Swinburne’s Dr Stephane Shepherd has won the American Psychology Law Society’s 2018 Saleem Shah Early Career Award for his work in identifying factors associated with offending and violence.
The Saleem Shah Award recognises early career excellence and contributions to the field of psychology and law with a focus on forensic practice, research or public policy.
Dr Shepherd, Senior Lecturer from Swinburne’s Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science (CFBS), says he is honoured to have won for a variety of reasons.
“First, to be recognised internationally by my peers in the field, second, to know that my work is having a global impact, and third to obtain an award named after Dr Saleem Shah who was a highly respected pioneer of law and mental health,” he says.
Identifying risks associated with violence
Dr Shepherd’s research identifies the risk and protective factors that are associated with offending and violence.
“I am interested in how these factors may differ due to an individual’s socio-cultural context,” he says.
“People who are at risk for criminal behaviour and violence often live in environments where they are less likely to have a strong support network, positive role models, opportunities for employment, encouragement to succeed at school and services to address complex needs.”
Dr Shepherd says that these environments may be connected to post-migration re-settlement challenges or a flow-on from historical circumstances.
“It is important that people who have contact with the justice system have access to mental health and rehabilitation services that meet their personal and cultural needs in order to help them successfully re-integrate back into their communities.”
His research informs efforts to prevent crime and improve the capacity of justice professionals to provide effective care for minority clients.
Swinburne history and support
Dr Shepherd credits Swinburne and the support of CFBS Director Professor James Ogloff for helping achieve this award.
“Professor James Ogloff, in particular, has been especially influential on my career. Swinburne has also provided me with support during several visiting scholar positions at overseas based universities over the past few years which has enabled me to develop an international profile,” he says.
Professor Ogloff was the first recipient of the Saleem Shah Early Career award in 1995 and praises Dr Shepherd for his achievement.
“Many previous award recipients have gone onto forge successful careers and have made significant impacts on the field. This is a great accomplishment for Stephane, recognising the early impact of his work,” says Professor Ogloff.
Dr Shepherd hopes the recognition from winning the award will give him greater opportunities for collaboration.
“The recognition from receiving this award allows for greater exposure of my work and increases the potential for collaboration with international researchers, government agencies and community organisations.”