About the Australian Centre for Arson Research and Treatment
The Australian Centre for Arson Research and Treatment (ACART) has developed a modular manualised treatment program addressing the key criminogenic risk factors associated with firesetting. This program has been provided to qualified clinicians in various states and territories around Australia. It has been incorporated internationally in firesetter residential treatment programs and in Australian correctional facilities. Work continues in the area of juvenile and adult firesetting covering clinical formulation, risk assessment, treatment, and training of clinicians in treatment delivery and evaluation.
The ACART treatment program has been accredited by Queensland Corrective Services and, although it is currently a community based program, modifications are being made to deliver the program in correctional facilities with through care and aftercare components. ACART has provided training to clinicians across Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania, and Western Australia.
ACART is based at Bond University, Robina, Gold Coast, with clinicians available in selected locations interstate.
The treatment program takes place in two hourly sessions which are scheduled weekly or fortnightly. Approximately 18 sessions will be required in order to complete the program. Participants should be over the age of 14 years, with at least one incident of unauthorised firesetting. A criminal conviction for arson or a fire-related offence is not necessary.
The Bond University Psychology Clinic offers treatment at $25 for the initial assessment session and $15 for all subsequent sessions; all sessions are two hours in duration. Charges by other ACART trained practitioners may vary, with some offering Medicare bulk billing rates (if Medicare criteria are met) to cover the first 6 sessions; while other practitioners may charge a gap fee. Not all clients, however, will meet eligibility for Medicare psychological services. Clients are advised to check with their General Practitioners about the Medicare Mental Health Care Initiative.
Read the factsheet to find out more about the Medicare psychological services and eligibility criteria.
The ACART treatment program is continually being evaluated. We request that clients provide consent for their data to be included in the treatment evaluation. All data is held in strictest confidence, with no personal identifying information being recorded in the research database. Data consists of test scores from the psychological and personality questionnaires that are administered at the commencement of treatment, and again upon treatment completion. The treating clinician administers both the pre- and post-treatment assessments with their client. The client is then assigned an individual identification number for the purpose data collection and evaluation of test scores. Participation in the research evaluation is voluntary and refusal participate will not impact on clinical treatment services being offered to the individual.
The content of the ACART treatment program has been designed using the latest empirical literature relating to deliberate firesetting, including the Multi-Trajectory Theory of Adult Firesetting (M-TTAF; Gannon, Ò Ciardha, Doley, & Alleyne, 2012). The program is also underpinned by the Risk-Needs-Responsivity (Andrews & Bonta, 2006) framework of offender rehabilitation and the Good Lives Model (Ward, 2002).
The areas covered in the treatment program include:
- Values and goals
- Understanding my firesetting
- Examining and managing fire interest
- Fire safety awareness
- Mood and coping
- Communication and relationships
- Examining my thinking around firesetting
- Recognising personal risk factors
- Plans for the future