From treatment to prevention working with queensland remote indigenous communities
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From treatment to prevention : Working with Queensland remote Indigenous communities. Sue Rayment-McHugh Manager Griffith Youth Forensic Service Griffith University Queensland. Griffith Youth Forensic Service.

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From treatment to prevention : Working with Queensland remote Indigenous communities

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From treatment to prevention working with queensland remote indigenous communities

From treatment to prevention: Working with Queensland remote Indigenous communities

Sue Rayment-McHugh

Manager

Griffith Youth Forensic Service

Griffith University

Queensland

Griffith Youth Forensic Service


Griffith youth forensic service

Griffith Youth Forensic Service

  • Partnership between Queensland Department of Communities (Youth Justice Program) and Griffith University’s Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance

  • State-wide field based service provision (Queensland) for youth who have been found guilty of a sexual offence

  • Primary office in Brisbane, satellite office in Cairns

  • Highest risk / needs + regional / remote referrals prioritised

  • Increasing involvement with youth from remote Indigenous communities

  • Over 300 referrals since 2001

    • 85% from outside Brisbane Metropolitan area

    • 35% Indigenous youth

Griffith Youth Forensic Service


Extending intervention with offending youth to primary and secondary prevention

Extending intervention with offending youth to primary and secondary prevention

  • GYFS core business is offender treatment – tertiary prevention

    • Ecological practice framework

      • understand youth in the context of their development, their natural ecosystem and the immediate environment in which the offence/s occurred

      • promotes a multi-systemic focus for assessment and treatment activities

      • clinical assessment - discovering why an offence occurred – which contributes to understanding of how it could have been prevented

  • Work within remote Indigenous communities

    • Provided new opportunities to extend tertiary prevention activities to primary and secondary prevention

    • Provision of high quality specialist services to remote communities is a significant challenge throughout Australia and internationally

      • geographic challenges

      • resource limitations

      • professional practice traditionally involves bringing clients to the specialist

    • GYFS reverses this trend and sends practitioners to the client regardless of location (field based)

Griffith Youth Forensic Service


Extending intervention with offending youth to primary and secondary prevention cont

Extending intervention with offending youth to primary and secondary prevention cont..

  • Contextual explanations for offending behaviour

    • State and National Inquiries highlight high rates of sexual abuse within remote Indigenous communities with primarily contextual explanations

    • different environmental contexts rather than increased levels of psychopathology

    • case specific assessments highlight situational and contextual factors as major contributors to offending behaviour

  • Seriously question effectiveness of working primarily at individual level – treatment unlikely to be effective without changes at community level

    • situational and contextual factors major focus of treatment interventions

    • increased understanding of offending in this context increases understanding of prevention needs

  • Involvement in prevention becomes increasingly clear in this context

    • currently limited funding / attention specific to the prevention of sexual abuse in some communities

    • clinical practitioners working with offenders could inform initial prevention efforts by identifying key areas of focus or contribute directly to these activities

  • “Bottom-up” approach to community-level sexual abuse prevention

  • Griffith Youth Forensic Service


    A bottom up approach to prevention

    A “bottom-up” approach to prevention

    • Court mandate to work with individual youth and their families

    • Work starts with an ecological assessment and case formulation

      • comprehensive information about factors contributing to the offending behaviour

      • identification of risk and protective factors across individual, family and community systems

    • Collaborative treatment intervention informed by assessment

      • treatment targets factors identified through assessment

      • individually tailored treatment with focus on multi-systemic (individual, family, peer, school and community level) interventions

    • Information about community risk / protective factors in an individual case can directly inform broader locally-tailored prevention efforts targeting the whole community

    • GYFS community level interventions contribute directly to prevention

    Griffith Youth Forensic Service


    Gyfs prevention activities

    GYFS Prevention Activities

    • Engage and collaborate with key community stakeholders (eg. elders, identified community members, agencies, paraprofessionals, professionals) to discuss issues regarding community safety, sexual offending behaviour and the prevention of sexual abuse

    • Facilitate workshops to specifically address issues relating to community safety and the prevention of sexual abuse (12-point Prevention Model)(Smallbone, Marshall & Wortley, 2008)

    • Capacity building activities:

      • collaborative partnerships (Smallbone, Rayment-McHugh, Crissman & Shumack, 2008)

      • consultation

      • formal training (Dadds, Smallbone, Nisbet & Dombrowski, 2003)

    • Direct involvement in some community specific prevention related activities (eg. assistance with community youth activities)

    Griffith Youth Forensic Service


    What is the role of the clinical treatment practitioner in prevention

    What is the role of the clinical treatment practitioner in prevention?

    • Historically community focused prevention activities led by advocacy groups not clinical practitioners

    • Typically clinical practitioners funded / employed / trained specifically to focus on provision of treatment to identified youth and their families

      HOWEVER…

    • Specialist knowledge in this field

    • Specific knowledge of contributing factors on case by case (community by community) basis

    • Responsibility to address assessed contributing factors (including community level factors)

      SO…

    • Clinical treatment practitioners well / best placed to contribute directly to primary and secondary prevention activities

    Griffith Youth Forensic Service


    Example from a cape york community

    Example from a Cape York community

    • Factors which contributed to sexual offending behaviour

      • limited education / guidance re appropriate sexual behaviour

      • peer group normalisation of underage sex

      • exposure to community violence

      • significant unstructured time

      • limited supervision at night

      • access to vulnerable children

    • Mapping community prevention ideas

      • increasing public educationabout safety / appropriate sexual behaviour eg. radio segments in local language, community drama / entertainment with safety focus, locally designed brochures, school based safety programs

      • increase availability of formal supervised pro-social recreational activities

      • increase supervision before / during / after community events eg. transport youth home from events, training for place managers

      • increase availability of counselling / support services eg. victim counselling, parent support, mens & womens groups, young parents group

    Griffith Youth Forensic Service


    Prevention in remote indigenous communities

    Prevention in remote Indigenous communities?

    • Common themes between communities yet also uniqueness

      • Northern Territory Intervention

      • “Bottom-Up” approach

        • people on the ground (local community members & professionals) directly informing and contributing to prevention activities

    • Communities That Care(Hawkins & Catalano, 1992; Communities That Care, 1997)

      • Evidence and knowledge based framework for organising prevention activities in a community / co-ordinated and targeted approach

      • Role for clinical practitioners

    • Justice Reinvestment(Calma, 2009)

      • Divert funds otherwise spent on imprisonment and invest in programs / services that address underlying causes of crime

    • Further research needed

      • Baseline measures

      • Increased understanding of sexual offending in identified contexts

        • What happens? Where does it happen? When does it happen? Who is involved? How does it happen? etc

    Griffith Youth Forensic Service


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