmed, and the courage to seek the support we will willingly provide you. It’s a tough job at times, but an incredibly rewarding one, especially when you work with fellow practitioners who recognise and endorse a culture of care and support as we do at Forensic Intervention Services.
You’ll need to thrive in a role that has a number of different dimensions and that requires you to work at pace and be effective with how you use your time.
WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU?
Because of the complex nature of our cases, we may not always see dramatic transformations in the people we work with, but the small wins we are a part of can lead to significant changes. For example, someone turning a corner and engaging in a program is a win; someone coming to understand how aspects of their life and upbringing have led to violent behaviour is a win; or simply someone recognising that the choices that they have made led them into the justice system is a win. Knowledge is power, and our job is to help these people recognise, and take back, control of their decisions.
With each small win, we are contributing to the safety of our community and giving our service users an opportunity to live a different life. We may be amongst the very few people in their lives who have taken the time to develop and guide them, suggest an alternative (and better) way of operating or offer hope for the future. We think of this as a privilege and an important and valuable public service.