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Attorney General and Minister for Justice Brad Hazzard visited Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre to launch an important new training program in Trauma-Informed Practice (TIP) for Corrective Services staff.
The TIP training package will provide frontline staff with skills to better manage and help offenders who have experienced sexual and/or physical violence in childhood, adolescence and adulthood.
“Compared to the general population, female prisoners are significantly more likely to have been exposed to sexual and physical violence,” Mr Hazzard said.
“Typically this begins early in life and can lead to complex mental health problems that affect their capacity to self-regulate, leading to drug misuse and other offending.”
The training is expected to reduce the time staff spend defusing conflict and disciplining inmates, as well as reduce stress and stress-related leave for staff.
Better management of trauma-related behaviour is expected to lead to offenders being more able to engage in treatment and other programs while in jail, so reducing their likelihood of re-offending upon release.
Commissioner Peter Severin said TIP training will change staff’s attitudes from asking: “what’s the matter with this person? to what’s happened to this person?”
“Corrections staff will learn to identify what can trigger memories of abuse and violence, and how to minimise this. This will help increase the safety of offenders, our staff and the community,” he said.
The TIP training package was developed by the Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC). Victims Services from the Department of Justice funded the MHCC to adapt it to meet the specific needs of correctional staff.
Staff at the new women’s Intensive Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program at Dillwynia Correctional Centre trialled the package ahead of its roll out at Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre. Training will be implemented progressively at other centres.
“The NSW Government believes while people are in jail they should get the skills and treatment needed so that when they return to the community they are better able to resist the path of re-offending,’’ Mr Hazzard said.
Trauma training boost for corrections [PDF 191KB]