Latest News

Lauren supports program tackling abusive behaviour to foster healthy relationships

22 December, 2022

UWA student and McCusker Centre for Citizenship intern Lauren Chou has contributed 100 hours towards a valuable program at Communicare that aims to prevent domestic violence by providing perpetrators of abuse with the opportunity to undertake intensive work to develop healthier relationships.

Lauren, who is studying Psychological Science and Behaviour with a second major in Criminology, was matched to the internship role at Communicare in Armadale and tasked with developing a comprehensive booklet to support the organisation’s ‘Choose Change’ program.

“The first week I was a bit nervous, but I quickly overcame those feelings as my supervisor and team were so helpful and willing to answer any questions I had,” said Lauren.

“I worked on updating a manual for perpetrators of domestic violence. It is a 100-page booklet that the men and women use in the 9-week Choose Change program,” said Lauren.

The Choose Change program is a voluntary early intervention program that involves participants developing awareness and skills surrounding non-abusive behaviour, challenging unhelpful ways of thinking, developing emotional management skills and empowering individuals to take responsibility for their own actions.

“I also was able to sit in on 1-on-1 counselling sessions with my co-workers and their clients. I was welcomed and felt like part of the team the moment I stepped through the doors - I was invited to networking lunches, team meetings, and even a tour of the local police station,” said Lauren.

Lauren says the internship experience has affirmed her goal to follow a career in psychology and criminology where she can help make a positive impact on the community.

“My internship opened my eyes to my future field of work. It’s one thing to sit at university, writing essays and lab reports, but to see it out in practice was amazing, knowing that I have made the right choice with my degree,” said Lauren.

“I was able to speak with other organisations and companies at a networking event in which I was invited to tour their centres to get an in depth understanding of what they do,” she said.

“Additionally, it has opened my eyes to how much volunteers can make a difference. Even those who can commit to a couple of hours a week can make such a change in their communities,” said Lauren.

The Communicare team were so impressed with Lauren’s support on the Choose Change program that they have been able to provide Lauren with further experience in this field.

“It has been such an easy process to onboard Lauren through the McCusker Centre for Citizenship Internship Program,” said Communicare Volunteer and Student Placement Advisor, Lesley Lord.

“She was always quick with her replies to my emails and sent through all documentation when requested. We are very excited to announce that Lauren has now secured casual employment with us,” said Lesley.

Lauren said she would “absolutely 100%” recommend the McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship program to other students.

“The internship is such a fantastic opportunity to get involved in your local community and learn about other volunteering organizations in your area or even nationwide,” said Lauren.