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Dr Margaret Liddell, Senior Lecturer, Justice and Legal Studies, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University - Risk Assessment and Risk Management
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Dr Margaret Liddell, Senior Lecturer, Justice and Legal Studies, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University - Risk Assessment and Risk Management

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delivered this presentation at the 5th Annual Juvenile Justice Summit 2014. This Summit hears from key state government representatives and youth justice organisations on the significant issues …

delivered this presentation at the 5th Annual Juvenile Justice Summit 2014. This Summit hears from key state government representatives and youth justice organisations on the significant issues moving forward for juvenile justice in Australia.

For more information, please visit http://www.communitycareconferences.com.au/juvenilejustice14

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  • 1. Dr Marg Liddell Justice & Legal Studies Global, Urban and Social Studies Risk Assessment and Risk Management in
  • 2. This session provides information on : ! Best practice for training staff about the link between risk assessment and risk management ! Issues/concerns at the forefront of government policy for offender management in the youth and adult sectors School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning 2
  • 3. Why am I doing this session? • Are we going down this track? • I hope not! But I worry about it!!!! School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning 3
  • 4. So maybe the way to ensure we don’t is to continue to review our practices. Hence the session - Best practice for training staff in…. ! Risk Assessment ! Risk Management Questions arise about the best way and ultimately the question “How to get staff to understand the link between risk assessment and risk management” especially in using a risk assessment tool. School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning 4
  • 5. Can we start directly with these questions or is there a different way to approach this conundrum • My view is that there is ! Of critical importance is the need for prospective and new staff to develop an understanding of and reflect upon risk assessment and risk management outside a compliance risk framework. ! This is related to research that shows “tools” are under 50% successful (Slobogin, 2013). ! This doesn’t mean that they are not useful but they need to be understood, evaluated regularly and used creatively and in my view thoughtfully! School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning 5
  • 6. Teaching prospective staff (i.e. Students…… • This starts with them developing an understanding of a range of theories that relate to family work and work with children and adolescents. • This is important as it gives them a framework for understanding how to locate and manage risk in a theoretical framework • I do this through two processes Case Management Practice & Youth Justice Systems School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning 6
  • 7. Some theories used but not in any particular order include : ! Systems and Family systems theory ! Feminist theory ! Cultural theory ! Attachment theory ! Child and Adolescent development theory ! Social Learning theory ! CBT School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning 7
  • 8. Why? This is a question that I am constantly asked? ! By students ! By new and existing staff ! What I am trying to get across is that assessing and managing risk involves considering the whole picture School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning 8
  • 9. Because prospective staff need to develop an understanding of: ! How society looks from a general perspective ! How it works ! How individual or collective relationships impact on people of all ages ! The importance of family and their connections to society ! The importance of milestones in children's/ adolescent development – ! to name a few School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning 9
  • 10. Risk Assessment (RA): A reflective position ! This depends on your area of work, but it usually involves the identification and evaluation of potential threats/risks (Drennan & McConnell, 2007). ! Risk assessment includes key areas: 1. Likelihood of an event occurring- identify risks to whom and why- being specific re behaviours or events of concern ! Consider the imminence- how soon- the harmful event will occur ! Recognition that future likelihood of harm and benefits are not certain ! Workers have to live with this uncertainly 2. The extent of harm or benefit involved in any potential outcome 1 & 2 are critical as risk assessors need to understand how they interrelate to each other (Kemshall et al. 2013) School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning 10
  • 11. They also have to: • Estimate the impact of the risk • Identify the circumstances and conditions that increase or decrease the likelihood and /or impact of the risk • Answer the question: How serious are the risks presented? This involves collecting evidence and making an accurate judgment. School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning 11
  • 12. Of critical importance is: ! That we judge the acceptance and tolerability of individual risks – these are influenced significantly by human factors ! The way risks are perceived by individuals, groups, communities and the factors that influence these perceptions have been and continue to be the subject of psychology and sociology research (Drennan & McConnell, 2007). School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning 12
  • 13. Risk Management (RM) • RM needs to be a positive experience • It needs to promote active involvement of service users/ clients- not in a token way • It needs to have positive outcomes- these are only possible if the client has perceived the experience as positive and about them and is able to feel that they can influence the decision making etc. • Interventions need to be very relevant to individuals lives and circumstances (see also Kemshall et al. 2013) School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning 13
