#DVPreventionMonth: Meet Melissa, one of our Specialist DFV Community Corrections Officers

Melissa, one of our Specialist Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) Caseload Officers from Southport Community Corrections, has a passion for helping people and keeping communities safe.  

Melissa’s role is a complex but important one. She works with high risk individuals convicted of violent offences released from prison or subject to community-based orders.

Most are at particular risk of re-committing serious domestic violence offences. Melissa’s role is to supervise them, hold them accountable as they transition back into the community and disrupt and prevent the use of violent offending.

She also supports high risk victims and survivors of domestic-related violence—and without the support of Community Corrections, their story may have a completely different ending.

“There is a strong focus on partnering with victims of violence to understand their needs and experiences, acknowledging the lived experience of victims which may increase their vulnerability of further victimisation and responding appropriately.”

Through a collaborative approach, Melissa and her team work closely with key community stakeholders to assess the highest risk cases of domestic violence in the community and develop plans to address and prevent further incidences of violence.

She also works with families of offenders on community-based orders and conducts visits jointly with community partners including the Queensland Police Service Domestic Violence Task Force to ensure everyone’s safety when attending high risk situations.

“These visits are critical in helping us establish the safety and wellbeing of victims and to engage with families in the rehabilitation and risk management of offenders.”

“As a co-ordinated team we identify risk together, as a family can intersect with various parts of the social system and the narrative of the family and risk is best understood when working together.”

“We work to develop targeted case plans and interventions to individuals’ specific needs, including specialist men’s domestic violence programs jointly with local domestic violence services.”

“We consider the connection of substance misuses, mental health and other factors which do not cause domestic violence, however if unmanaged may increase the risk of further or more severe instances of domestic violence occurring, and work with community agencies to collaboratively address these needs.”

“Ensuring we have evidence-based and specialist responses is essential to ending domestic violence and the core business of Community Corrections.”

Melissa regularly attends the Specialist Domestic Violence Court in Southport, which was established as a trial site in 2015 to deal solely with both civil and criminal domestic violence matters. The Court is now permanent and offers dedicated Magistrates, prosecutors, duty solicitors, support workers and intervention providers who have expertise in domestic and family violence.

In this capacity, Melissa and her team attend and provide weekly advice to the Court on behalf of QCS on the specific progress, attitudes and responses of offenders under QCS supervision in regards to their rehabilitation surrounding domestic and family violence.

Melissa also keeps busy overseeing the provision of training, guidance and mentoring of current and new Community Corrections officers. She assists them in using the most up to date evidence-based and trauma informed practices and responses in the rehabilitation and risk management of offenders and in supporting the victims of violence to access support and safety.

Thank you to Melissa and all of our officers for the tireless work you do every day to keep Queenslanders safe.