Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science

Working with violence in adults and youth:

Effective clinical, welfare and legal strategies

A forthcoming international conference in Prato, Tuscany.

Conference dates: 30 September – 2 October 2019
Post-conference workshop: 3 October 2019

Prato, Tuscany, street scene

Violence is a serious and pervasive problem in both young people and adults. A concerning level of crime and disorder and the criminalisation of youth has broad social, legal, economic and health consequences. Crime and violence are often rooted in broader urban and social problems. Media and community responses call for more, and more authoritarian, sanctions. Australian prison populations have grown by almost 40% over five years, with higher rates of growth for female offenders. Such growth is unsustainable and unnecessary as intervention can lead to desistance from crime. Efforts to prevent violence and to understand and treat violent offenders come up against ‘get tough on crime’ approaches, which are often disaggregated and fail to address the ‘real world’ problems. A broad range of professionals are involved in such efforts but confront difficulties in achieving cooperation, with whole of government commitment.

This international conference brings together policy contributors, lawyers, clinicians, legal decision makers, advocates, and researchers to explore the phenomenon of violence from a cross-disciplinary perspective, focusing on clinical, welfare, and legal strategies to explore effective responses to addressing, intervening and preventing violent behaviour. The conference will be held at Palazzo Vaj, the Monash University Centre in Prato, Tuscany, which provides an exciting opportunity to meet in an inviting setting to share research, practice and policy developments that enable a critical examination of novel approaches to understanding and managing violence across the lifespan. This exciting conference is hosted by Professor James Ogloff AM (Swinburne University of Technology, Australia) and Professor Rosemary Sheehan AM (Monash University).

The conference will give particular attention to the following themes:

  • Understanding violence and offending
  • Exploring youth violence and anti-social behaviour
  • Family violence and child welfare
  • Gender and cultural effects
  • Legal reforms for managing violent offending
  • Advances in offending programs and approaches to desistance from violence
  • Mental illness, trauma, personality dysfunction, substance misuse and violence
  • Risk, intervention, diversion and decarceration approaches and policy

The conference will offer considerable opportunity for cross-national dialogue. Keynote speakers, presented papers and roundtable forums will address the conference aims.

The program is now available for download. Please note the program is subject to change. If you wish to be notified of updates, added to the mailing list, or have any queries, please contact us at info-cfbs@swinburne.edu.au.


Registration for the conference and workshops now open!

Keynote speakers

Judge Amanda Chambers

Judge Amanda Chambers is President of the Children’s Court of Victoria and a Judge of the County Court of Victoria.

She is a member of the Victorian Courts Council and sits on the Board of the Judicial College of Victoria.

Prior to her appointment as a Judge, she served as a Magistrate of the State of Victoria for more than eight years.

Professor Giovanni de Girolamo

Giovanni de Girolamo is the former Scientific Director of the St John of God Clinical Research Centre (IRCCS) in Brescia, Italy and current Head of the Unit of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Evaluation.

He is Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the Department of Psychology, Catholic University, Milan, and at the Residency Program in Psychiatry, University of Milan Bicocca. He has a very distinguished career and is a highly prolific research. His is leading research on mental illness and violence.

Judge Alice Grunenwald

Judge Alice Grunenwald imageJudge Alice Grunenwald has been a juge des enfants in France since 2001 deciding cases about child welfare concerns and children in conflict with the law. She is a member of the French Association of Juvenile and Family Judges and Vice Président of the European group of the International Association of Juvenile and Family Judges. 

In her work she regularly responds to cases involving family violence in child welfare, and contributes to policy and programme responses to protect children, reduce family violence and improve family outcomes.

Professor Fergus McNeill

Fergus McNeill is Professor of Criminology and Social Work at the University of Glasgow where he works in the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research and in Sociology.

Prior to becoming an academic in 1998, Fergus worked for a number of years in residential drug rehabilitation and as a criminal justice social worker. His many research projects and publications have examined institutions, cultures and practices of punishment and rehabilitation – and questions about their reform.

Professor Mark Olver

Mark Olver is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. Prior to his academic appointment, Mark worked as a clinical psychologist in various capacities, including providing assessment, treatment, and consultation services to young offenders in the Saskatoon Health Region and with adult federal offenders in the Correctional Service of Canada.

