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 and sexual 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.”

Despina Papastamopoulos:

“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.”

Laura Munslow:

“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.”

Laura Munslow:

“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.”

Clair McLeish:

“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.”

Laura Munslow:

“I am currently on a nine-day fortnight.”

Leigh Taylor:

“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.”

Simone Shaw:

“We are a really open space for learning, for developing and for becoming excellent forensic practitioners.”

Leigh Taylor:

“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.”

Final screen:

Challenge yourself with Forensic Intervention Services


Victoria State Government – Department of Justice and Community Safety


Jump to:

  • We achieve outcomes through building therapeutic alliances
  • Key areas of responsibility
  • Our locations
  • Clinical teams
  • Services provided by Assessment teams
  • Services provided by Treatment teams
  • Services provided by the Disability and Supported Pathways Team

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 services 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.

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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.
Four clinicians sitting, talking and smiling.

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Our locations

Clinical teams are based at the locations below:

  • Metro Melbourne (prison and community)
  • Lara and Greater Geelong (based in our Lara prison precinct area)
  • Loddon Mallee (based at Loddon and Middleton Prison)
  • Grampians (based at Hopkins Correctional Centre and/or Langi Kal Kal Prison).

Some travel between locations is required. If you're interested in moving to a regional area, we also offer a relocation allowance.

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Clinical teams

  • Metro Assessment
  • Metro Violence and CCS Sexual Treatment
  • Prison Sexual Treatment
  • High Risk Complex Needs
  • Disability and Supported Pathways
  • Same Page
  • Complex Interventions
  • Loddon Mallee (Assessment and Treatment teams)
  • Barwon South West (Assessment and Treatment teams)
  • Grampians (Assessment and Treatment teams)
  • Rivergum Residential Treatment Centre Clinical team (Assessment and Treatment).
Three clinicians and a police officer sitting and talking around a conference table.

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Services provided by Assessment teams

Our Assessment teams provide offence-specific assessments. These are carried out in prisons, in the office or remotely via video-link.

Assessment tools include:

  • Violent offending:
    • VRS
    • HCR-20 and PCL-SV (women)
    • SARA (intimate partner violence)
    • VTRQ (treatment readiness)
  • Sexual offending:
    • Static 99 and Risk Matrix 2000 for offender screening
    • RSVP (mainstream sex offender cohort), SVR20 (disability cohort).

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Services provided by Treatment teams

Our Treatment teams deliver group-based and some individual interventions.

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 may participate in treatment programs for up to 11 months.

Assessment tools and programs include:

  • High Intensity VIP (H-VIP) – a high intensity program which targets violent offending.
  • Moderate Intensity VIP (M-VIP) – a moderate intensity program which targets violent offending (prison only).
  • Changeabout – a program that targets intimate partner violence.
  • See Change for Women – a program that addresses violent offending in women.
  • Better Lives Program – a program designed to address sexual offending behaviours created along best practice principles of CBT, DBT and ACT. It is run based on intensity levels ranging from moderate-low to high.

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Services provided by the Disability and Supported Pathways Team

The Disability and Supported Pathways Team provide assessments and interventions to service users who are living with a cognitive impairment.

Assessment tools include:

  • Static 99 and Risk Matrix 2000
  • SVR-20 (sexual offending), HCR-20 (general violence)
  • SARA (intimate partner violence)
  • SAPROF (protective factors)
  • CVTRQ (treatment readiness).

Treatment programs include:

  • DSP Violence Intervention Program to address violent offending behaviours
  • New Directions to address sexual offending behaviours.

These programs specialise in being responsive to the learning styles and needs of people with lower cognitive functioning.

They are usually delivered in group-based programs with some individual interventions.

Typically, a group has 8-10 participants and is facilitated by two clinicians. A treatment session usually runs for 2.5 hours (prison) or 3 hours (community) with 1-3 sessions per week.

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