Kara FVS news
March 18, 2021

Dr Ilsa Evans: Educating emerging family violence practitioners

18 March 2018

Field placement has long been an integral part of vocational education and training for those intending to work anywhere across the family violence sector. Dr Ilsa Evans - Member Management Committee

It offers students applied work experience, networking opportunities and a greater understanding of how professionals operate across the sector. It also hones the skills required to effectively facilitate independent learning while providing, crucially, a platform for students to link class-based theory with actual practice. The vital importance of field placement is recognised by both the Australian Council of Community Workers (ACWA) and the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW).

Each year Kara House offers a number of placement positions to students who are undertaking related courses, such as the Diploma of Community Services or the Bachelor of Social Work. The students are allocated to the mentorship of a staff member on a rotating basis, under the auspices of Kara House’s Specialist Senior Family Violence Practitioner Jen. About the program, Jen says “Kara House offers the student an insight into intensive crisis case management and risk assessment and allows the student the opportunity to interact directly with clients impacted by family violence.”

A significant proportion of these students come from Chisholm Institute of TAFE in the south-east, and a mutually beneficial relationship has been built over the past five years. An indication of the program's success is that all recent students have since gained employment within the broader community services sector, and most within the family violence sector itself. As the most recent placement student, Lea, says “Kara House provided me with the appropriate knowledge, skills and attitude to be able to work within Family Violence.” About to graduate from her diploma Lea is an excellent example of the vital role of student placement.

Fully-supported supervision and the willingness of the staff at Kara House to share their time and knowledge has been the bedrock of the program’s success. In this, they do not just benefit both organisations involved but the sector as a whole.

Family Violence can be a challenging area within which to work and operate, and it is imperative that newly emerging workers have an understanding of the procedures, protocols and practice as well as the values and philosophies of the sector as a whole. Kara House is to be congratulated for playing their part so ably in this regard.
Dr Ilsa Evans is Group Coordinator in the Community Services at Chisholm Institute

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