Reverend Habib is here to lend a listening ear

OUR police officers are often confronted with the worst humanity has to offer and it can leave them with psychological scars, says the new police chaplain at Farfield police.

Reverend George Habib said his role as a chaplain at the station would be to give the officers counselling to help them deal with the difficult times they experience.

He said his goal would be to provide continuing pastoral care and counselling for officers and their families.

"Police work can be very traumatic," Mr Habib said. "They are often dealing with very difficult situations and people who are not wanting to co-operate with them and they are under a lot of stress.

"I'm not going to be talking about religion — just listening to their concerns and providing counselling. If they want to discuss things from the point of view of religion, I will be happy to do that, but mostly I will be using standard counselling techniques."

Mr Habib said he had counselled several officers since he started at Fairfield police station, but that it took time for some officers to seek help.

"They need some time to feel comfortable with me, but I'm looking forward to building a relationship with them," he said. "Officers often have trouble opening up and seeking help, but their jobs can be very difficult, so it's important that this service is available to them."

A former pastor at Liberty Church Of Christ, Greenacre, Mr Habib migrated to Australia from Lebanon in 1997.

He said that chaplaincy services were available at all police stations across the state, but that Fairfield hadn't had a chaplain for several years.

Mr Habib said officers in Fairfield were not in a greater need of chaplaincy support than those in other areas.

"It's a stressful job wherever you are based and can cause a lot of trauma," he said."It's important for officers to have an outlet and to be able to talk to someone about it.

"One-on-one care and providing an ear to listen are my strengths and my passion is to see the broader community becoming more at peace with itself and one another."

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