37 research outputs found

    What Can we Learn from Serious Incident Reports?

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    This is an examination of 90 Serious Incident Reports (SIRs) which were generated in the London Probation Area between January 2002 and July 2003. The results showed that offenders assessed as high risk generated a disproportionately high number of SIRs, but equally serious incidents occurred across all risk bands. Interpretation of this is not straightforward; despite confirming considerable accuracy by Probation staff in identifying those most likely to inflict harm, it also demonstrates the limitations of risk prediction, and the need for considerable skill and knowledge among staff who work with offenders of all risk bands. Among other findings it emerged that nearly a third of alleged offences that triggered SIRs were of rape. Lastly, there was a clear contrast in the predictive power of previous convictions: over half of those triggering a serious incident report through violent behaviour had previous convictions of violence, whereas under a quarter of those accused of a sexual offence had previous sexual convictions. Superficially this confirms that past violent behaviour is a powerful predictor of future violence, but also reflects the considerable gap between offending and conviction for sexual offenders

    A qualitative examination of attachment based concepts in probation supervision.

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    Attachment theory is familiar to probation workers, with its broad messages that early care can leave a lasting legacy, and that patterns of relating can be repeated throughout the lifespan. Up close however, attachment theory is complex, and research findings sometimes vague or contested. This empirical research examined the use of four key attachment-based concepts in generic probation practice over a period of six months. The concept of the probation officer as a potential secure base was a useful one, as was the idea that service users' early attachment history could help to understand relationships and offending. Other concepts (the reflective function and attachment style) were less useful

    The Nuts and Bolts of Risk Assessment: When the Clinical and Actuarial Conflict

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    The aim of this research was to examine the thought processes that practitioners follow when they are conducting risk assessments. Weighing up the probability that an individual will inflict harm requires the practitioner to apply clinical and actuarial approaches, and integrate static and dynamic information. This is a complex and inexact task, and one that has been found lacking in reviews of serious further offences. This research focused on a small, atypical subgroup of risk assessments; those where the actuarial information is at odds with the clinical judgment. The results indicated that practitioners are more likely to override actuarial information that indicates a low risk of harm rather than a high one, confirming the existence of the ‘precautionary principle’. The research also produced some important messages for practice, particularly a reluctance to reduce sexual offenders’ risk of harm even when evidence of all types was compelling, and conversely, a willingness to reduce non-sexual offenders’ risk on the basis of only flimsy dynamic evidence, and counter to actuarial pointers. The research concludes that a more sophisticated understanding of the evidence around dynamic factors would enhance assessments

    Serious Further Offence Inquiry

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    Inquiry into murrder on 29th November 2004. John Monckton was stabbed and murdered in his home. His wife was also stabbed and was close to death but recovered, thanks to their 9 year old daughter who managed to call the police. Their murderers posed as delivery men, and after their arrest it soon became clear that they were both on statutory orders to the Probation Service

    Probation officers and child protection work; what does 'think family' look like in practice?"

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    This research was an examination of 31 probation service cases that required some level of child protection work. The work was undertaken for a large metropolitan probation trust to establish the characteristics of child protection cases, and evaluate standards of practice. The sample was found to be predominantly low or medium risk. It was characterized by widespread domestic violence, and mothers struggling to parent on their own. Substance misuse was a very common feature, and to a lesser extent poor mental health. A great deal of impressive practice, as well as some poor practice was encountered, and the cases provide much instruction as to just what a ‘think family’ approach means. Probation officers were excluded from multi-agency work in a worrying number of cases

    Looking under the bonnet: probation officers' practice with child protection cases.

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    This research examined 31 Probation Service cases in England and Wales that required some child protection work. It examined three areas: key characteristics of the case, inter-agency communication and evidence for a ‘think family’ approach. Key findings were that domestic violence and substance misuse were widespread. The majority of the cases were assessed as low or medium risk of harm, and so after the ‘Transforming Rehabilitation’ restructuring will be supervised by a Community Rehabilitation Company, rather than the National Probation Service. The majority of cases featured effective inter-agency communication, and were characterized by the ‘think family’ principle. Where this was not achieved, two types of cases stood out. The first was where the probation officer was distracted from offenders' children because of public protection issues. The second was where probation officers made efforts to be included in multi-agency work, but were shut out

    Integrating attachment theory into probation practice; a qualitative study

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    This research examined how a sample of English Probation Officers (POs) applied attachment theory as they supervised service users. Using an action research methodology over six months the research identified aspects that were readily utilised (the idea that POs can sometimes represent a secure base figure, and that attachment histories were significant). However, others offered little utility (the concept of mentalization as a facility rooted in early attachment, and the classification of attachment style). The reasons for this are explored, and the process by which specialist research knowledge is applied by non-specialist practitioners is considered

    The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham, 1997−2013

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    Rotherham Borough Council commissioned Professor Jay and her team to complete a review of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) in 2013, after a recognition that children had been badly let down by local services. Professor Jay, a former social work adviser to the Scottish government, and author of other reviews (for example into Children’s Services in Jersey) reported back in August 2014. Her report received extensive coverage, with headlines featuring the much cited estimate that 1400 children had been victimized over the 15 year period

    Using attachment theory with offenders

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    Attachment theory has routinely been considered essential for those working with children. However, contemporary literature and research on attachment offers some compelling insights for work with offenders, particularly in the way that empathy is developed and mood is regulated
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