He has published more than 100 journal articles and book chapters and his research interests include offender risk assessment and treatment, young offenders, psychopathy, and the evaluation of therapeutic change.

He is co-developer of the Violence Risk Scale-Sexual Offense version (VRS-SO) and Violence Risk Scale-Youth Sexual Offense Version (VRS-YSO), and he provides training and consultation services internationally in the assessment and treatment of sexual, violent, and psychopathic offenders.

Professor James Ogloff AM

James Ogloff is Professor and Director of the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science at Swinburne University of Technology.

He holds a joint appointment as Executive Director of Psychological Services and Research in Victoria’s statewide forensic mental health service, Forensicare. He is training as a lawyer and psychologist and has worked in the field for more than 35 years, as an administrator, researcher and clinician. He leads the Catalyst Consortium to reduce persistent violence and sexual offending and he has a particular interest in contributing to decarceration and justice reinvestment efforts in Australia.  


The conference will run over three days, with keynote addresses and break-out sessions each day. Workshops will be held on the day after the conference.

AM Workshop

AM workshop

Presenter: Professor Mark Olver

Title: Evidence, Issues, and Current Practices in the Treatment and Management of Violent Offenders with Psychopathic Traits

Time: 9am to 12:30pm

This half day workshop provides a review and discussion of treatment issues and approaches with violent offenders, particularly those with psychopathic traits, in terms of interacting risk, need, and responsivity considerations. Service delivery implications are discussed to promote client retention, minimize attrition, and to help maximize the potential for treatment gains. Practical research findings to illustrate clinical applications will be presented and information and guidelines for working clinically with this population will be provided.

PM workshop

PM Workshop

Presenters: Dr Stefan Luebbers & Professor Rosemary Sheehan

Title: Working with children and adolescents who have been sexually abused

Time: 1pm to 4:30pm

This half day workshop will focus on key issues and the needs of children, adolescents and their families who have experienced sexual abuse in family contexts. A framework for screening and assessment considering brain behaviour, physiology, and family systems for healthy self-regulation and development will be presented. The workshop will provide practical advice on case formulation and intervention planning. Including discussion of therapeutic responses to problematic sexual behaviours among children and adolescents, as well as drawing on understandings of sex offender patterns to enhance protective planning and therapeutic care.

Social program

Welcome reception

Date and time: Monday 30 September, 5.00 – 6.30pm

Venue: Monash Centre

The fee is included for all delegates. Tickets for guests can be purchased for AUD$35 per person.

Conference dinner

Date and time: Tuesday 1 October, time TBC

Venue: Villa Medici ‘La Ferdinanda, located in the medieval village of Artimino.

The fee is included for all delegates. Guests are welcome to attend. Tickets can be purchased for AUD$125 per person.

Ferdinando I De’ Medici took residency of this magnificent villa with his whole court in 1594. Today, the UNESCO world heritage listed villa provides a tranquil setting for special functions. Delegates will be transported from the Monash University Prato Centre directly to the venue via bus.

Wine tasting tours

Monash Prato Centre recommends a number of wine tasting tours, tours can be organised by attendees. Please see the attached document for information and contact details of tour companies.


Registration now open. 

Venue and travel information


Monash University Prato Centre

Monash University Prato Centre
Palazzo Vaj
Via Pugliesi, 26
59100 Prato
(View Google map)

The Monash University Prato Centre is located on the ground and first floors of the elegant 18th century Palazzo Vaj on Via Pugliesi in the historic centre of Prato.

Prato, in northern Tuscany, is close to several of Europe's most significant cities and institutions, just twenty minutes from Florence and the European University Institute in Fiesole, one hour from Bologna—home to Europe's oldest university—two hours from Rome and three hours from Milan.

Florence airport is a fifteen minute drive from Prato's centre, where short flights can be taken to most major cities in Europe. 

Prato is on the major north-south railway line in Italy which links Rome with Milan, Turin, Munich and beyond.


Travel information

On foot

Palazzo Vai is located in the heart of the medieval centre of Prato, a 15 minute walk from the main train station Prato Centrale and a five minute walk from the secondary station, Prato Porta al Serraglio.

