This is the second-part of Sara Mahoney’s Mindfulness Series. She addressed mindfulness for domestic violence victims in the first one and on this session, she will discuss mindfulness for DV offenders. Articulating that one needs to be mindful when dealing with offenders can be easy to say but is rarely as easily done. Our experiences, perceptions, beliefs and emotions can easily take over putting mindfulness on the backseat when dealing with offenders.
Sara is from the Allegany County Probation Department where she serves as a specialized officer. She has 13 years’ experience as a probation officer, dealing with domestic violence and facilitating their DV offender program. Sara’s expertise is on high-risk DV cases, sexual assault response, and strangulation prevention.
Specifics she delved into this course include:
- The three major mindlessness mishaps that people often commit when dealing with offenders.
- The myth that offenders don’t have trauma and two studies that highlight the correlation between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Potentially Traumatic Events (PTE) to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and Domestic Violence (DV).
- The importance of looking at the bigger picture when it comes to probation where the goal is not merely holding offenders accountable but also positively changing their behavior.
- The rhetorical question ‘Who does that to their family, anyway?’ pertaining to offenders addressed by two researches that studied the origin of violence and attributions for IPV.
- The two major types of IPV perpetrator based on who they victimize and other characteristics.
- The type of offender an individual will become based on the type of violence witnessed during childhood.
- Different attributes/traits related to IPV and reasons for committing IPV.
- The common misnomer that DV offenders are incapable of change and the study that proves otherwise.
- The specific objective of probation to initiate behavioral change to offenders.
- Unpacking the offenders’ positive and negative reactions as well as conciliatory behaviors after perpetrating IPV.
- A case example that demonstrates how an offender wants to change his life’s circumstances.
- Viewing violence as a continuum instead of a cycle.
- There are no periods of relative peace or safety and points where the blow out takes place.
- Some type of abuse or manipulation continues to transpire even in the calmer ‘honeymoon’ phase.
- The importance of probation officers to get to know the offenders thoroughly in an attempt to be a step ahead of them due to their erratic nature, thinking errors, and impulsivity.
- Offender tactics to gain control, power and manipulation over the victims.
- Questions Sara addresses during the Q&A concerned:
- Using the ACEs Survey for offenders and probation clients.
- The link between traumatic experiences and animal abuse, and domestic violence and sex offenses.
- The common reasons why offenders commit DV.
- Including pets on protection orders.
- Practicing self-care as a probation officer.
Resources Mentioned During Webinar:
- “All the information was valuable to me but I learned that there are different ways of looking at each situation and I enjoyed attending this webinar and look forward to attending future webinars. Thank You.” –Vera
- “Good perspectives when working with offenders. So much emphasis and training have been on the victims. Thank you.” –Shari
- “I appreciate the reminder to attendees to check what they are experiencing when working with offenders. Ongoing personal inventory to check your objectivity is important.” –Zane
- “I found the webinar was very informative and will be useful in our practice.” –Jodi
- “I really enjoyed the anecdotal information regarding her direct experiences supervising the clients and tying it to the research. It was very impactful.” –Barbara
- “Mindfulness is key in this work and we need to be diligent in reminding ourselves to look at all possibilities.” –Julie
- “Sara is awesome!! Great information!!!” –Stephanie
- “Sara was fantastic. What I heard was very beneficial to me even though I do not have any offenders under my supervision, but I deal with a lot of victims every day. Thank you so much for your insight.” –Elana