I am not going to quit now! | HMA

I am not going to quit now!

I turned 65 in August, so I, along with my partner Suzanne, took a significant break from our work lives to reflect upon our next steps. When that magic number ticks over, people often start talking about the big ‘R’ question (retirement). Sam, my son, knew that this phase in my life would not necessarily be easy. For my birthday, he bought me a book on Ikigai, the Japanese art of staying young while growing old. Ikigai is about finding meaning hidden deep inside each of us and has been linked to longevity. Four key ideas underpin Ikigai: what you love, what the world needs, what you are good at, and finally, what you can be paid for (we still need to pay bills). These intersect into mission, passion, profession, and vocation.  

When Suzanne and I began HMA well over 20 years ago, we saw our mission as “Working with passion and integrity to bring out the best in people.” Our professional careers and those of our team members are all about supporting people to be the best they can be. This doesn’t matter whether you are a peer mentor, a senior leader in an organisation, a person providing frontline support for service users, or a person coaching best practices. I have recently been reminded that one of the great joys in life is being able to work in a field of practice and see the changes that have occurred. It is also about continuing to push innovation in practice so that people have the best tools at their fingertips. 

As I reflect upon the past year, we have continued to grow and support various areas of practice. We have invested heavily in the development of our Ake app. The app is designed for programme staff to be able to support behaviour change in users of family violence. We believe that once-a-week interventions are never sufficient to develop learning transfer of the skills developed in programs. Locking in reminders and having something to access 24/7 makes so much more sense. We now have a New Zealand as well as an Australian version of the app developed. While it has taken longer to get this out the door than anticipated, I’m told we are almost there with the app being available on Play Store and iOS. 

We’ve also just completed the first season of our Talking with Ken podcast series. This has been a huge amount of fun, and I really appreciate the generosity of people who work in the domestic and family violence field to share their stories. These are people who are doing the hard yards in either intervention, training or research. If you know someone who you think would love to talk with me about their practice, then get them to send me an email or contact us.

Over the past two years, we have focused on youth domestic and family violence. It is recognised that a number of young people begin their pathway into DFV during adolescence. Many of our young people are caught in the middle. They are both recipients and users of abusive behaviour. Engaging early to disrupt behaviour before it becomes habitual should be on everyone’s radar. We don’t want behaviour to become life course persistent. This is a cost far too high to pay. There have been three pieces of work that we have particularly done in the youth DFV space. One was to develop an individual program for Mission Australia. We also supported New South Wales Youth Justice by designing a train-the-trainer program as well as direct delivery for the Youth on Track workers. Finally, we have worked with DOVE Hawkes Bay to develop an intervention for young couples with children. This is currently in the pilot stage. 

Upskilling a workforce into effective practice has always been an important aspect of our work. In addition to our Masterclasses for MI & Family Violence and DFV Onboarding, we have continued our multi-year MI contract with Corrections Victoria. We also continue to deliver ChangeAbout program training for Corrections Victoria. We recognise that, often, regional areas can be underserved in terms of learning and development. It is always a pleasure to go to places such as Mount Isa/Townsville (Centacare), Rotorua (Manaaki Ora), as well as providing a lot of online MI work in the health space. A particularly interesting project has been working with a number of teams from the Orange Door team in Heidelberg, Victoria. Orange Door is an intake service to engage people in work around disrupting domestic and family violence. Given my strong interest in engagement, this was an important piece of work. We know that many users of violence have a reluctance to engage. That makes effective phone conversations all the more important. 

Over the past six weeks, I have been a panel member for the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) on Te Huringa ō te Ao, an initiative to support sustainable behaviour change for men by supporting locally-led responses. This 17.8 million per annum spend over a 9.5-year period is a serious investment into our sector within Aotearoa/New Zealand. It has been absolutely delightful to hear presentations from NGOs on how they might affect change in users of violence. 

And finally, as we speed to the end of the year, we are working on a program with Housing Plus (NSW) to support the development of an intervention program for users of violence who have cognitive impairment. As they say, so much to do, so little time.  

So yes, I am not going to quit now. 

If you or your organisation identify a need that HMA can support you with, we invite you to have a discussion with us. I understand that 2024 is not far away. Get in touch here.

Published on Monday, November 6th, 2023, under Uncategorised, What Ken thinks

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