Ashamed, devastated, they don’t want to be that person any more - how probation officer helps the violent to repair lives

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MEET the woman who deals with convicted sex offenders and violent partners every day.

Nadine Cook, from the West Yorkshire Probation Trust in Calderdale, has been a probation officer for 10 years and relishes the work she does trying to protect the public and cut crime.

On a typical day, she can be part of a telephone conference with a prison inmate, meeting other agencies to discuss an offender’s progress, carrying out one-to-one sessions with offenders and taking part in discussions on how to improve the probation trust.

“No two days are the same,” she said.

Her role is to help rehabilitate offenders so they do not commit more crime and says public safety is priority.

Often offenders that come to her are in crisis, needing help finding a home, a job, addiction support – or all three.

With domestic violence offenders, she will recommend one of three programmes of rehabilitation which vary in intensity depending on their offending.

These include group sessions or one-to-one work, depending on what will be most effective for the offender.

Some people they see will be in denial about what they have done, while others want to do whatever it takes to improve their behaviour.

“Some people who come to us are desperate to change,” she said.

“Some are so ashamed of themselves. You can see the humiliation and devastation.

“They’re mortified. They don’t want to be that person.”

Employment is one of the biggest challenges offenders face, said Nadine.

Their records can make them an automatic no, especially in the current financial climate.

But a job can provide much-needed structure in an offender’s life and the probation service has a specialist team to help them find work and show them how best to reveal their convictions to potential employers.

Nadine and her colleagues also encourage offenders to seek voluntary work.

She said ostracising and isolating offenders will not help prevent them committing more crime.

“It’s a very rewarding job and a really varied role,” she said.

“We’re helping people to be more independent and cope better and access the resources that are there.

“We want them to be able to lead normal lifestyles.”