Featured job: Highly Specialist Psychologist, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Hampshire Stalking Intervention Service.

Dr Kirsty Butcher, Principal Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead at the Hampshire Stalking Intervention Service, tells me: ‘It’s such an exciting programme… We can be really innovative, combining clinical work and emerging research to make a difference.’

‘The programme was originally one of three Home Office funded pilot projects in the UK, working specifically with stalking perpetrators. The Hampshire Service is now funded by NHS England until end of March 2021.’

‘We work with Hampshire Constabulary, Hampshire Probation Service, and Aurora New Dawn, a victim advocacy organisation, to identify stalking perpetrators and respond effectively to them. We provide a mental health perspective to the work the police undertake with these perpetrators, including their investigations. We offer expert consultancy to health and criminal justice agencies working with stalking perpetrators in areas such as risk assessment and psychological formulation. If a stalking perpetrator has mental health needs, we work collaboratively with their health teams, promoting psychologically informed understanding and management of the stalking behaviour. In a small number of instances we work directly with the offender.’

You’ve offering specialist training for this very specific role. What would a successful candidate bring to the team? ‘They can be a forensic or clinical psychologist but ideally would have experience working with personality disordered offenders, as there appears to be a high prevalence of personality disorders among stalking perpetrators; experience of working with those with learning difficulties and on the autistic spectrum would also be beneficial. As there will be some direct work, the person must be experienced in a specialised psychological therapy. They will also have good communication skills to be effective in a multi-disciplinary context. We’re a small team and meet regularly but have to work independently. There’s a reasonable amount of travel involved since we cover Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.’

You’re obviously very enthusiastic about the programme. ‘It’s the best job. You can be innovative, make a difference and there are opportunities to contribute to an evidence base, which at present, is still in its infancy. Stalking can take many forms and is motivated by different drivers. This work therefore requires the ability to use psychological formulation to understand the number of fascinating psychological processes that contribute towards it. An empathic approach to stalking behaviour (which is rooted in relational and attachment issues) is imperative. We work at an individual and service level, aiming to influence responses and policies across agencies and hope that our ground-breaking work will, in time, affect national initiatives. It’s a very exciting service to be involved in.’

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