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The role of mental health services in our changing security environment

November 25, 2019 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

ANZAPPL Victoria Annual Lecture

There has been a global increase in lone actor attacks in recent years, and Australia and New Zealand have not been spared. This presentation will describe the current national security environment and the limitations of traditional policing responses. It will focus on the concept of lone actor grievance-fuelled violence, including lone actor terrorism.

The presentation will highlight the non-causal role of mental illness and related vulnerabilities in lone actor terrorists, apolitical mass murderers and fixated persons, the roles and responsibilities of mental health practitioners in mitigating the threat posed, and the increasing need for multi-agency cooperation to achieve the best outcome for these individuals and the wider community.

Professor Michele Pathé is a forensic psychiatrist at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health (Forensicare), Professor of Forensic Psychiatry at Swinburne University of Technology and Clinical Lead at the Victorian Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (VFTAC). Professor Pathé was a member of the multi-national Fixated Research Group commissioned by the British Home Office to investigate the threat posed to the British Royal Family and politicians by fixated persons. This project culminated in the establishment of the world’s first FTAC in the UK in 2006, a joint police-mental health intelligence agency for assessing and managing fixated persons.

Professor Pathé has since played a key role in setting up Australia’s first FTAC in Queensland (QFTAC) in 2013 and its later expansion to address lone actor grievance-fuelled violence more broadly. This received an Australian Crime and Violence Prevention National Gold Award in 2017. Prof Pathé consulted to the AFP in the establishment of its Fixated Threat Assessment model for high office holders in Canberra, and provided consultation and training to fixated threat capabilities in other Australian jurisdictions and New Zealand. She has consulted widely to health, law enforcement and security personnel in relation to stalking, public figure fixation, lone actor terrorism and other forms of grievance-fuelled violence. She has co-authored risk assessment tools, three books and 100 journal articles and book chapters. In 2018 she received a Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Association of Threat Assessment Professionals.

Time: 5.30pm for networking drinks and branch AGM
6.00 – 7.30pm for the annual lecture
Date: Monday 25 November

Venue: Treasury Theatre, Lower Plaza
1 Macarthur Street, Melbourne, 3000

This is a free event. Click here to register.


Treasury Theatre
Lower Plaza, 1 Macarthur Street
Melbourne, Victoria 3000 Australia
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