By air

Florence airport (Peretola) is approximately 25 minutes by car or 40 minutes by bus to Prato. Taxis and regular bus services run between Prato and Florence airport. A one-way taxi fare from Florence airport to the Monash Centre can cost 40-50 euro. Alternatively, there is a bus service operated by CAP bus company, which departs every 15 minutes, located just outside the airport area on the main street. Tickets can be purchased either from a newsagent (Tabacchi) or on board the bus. To arrive at the Monash Centre you are advised to get off in Via del Ceppo Vecchio, just before the castle (Castello dell'Imperatore), then continue on foot for a further three minutes. Major airlines operate out of Florence airport including Alitalia, British Airways, Air France, and Lufthansa.

Pisa airport is approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes to Prato by train, or 70 minutes by Terravision bus to Firenze Santa Maria Novella Station, Florence. Note that you need to change train twice when arriving from Pisa airport to Prato. Low cost airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet operate from Pisa airport.

Bologna airport is a 30 minute bus or taxi ride from Bologna train station.

Rome airport (Leonardo Da Vinci-Fiumicino) is a 45 minute train journey to Rome Termini train station and 3 hours by train to Prato. The route involves three train changes.

By train

Prato is a 25 minute train ride from Florence, approximately 50 minutes from Bologna an an hour and a half from Pisa. There are two train stations operating in Prato: Prato Centrale and Prato Porta al Serraglio. The train station closest to the Monash Prato Centre, Prato Porta al Serraglioand, is less than a five minute walk. View train timetables and purchase tickets online

By bus

The CAP bus company operates the Prato-Florence line and departs from outside the main Florence train station. If arriving at Prato Centrale railway station, you can take the LAM bus 'Direzione Nenni' to Piazza delle Carceri, bus stop 'Carceri 2', located 200 metres from the Monash Centre. View bus timetables (The CAP website is Italian only). 

By car

Take the A11 Firenze-Pisa freeway for approximately 8km (five minutes) and exit at Prato-Est. After the tollgate, keep to the left and head in the direction of Vaiano-Vernio for approximately 3km (four minutes) going through two underpasses. After the second underpass, turn right into Via Carlo Marx and continue straight towards the centre of Prato passing through three sets of traffic lights. Enter the city walls at Via Frascati and continue straight until Piazza dell'Imperatore. You will see a castle. Turn right onto Viale Piave where you will find metered (paid) streeting parking. There are larger parking bays in Piazza Mercatale and in Via Arcivescovo Antonio Martini.

If you wish to book a transfer from the airport or train station to Prato we recommend booking through Lenzi Autonoleggi using the attached booking form. Please note, correspondence regarding transfer bookings should be made directly with the transfer company.


Prato offers a variety of accommodation for different needs and budgets. Delegates are asked to arrange their own accommodation directly and well in advance. Prices are seasonal. Please contact hotels directly or consult their websites.

The Monash University Prato Centre has recommended a range of accommodation options within close proximity to the venue.

Visa and consular information

It is the responsibility of delegates to confirm visa requirements and make suitable arrangements. For further information, consult the Italian Embassy in your home country.

Italian Consulate General, Melbourne
509 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC 3004
Open: 9am–12pm weekdays, closed weekends
Phone: +61 3 9867 5744


Conference registration fees do not include insurance of any kind. We recommended you take out personal travel and medical insurance when you register for the conference and book your travel which includes loss or damage of personal possessions, including loss of hotel payments and registration fees through cancellation.

The conference organisers do not take responsibility for participants failing to arrange their own insurance.


The weather in Northern Italy in September is usually pleasant with an average high of 27°C/80°F and low of 15°C/59°F. Evenings are usually cooler. As variations in temperature can occur, we recommend you prepare for cooler and warmer weather.

View the local weather forecast and monthly statistics for Prato, Tuscany.

Contact us

Conference enquiries

Brett McIvor
Research Coordinator
Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science
Faculty of Health, Arts & Design
Level 1/582 Heidelberg Road, Alphington
Victoria 3078, Australia
Email: info-cfbs@swin.edu.au

Conference convenors

Professor Rosemary Sheehan AM
Department of Social Work
Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Monash University, Caulfield
Victoria 3145, Australia
Email: rosemary.sheehan@monash.edu

Professor James Ogloff AM
Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science
Faculty of Health, Arts & Design
Level 1/582 Heidelberg Road, Alphington
Victoria 3078, Australia
Email: cfbs-info@swin.edu.au