- We achieve outcomes through building therapeutic alliances
- Key areas of responsibility
- Clinical teams
- Services provided by our teams
- Services provided by the Adapted Interventions Team
"I do this work because I believe it is vitally important to try to prevent further victims of serious sexual and violent offences.
And the work is extraordinary and complex, bringing intellectual challenge, self-analysis, purpose, a sense of achievement and altruism, and an array of interesting, dedicated colleagues into my life."
Our work starts with the belief that every person can change and deserves help and the opportunity to do so.
Forensic Intervention Services (FIS) works with offenders who have histories of violent, sexual, alcohol and other drug related offending. We call them service users.
We provide service users with insights, skills and perspectives to help them:
- understand what led them to be in the justice system
- make better choices
- be better community members.
We play an important role in reducing reoffending and making the community safer.
Video transcript: Being part of the team at Forensic Intervention Services
Joshua Yeap, Clinician, Forensic Intervention Services:
“The team culture at Forensic Intervention Services is very positive, it’s very supportive.”
Despina Papastamopoulos, Manager, Forensic Intervention Services:
“The teams are very warm, they’re very collegiate, they’re very supportive of one another.”
Laura Munslow, Senior Clinician, Forensic Intervention Services:
“There are significant opportunities to always collaborate with your peers, to seek second, third, fourth opinions.”
“You have, of course, your clinical peers. You’ve got your senior clinicians. You have a dedicated clinical director. You’ve got a dedicated director for Forensic Intervention Services.”
Simone Shaw, Clinical Director, Forensic Intervention Services:
“All of our teams make a conscious effort to foster an environment of openness. So, beyond those formal supports, we also have a lot of informal peer supervision type engagement.
“We have developed, and we implement, a really comprehensive clinical induction training program for all of our staff. So, we have a 16-week program constantly evolving to the needs of our workforce.
“We have internal experts who deliver some of our induction programs. We also call on external experts to come and deliver in particular areas. On top of that we offer ongoing professional development…”
Despina Papastamopoulos continues:
“…the clinical induction program, the annual conference, the scholarship program, funding to attend international and national conferences.”
Clair McLeish, Clinician, Forensic Intervention Services:
“Working in Forensic Intervention Services, we are lucky that there are so many different teams within the whole service, starting from the Assessment Team, moving on to Treatment. There’s the Disability Team, and then there’s also the Complex Intervention Team.”
“You could work in Prison Treatment Teams, you could work in the Metro Sexual and Violence Teams, you could work streamlining violence intervention within prisons in regional locations as well.”
Leigh Taylor, Clinician, Forensic Intervention Services:
“As a clinician, there’s many different roles you can go into. For example, I could move up into a senior clinician position. In addition, there’s management positions.”
“There’s a flexible working policy in place, so we are looking at balancing working from home whilst also working in offices and prison sites.”
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to have the opportunity to work part-time so that I can balance my work-family life.”
“I am currently on a nine-day fortnight.”
“I’ve still been given the opportunity to work in private practice.”
Despina Papastamopoulos :
“If you want great training, if you want great leadership, if you want great support, lots of opportunities, this is the place to be.”
“We are a really open space for learning, for developing and for becoming excellent forensic practitioners.”
“It’s a great team, everyone’s really, really supportive. I feel like I am getting great benefits, which means that I feel like a valued team member, and I feel like I am making a difference.”
Challenge yourself with Forensic Intervention Services
Victoria State Government – Department of Justice and Community Safety
We achieve outcomes through building therapeutic alliances
Clinicians work with service users who have complex histories and needs. They may have a high risk of reoffending.
Often, they have missed out on constructive care and parenting, or have endured ongoing and significant trauma.
This means our work can be challenging and confronting.
Clinicians create an environment where service users feel safe to make changes by building strong therapeutic alliances.
Trust grows from communicating in a genuine, professional and empathetic way.
This allows service users to become active and engaged in our programs.
Using best practice assessment tools, clinicians help service users to identify the factors and reasons behind criminal behaviour.
Our aim is to help individuals understand and re-think maladaptive thoughts and behaviours. We work to equip them with better decision-making abilities.
Clinicians work within the Risk-Needs-Responsivity model. This pairs the individual’s risk of reoffending to the intensity of the intervention. It ensures we target relevant criminogenic needs and deliver interventions in a way that is responsive to the person.
At all times, our work needs to balance care with a clear set of boundaries. Safety for all participants in our services is our most important priority.
For us, empathy requires a nuanced approach. We relate to people’s diverse histories and backgrounds, but also avoid sympathy or becoming an advocate.
