14 March 2016
CrimNet
Sydney Institute of Criminology
CrimNet is an electronic criminal justice information network, sponsored by the Sydney Institute of Criminology. It aims to fulfil the need for a means of regular and instant communication between criminal justice professionals, practitioners, academics and students in Australia and overseas.
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Criminal Courts Australia, 2014 - 2015
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has recently released Criminal Courts, Australia, 2014 - 15. The annual publication contains national information on defendants finalised in the Higher (Supreme and Intermediate), Magistrates' and Children's criminal courts between 1 July and 30 June each year. Details are provided on the characteristics and outcomes of finalised defendants, and are also presented for each state and territory, and for each of the three court levels.

There were 588,167 defendants finalised in Australian state and territory criminal courts in 2014–15, an increase of 2% (9,015 defendants) compared with 2013–14. This represented a return to similar levels as those in 2010–11. The number of younger defendants (10-19 year olds) finalised in Australian state and territory criminal courts decreased by seven per cent (4,788 defendants) in 2014-15.

The number of defendants finalised in Australian state and territory criminal courts for Illicit drug offences is at the highest level in the past five years. There were 59,341 defendants finalised with a principal offence of Illicit drug offences in 2014-15, an increase of 51 per cent (20,032 defendants) on 2010-11 figures.
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Recent Publications
Assessing the utility of Project STOP in reducing pseudoephedrine diversion to clandestine laboratories
Jason Ferris, Madonna Devaney, Lorraine Mazerolle and Michelle Sparkes-Carroll 

The findings of this report from the Australian Institute of Criminology show Project STOP has demonstrated its utility for pharmacists in determining the legitimacy of requests for PSE-based medication, with 95 percent of Queensland pharmacies currently using it. When used consistently and appropriately, Project STOP reduces the amount of PSE-based medication leaving pharmacies for methamphetamine production. The research also highlights the challenges of attempting to curtail methamphetamine production in Australia and suggests new directions for research to better address these.

Is Big Data challenging criminology?
Janet Chan and Lyria Bennett Moses

The advent of ‘Big Data’ and machine learning algorithms is predicted to transform how we work and think. Specifically, it is said that the capacity of Big Data analytics to move from sampling to census, its ability to deal with messy data and the demonstrated utility of moving from causality to correlation have fundamentally changed the practice of social sciences. Some have even predicted the end of theory—where the question why is replaced by what—and an enduring challenge to disciplinary expertise. This article critically reviews the available literature against such claims and draws on the example of predictive policing to discuss the likely impact of Big Data analytics on criminological research and policy.

Read the full article here.

Fraudsters change tactics as a crackdown cuts some losses due to online scams
Cassandra Cross

This article published in The Conversation states that reports of a drop in the number of people caught in online fraud is to be welcomed, but scammers are already changing their plans to bypass existing safeguards.
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Upcoming Events
Sexual Violence: New and Persistent Challenges, Monash University Criminological Horizons Annual Lecture

Sexual violence and exploitation is a significant and serious ongoing social problem. With the evolution of advanced technologies, we are witnessing new and persistent challenges emerging in how we can best respond, prevent and address the significant harms caused by sexual violence, alongside modern mechanisms and outlets for “achieving justice” for victim-survivors. Despite the introduction of a variety of wide-ranging law reforms and extensive education campaigns, dissatisfaction with the criminal justice system in responding to sexual violence and disillusionment with ongoing, misguided social attitudes towards individuals experiencing these harms, has not abated. 

This forum, facilitated by TV and radio broadcaster, and social connector and satirist, Libbi Gorr, brings together leading sexual violence and gender researchers, support advocates and practitioners, to reflect on the new and persistent challenges inherent to sexual violence and exploitation in a contemporary, technology-facilitated world.

The panel includes:
Dr Nicola Henry, La Trobe University
Dr Anastasia Powell, RMIT
Kelly Thomas, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers
Patrick Tidmarsh, Specialist Development Unit, Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team, Victoria Police
Carolyn Worth, South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault

Date: Wednesday 6 April
Time: 12pm - 2pm
Location: Village Roadshow Theatrette, Victoria State Library - 328 Swanston Street.

RSVP here.

Call for Papers - European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control

The 44th Annual Conference of the European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control will be held in Braga, Portugal. Although economic crisis is a global phenomenon, southern countries of Europe have been particularly affected. In Portugal, for example, quality of life has considerably decreased and the crisis has intensified exclusion, homelessness, emigration and enforced poverty.  

Taking into account the different realities of the crisis in the countries of the global north and south, this conference calls for papers exploring various manifestations of the crisis in different sectors of the criminal justice system and other public services.

  • When: 1 - 3 September 2016
  • Where: University of Minho, Braga, Portugal.
The conference organisers welcome papers on themes which reflect the general values and principles of the European group. Please forward short abstracts of 150 - 300 words to the relevant stream coordinators by 31 March 2016. For information on the conference themes, please visit the European Group website.
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Job Advertisements
Research Assistant, Flinders University

The purpose of this position is to provide research assistance to the Judicial Research Project, a national socio-legal research project involving courts and judicial officers in Australia. The successful applicant will have primary responsibility for data management
 and data analysis, using SPSS, NVivo, Excel and other appropriate software, as well as literature searches and assistance with publications and presentations. More information about this position is available here.

  • Location:  Flinders University, Adelaide, Bedford Park campus
  • Salary:  Level $63,302 to $70,064 pa full-time
  • Employment type: Fixed-term, part-time (0.4-0.6FTE). 
Available from 31 March 2016 to 31 January 2019 with possibility of renewal.
  • Closing date: 11:00am, Monday 21 March 2016

Contact: Sharyn.roachanleu@flinders.edu.au for more information.

Family violence and the law: call for expressions of interest in postgraduate research

Despite successive law reform efforts over the last 40 years, Australian women and children still are at greatest risk of physical and sexual violence in the home and at the hands of males they know. 

Outstanding graduates with first class Honours (or equivalent) in law or criminology are invited to discuss suitable PhD or Masters topics with the supervision team with a view to securing an APA Scholarship ($26,288 p/a). Potential areas of research include:

  • The ability of new legislative schemes in Australia to address different forms of family violence, such as child sexual abuse, elder abuse, and crimes of violence perpetrated by adolescent children (e.g. against their parents or siblings);
  • Implications of extending the reach of the criminal justice system (eg resource strains on remand);
  • Human rights and common law rights for both perpetrators and victims;
  • Criminal procedure.

Topics may be investigated through the lens of doctrinal legal research, empirically-based criminological research, or a combination of approaches. The successful candidate will be assisted to produce high-quality publications and to tailor their project to advance their career interests in academia or policy formation. Distance research is feasible (based outside of Hobart), depending on alignment between the candidate's research skills and the topic.

The supervision team are very experienced socio-legal researchers and postgraduate supervisors. 

Dr Jeremy Prichard  
Associate Professor Lorana Bartels
Dr Helen Cockburn

To discuss your interest in this topic, contact Jeremy.Prichard@utas.edu.au

Senior Investigations Office - Criminal Prosecutions, Legal Services Commissioner Victoria
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