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Written by Katie Thomas
Carmel O’Brien is a Domestic Violence expert who released a new book “Blame Changer” at the end of last year. SCRA Australia recently hosted Ms. O’Brien for two Professional Development events: one in collaboration with the University of Notre Dame and the other with the National Mental Health Professionals Network. Ms. O’Brien is a distinguished speaker and in January 2017, received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her work with people who have lived with violence at home and her contribution to mental health and social welfare organisations. She has received a Menzies Award (2009) and the Australian Psychological Society (APS) Elaine Dignan Award for her contribution to women through her profession (2010). Carmel has initiated several community models of service provision including utilizing trained mentors to aid recovery, commencing a domestic violence prevention program for girls in schools, and starting a successful choir for survivors. She has launched two iPhone Apps (LiveFree and iMatter) delivering information to the public about domestic violence issues and healthy relationships. Ms. O’Brien’s book is a startling profile of the level and extent of Domestic violence within the Australian context. “Blame Changer” is ground-breaking in its communitarian and dignitarian response to Domestic Violence and the training was extremely well received and appreciated by all.
SCRA co-hosted the recent regional Community Psychology Conference “Critical Conversations.” The aims of the conference, as offered by Conference Chair Heather Gridley were, “To revisit the critical foundations of community psychology to promote critical reflexivity and identify opportunities for change. The theme of ‘critical conversations’ plays on the definitions of the term ‘critical’ in that the issues we discuss are urgent (time critical) as well as critical in the sense of looking at them through an alternative lens.” Keynote speakers were Professor Gavey (Aotearoa New Zealand) and Professor McDermott (Australia). Participants were privileged to hear Professor McDermott present a critical view on “Psychological praxis and Indigenous mental health and wellbeing” and Professor Gavey, “Critical Conversations on Pornography.” Ms. O’Brien was also a distinguished panel member at the event. The Conference was well attended and certainly met the organizers goals. SCRA ANZPacific offers a very special welcome to the new SCRA members who joined at the event.
We have new members as a result of the recent membership drive. If you are a current SCRA member and would be willing to maintain a collegial support system in your region please forward your name and contact details Katie Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org. This will be a great opportunity to set up some support and mentoring networks across the regions and will help us gain direction and momentum for the year ahead.