Alcohol Treatment Matrix cell B5: Practitioners; Safeguarding the community

2020/21 update funded by

Alcohol Change UK web site. Opens new Window

Alcohol Change UK



Previously also funded by

Society for the Study of Addiction web site Society for the Study of Addiction

Developed with

Skills Consortium web site. Opens new window

Alcohol Treatment Matrix

Effectiveness Bank Alcohol Treatment Matrix

Includes brief interventions

Drug Treatment Matrix

Effectiveness Bank Drug Treatment Matrix

Includes harm reduction

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Practitioners; Safeguarding the community

Key studies on the impact of the treatment practitioner on safeguarding the community, families and children, and their influence in criminal justice contexts. Explores whether exceptional abilities are needed to forge productive therapeutic relationships in these situations, and invites you to ‘stress test’ a proposed universal rule: The trickier the situation, the more the worker matters.


S Seminal studiesK Key studiesR ReviewsG Guidancemore Search for more studies

Links to other documents. Hover over for notes. Click to highlight passage referred to. Unfold extra text Unfold supplementary text

K Relationship with therapist seems more important for offenders than other clients (2008). At a Canadian substance use rehabilitation centre, seeing their therapist as understanding and involved was related to whether patients under criminal justice supervision/pressure completed treatment, and the relationship was stronger than for other clients. Alcohol was the most common problem use substance. For discussion click and scroll down to highlighted heading.

K Client-centred supervision motivates UK offenders ([UK] Ministry of Justice, 2014). Survey of offenders who started community sentences in 2009 to 2010 in England and Wales found they generally had good relationships with their offender manager. Nearly three-quarters with an identified alcohol-related need had discussed this with their offender manager; of these, just over half found the discussions “very useful”, the highest of all the identified needs. Offender managers who holistically addressed offenders’ multiple needs seemed to motivate them to make positive changes in their lives. For related discussion click and scroll down to highlighted heading.

K ‘Not my job’ perception and lack of confidence impede assessment of domestic violence (2016). Interviews with stakeholders suggest that staff in substance use treatment services in England often lack the skills or confidence to ask patients about their intimate relationships and violence between partners, and they may not see making these enquiries as part of their job. Guidelines arising from the research below. For related discussion click and scroll down to highlighted heading.

K Mothers in Wales see staff support as critical to child welfare and keeping families together (Welsh Assembly Government, 2008). Evaluation of a Welsh service which worked intensively over a few weeks with problem substance-using parents (their problems mainly involved alcohol) on the drink of proceedings which could lead to their children being removed from the home. See also later evaluation (2012) of the same service. In both reports, mothers powerfully testified to the impact of individual staff. For discussion click and scroll down to highlighted heading.

R Supervising offenders is about the quality of the relationship (2002). Download is the whole issue of the journal. The featured article starts on page 16, numbered 14. It reviews evidence on how to plan and implement crime-reduction programmes for substance-using and other offenders, including desired skills and attributes for supervision staff. Highlights the importance of the quality of contacts with offenders. Associated supervision manual below. For discussions click here and here and scroll down to highlighted headings.

R Best practice in working with substance users in the criminal justice system (Australian Government, 2005). Includes desired/required working styles and attitudes and understandings among treatment and criminal justice staff.

R Can motivational interviewing work in criminal justice settings? (2005). Asks whether the contradictions of at the same time helping and punishing, controlling and being client-centred (‘motivational arm-twisting’), undermine motivational interviewing’s ethos and effectiveness. For discussions click here and here and scroll down to highlighted headings.

G Manual for research-based offender supervision (2005). How probation and other supervision staff can motivate behaviour change and manage offenders’ behaviour instead of merely monitoring it, drafted by a team led by the author of a review listed above. For discussions click here and here and scroll down to highlighted headings.

G Working with men who physically abuse their partners (2015). Based partly on research in England, key capabilities (knowledge, attitude and values, ethical practice, skills and reflection and professional development) for staff treating the substance use problems of men who commit intimate partner violence. Associated study from same project above.

more Retrieve all relevant Effectiveness Bank analyses or search more specifically at the subject search page. See also hot topic on the influence of treatment staff.

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