Phoenix Australia works with organisations whose staff may be exposed to trauma as part of their work, assisting them to reduce the risk and minimise the impact of potentially traumatic events.
Over the last two years, Phoenix Australia has worked with the Australian Border Force (ABF) to develop and deliver the Graduated Viewing Program – a training program for ABF Investigations Officers who need to view and classify objectionable material. This material may include footage of acts of child exploitation and abuse. ABF officers who deal with this type of subject matter may be at risk of distress and mental injury. The training equips officers with resilience skills, to ensure harm is minimised or avoided.
Prior to developing the training, Phoenix Australia comprehensively reviewed the ABF’s existing training and wellbeing support materials, and consulted with experienced investigators.
The Graduated Viewing Program was developed by Jane Nursey, Meg Dennison, Alex Howard and Andrea Phelps from Phoenix Australia in collaboration with ABF’s Inspector Vesna Watt and Senior Investigator Greg Marsh. The training program ensures that strategies are in place for pre-exposure preparedness, and provision of support at the time of, and following, exposure to the objectionable materials.
Over 80 ABF investigators around Australia have now received training. All workshops have been jointly facilitated by Phoenix Australia’s Jane Nursey alongside Inspector Watt and Senior Investigator Marsh who both recently received leadership awards from the ABF for their roles in developing and implementing this important program. Upon receiving his award, Greg Marsh said that, “It is very satisfying that the program is getting the recognition it deserves. We have received positive feedback from the investigators we have trained, and knowing that we are helping to build their resilience in dealing with such a difficult task is extremely satisfying”.
For Vesna Watt, the Graduated Program is “something that I am proud of. We’re making the work environment a better place”.
The program has drawn attention from external agencies, with similar high risk organisations making enquiries about accessing the training. Jane Nursey said that in working with the ABF, “We were able to utilise our knowledge of and expertise in translating the research on risk and resilience factors into practical strategies that will help mitigate the risk for ABF staff”.