Key areas of responsibility
Our key areas of responsibility include:
- screening service users for risk of interpersonal reoffending using evidence-based tools and systems
- conducting and documenting forensic assessments to determine risk of reoffending
- developing case formulations that inform offender-centric rehabilitation and treatment pathways
- delivering evidence-based offending behaviour programs that target criminogenic needs and achieve positive behaviour change
- providing case consultation services to case managers
- partnering with others in Victoria’s justice system to address risk.
Barwon South West team
The Barwon South West team is responsible for assessment and treatment at Barwon South West public prison precinct. This team is based in the Barwon region (Lara, Victoria).
The Barwon South West team delivers offence-specific assessments and treatment pathways to service users accommodated at four medium and maximum security facilities located in the Barwon Prison Precinct:
• Barwon Prison (Barwon)
• Marngoneet Correctional Centre (Marngoneet)
• Marngoneet’s Karreenga annexe (Karreenga)
• Western Plains Correctional Centre (Western Plains) – our new state of the art facility opening soon
Comprised of a manager, clinical team leaders, senior clinicians practice, clinicians, and AOD practitioners, this expanding multidisciplinary team collaborates with internal and external stakeholders such as custodial staff, prison leadership and a wide variety of mental health and disability service providers to deliver our therapeutic clinical services. For you, that means the chance to focus on clinical assessment and treatment without the need to travel to other facilities and work on complex cases that play a vital role in reducing reoffending and making the community safer.
Community Interventions team
The Community Interventions team is responsible for screenings, assessments, and interventions for male service users in the community on the Sexual Pathway.
Minimum/Maximum Security Prison team
The Minimum/Maximum Security Prison team is responsible for assessment and treatment at minimum or maximum security public prisons. This team provides services to Metropolitan Remand Centre, Melbourne Assessment Prison, Langi Kal Kal Prison, Dhurringile Prison, Beechworth Correctional Centre and Port Phillip Prison.
Medium Security Prison team
The Medium Security Prison team is responsible for assessment and treatment at medium security public prisons and Ravenhall Correctional Centre (Sexual Pathway only). This team provides services to Hopkins Correctional Centre, Loddon Prison Precinct, and Ravenhall Correctional Centre.
Women’s Interventions team
The Women’s Interventions team is responsible for assessment and treatment of female service users in custody and in the community. This team provides services to Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, Tarrengower Prison, and to female service users in the community.
Adapted Interventions team
The Adapted Interventions Team provide assessments and interventions to service users with a cognitive impairment. These programs specialise in being responsive to the learning styles and needs of people with lower cognitive functioning. The team provides statewide services.
Apart from the Barwon South West team, staff are based at our Franklin Street office in metro Melbourne as well as various prison locations. Some travel between locations is required. If you're looking to move, you may be eligible for reimbursement of up to $10,000 to help with relocation costs. Please speak to our recruitment team about how this support may apply to you.
Services provided by our teams
Assessment tools and treatment programs include:
- Violent offending:
- HCR-20 and PCL-SV
- PCL:SV & PCL-R
- Sexual offending:
- Static 99R
- Risk Matrix 2000
- Alcohol and Drug related offending:
- High Intensity Violence Intervention Program (H-VIP) – a high intensity program targeting violent offending.
- Moderate Intensity Violence Intervention Program (M-VIP) – a moderate intensity program targeting violent offending (prison only).
- Changeabout – a program targeting intimate partner violence.
- See Change for Women – a program that addresses violent offending for women.
- Better Lives Program – a program of varying intensity targeting sexual offending behaviours.
- AOD Programs -Behaviour change programs that address alcohol and other drug related offending.
Typically, a group has 10-12 participants and is facilitated by two clinicians. A treatment session usually runs for up to three hours with 2-3 sessions per week.
Treatment programs usually vary from 4 to 6 months. Service users assessed at the highest risk, or with cognitive impairment participate in treatment programs for up to 12 months.
Services provided by the Adapted Interventions Team
The Adapted Interventions Team provide assessments and interventions to service users with a cognitive impairment.
Assessment tools include:
- Static 99R
- Risk Matrix 2000
Treatment programs include:
- New Directions - an adapted program of varying intensity for lower cognitive functioning, targeting sexual offending
- Adapted Violence Intervention Program (A-VIP) - an adapted program of varying intensity for lower cognitive functioning, targeting violent offending
Typically, a group has 8-10 participants and is facilitated by two clinicians. A treatment session usually runs for up to 3 hours with 1-3 sessions per week.