Supporting the specialised development of Probation Officers | HMA

Supporting the specialised development of Probation Officers

The following article is by Rhiannon Cooper from New Zealand Corrections, dated 23 April 2024. Thank you to Rhiannon and the team for the kind words and permission to post this article.

Probation Officers from Gisborne and Wairoa Community Corrections recently attended a ‘Disrupting Whānau/Family Violence’ workshop hosted at the Tauawhi Mens’ Centre and attended by local family violence professionals.

This workshop was facilitated by Ken McMaster, an academic and author with over thirty years’ experience in intervention work with men who are violent and sexually abuse.

Ken is passionate about “best practice and enhancing the skill sets of people working with people.”

Along with Psychologist Suzanne Hall, Ken founded Hall McMaster & Associates (HMA) who provide consultation in criminal justice work, social work with men, family violence prevention training programmes, child protection, the interviewing of children experiencing trauma, abuse issues, and psychological assessment and therapy.

Senior Practitioner Katya Smith loved the workshop, “Everyone knows Ken. Everyone knows he is the guru. It was special to be in the room learning directly from him. His presence, his wairua was so calming and nurturing.”

‘Disrupting Whānau/family violence’ focused on motivating ambivalent perpetrators of family violence to engage with rehabilitative programmes, and techniques that incorporate whānau voice into the work we do with perpetrators.

“Before the workshop I viewed myself as working to motivate the men on my caseload to attend rehabilitative programmes.” Says Probation Officer Anna Ma-u, “Ken shifted that for me. I now realise my role is to help them find their own motivation. He gave us great techniques to use in practice. It was a valuable day.”

In line with Te Aorerekura: The National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence, the workshop supported the specialised development of staff with a family violence caseload to drive practice change.

Just as valuable as the workshop’s content was the opportunity for our staff to learn alongside community partners ‘Kanohi ki te Kanohi’ (face-to-face). The day was full of connection, korero, and challenges.

Probation Officer Cassandra Ingram says, “I walked away with an understanding of how important my use of language was. In my notes and in my report-in sessions, I am now mindful that the specific language I use can harm the victim if I collude or minimise the violence they experience.”

If you are interested in this subject, check out the available resources on Family Violence, Motivational Interviewing, Offender Group Work, and more on the Hall McMaster and Associates website.


Published on Wednesday, May 8th, 2024, under Learning & development, Motivational Interviewing

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