  • 14. Balancing act between RA and RM •  Considering the issues and what needs to change (I don’t use the word goals). –  How can you remove/reduce the risk factors? –  How can you replace them with positive risks? –  How do you help the client develop strengths? –  How do you actively engage them in the process? •  How will change occur? –  Client engagement –  Constructive change –  Interventions –  Restrictive measures –  Links to existing services- relate to what the client wants •  Timelines –  Imminence and steps to change –  “its not about the case manager” •  Contingency planning –  What do you do when it goes “pear shaped” •  Recording and monitoring & review School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning 14
  • 15. Risk Reduction • We need to include this also in our assessment and management of risk • I talk quite a lot about incremental change related to risk reduction School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning 15
  • 16. ! In my use of cases in Case Management Practice I develop a family file for the student workshops The following is an example of one of these family members It shows the material and the way that I bring together - the Theory - the Risk Assessment process - the Risk Management process My major objective is to get students to think creatively and to consider the issues as much as possible from the clients perspective Other assessment tasks link to the family and build their knowledge about assessing and managing risk School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning 16
  • 17. Using cases Leliana (known as Leli) •  Leli is an Aboriginal/ Torres Strait Islander -17 years old. •  She is Heni’s (Torres Straight Islander) eldest daughter. •  Leli has had a troubled history partly due to Heni’s inability to adequately parent Leli when she was a baby. •  This resulted in Leli being placed in Foster Care until the age of 10 when she went to live with Heni’s mother in Toowoomba. This was not a successful placement as Leli was difficult to manage and Heni and her mother were estranged. •  In 2009 Leli returned to live with Heni and Sepeti (Sepeti is Samoan). •  Sepeti says that he can’t abide Leli and when she was incarcerated for assault in 2012 he was glad as it gave the family a rest from her problems and problematic behaviour. (The assault was the result of extreme abuse of alcohol. Leli bashed another young woman so severely that she was hospitalised and put in an induced coma). •  Leli has recently been released from Parkville Youth Training Centre and is on parole. Whilst in Parkville she was diagnosed with being schizophrenic and having Bipolar disorder. •  She often has episodes where she hallucinates and is delusional, sometimes functioning around 12years of age. Her behaviour is a problem when she excessively abuses alcohol which is frequent. •  Leli blames her mother for her problems stating that Heni was always drunk when she was pregnant. She says she knows all about “alcohol syndrome in babies”. There is no evidence that Heni abused alcohol when she was pregnant with Leli. Other problems relating to Leli, include that she is sexually active and indiscriminate in her choice of sexual partners. •  She has returned home to live with Heni, Sepeti and the other 4 children. The relationships in the house are strained given the domestic violence incident and Sepeti’s open dislike of Leli. School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning 17
  • 18. Questions that are addressed: ! What would the main issues be in working with Leli? ! What theory would you apply and why? ! How successful would you be? ! What are the risk areas? ! How would you manage the risk? ! What are your values re Leli? Be as honest as you can be here School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning 18
  • 19. Issues/ Concerns at the forefront of government policy for offender management in the youth and adult sectors ! Due to intense media and public scrutiny of justice and other professions due to some high-profile service failures, ! Compliance is becoming more critical – see for example the differences in some research re Case Management Principles ! ‘risk avoidance’ is increasingly favoured by institutions and individuals at the expense of ‘risk-taking’. ! To challenge this trend, we –academics, case managers +others work with people need to clearly identify the benefits of some risk-taking and indeed, advocate giving clients ownership and involvement in some risk decisions. ! Professional risk-taking is undertaken for the benefit of others from a duty to assist them. ! Whilst this is undeniably key, equally important is that risk-taking decisions are also taken for the benefit of the practitioner’s safety, given physical and emotional violence by clients towards workers in many settings is increasing (see Laird 2013). School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning 19
  • 20. Other issues ! The right of the client to control their own life must be balanced against the risk they may pose to their own and other’s health and safety. ! A team based approach and consultation within the team is critical ! Whilst such dilemmas are a necessary aspect of work with juveniles professionals need to embrace these positively rather than shy away from them if optimal outcomes are to be realised. ! One reason ethical dilemmas are feared is the current climate in which risk decisions are taken ! these are areas that I address in detail in workshops. School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning 20
  • 21. How do I apply this to Juvenile (Youth) Justice • After prospective staff have a solid understanding of the need for risk assessments (via Case Management Practice) to ! Be continuous and not just focused on the front end. ! To consider dynamic as well as static factors ! To be closely associated with a risk management plan that the client has engaged with and has ownership to ameliorate the risk • They then undertake Youth Justice systems School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning 21
  • 22. Thank you and any School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning 22
  • 23. References • Drennan, L., & McConnell, A. (2007). Risk and crisis management in the public sector. London: Routledge • Kemshall, H., Wilkinson, B., & Baker, K. ( 2013) Working with Risk: Skills for contemporary social work. Hoboken: Wiley. • Laird, E. (2013). “Training Social Workers to Effectively Manage Aggressive Parental Behaviour in Child Protection in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.” British Journal of Social Work 10 (March): pp. 1–17. • Slobogin, C. (2013). “Risk assessment and risk management in juvenile justice”. Criminal Justice. 27.4 Winter pp. 1-11. School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning 23

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