Saturday, September 4, 2010

Australian Psychological Society: Psychological components of the Australian Federal Police’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer Network

By Warrick Arblaster MAPS
Psychologist, International Deployment Group
Australian Federal Police

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is committed to service and support the diversity of the Australian community and AFP members. In 1996, it established a network of Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers (GLLOs) to support the Australian gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (GLBTI) community. All GLLOs are volunteers and include both police and civilian (sworn and unsworn) staff, trained to deal sensitively with GLBTI issues and to be available to provide advice and support to members of the public as well as AFP personnel.


The Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer Training Program

The Training Program is designed to equip GLLO Network members with the skills to deal sensitively with GLBTI issues and to provide advice and support to members of both the public and AFP. The Training Program is conducted over three days and broadly covers the following areas:

 Diversity;
 Definitions, history, culture and GLLO history;
 Process of 'coming out';
 Gay hate and homophobia;
 Victims of crime;
 Human sexuality (sexual health and family planning);
 Sexual assault;
 Same sex domestic violence;
 Intersex;
 Transgender and transition in the workplace;
 HIV, hepatitis and OH&S issues;
 Beats;
 Support for GLLOs (psychological, spiritual and confidant network);
 Discrimination, harassment legislation and reporting mechanisms; and
 Role of GLLOs.

Experienced speakers, expert in their knowledge of the issues, either professionally and/or personally, deliver the various components of the Training Program. As demonstrated by the broad areas covered, there are many topics that have a psychological component and require participants to have a willingness to examine the topics from various perspectives, including practical aspects, philosophical, social and psychological.

Psychological components of the Training Program

The two components of the training that are delivered by an AFP psychologist include the process of 'coming out', and gay hate and homophobia. However, the psychologist is available to discuss and review with participants any psychological aspects of the other components. I am the psychologist currently delivering these aspects of the Training Program.

Sessions are as interactive as possible, challenging basic belief systems and attempting to give training participants an insight into how others may feel and see the world. As an openly gay male psychologist, I use the notions of honesty and trust, describing my personal reference point as a gay psychologist for the purpose of the training. Participants are asked to consider which 'reference point' they would describe themselves as having when interacting with GLBTI people. This is in the context of the previous session where participants have learnt that homosexuality was a mental illness, diagnosable and often punishable under law until 1974. This sets the scene for participants to consider the possible psychosocial impact on a person when a core, intrinsic part of their persona is questioned, doubted, diminished, and regarded as medically, legally and religiously wrong.
Read complete program:

The Australian Psychological Society

Street address
Australian Psychological Society
Level 11
257 Collins Street
Melbourne VIC

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