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.
Leaked Incident Reports Detail Abuse and Desparation in Nauru Detention Centre
Last Wednesday, The Guardian Australia published over 2000 leaked incident reports in an online database, sparking national discussion around the treatment of asylum seekers on Nauru. The reports, spanning from May 2013 to October 2015, detailed cases of self-harm, attempted suicide, assaults, and sexual abuse. Perhaps most disturbingly, over half of the 2,116 reports involved children, despite them making up only 18% of the population in detention there. These reports included 7 cases of sexual assault, 59 assaults, 30 incidents of self-harm and 159 of threatened self-harm, all involving children. Many of the reports also expose serious mistreatment of asylum seekers by staff members, from staff asking detainees for sexual favours to physically assaulting them.

These leaked reports provide a harrowing insight into life on Nauru that most Australians do not see, especially given the difficulty journalists face in accessing media visas to the island, which cost $8000 per application. They also reveal a significant number of alleged abuses by staff which had not been previously disclosed in a senate inquiry last year, despite the leaked documents now detailing the incidents and in some cases even the identities of the officers involved.

Amnesty International's Senior Director for Research Anna Neistat has responded to the reports by stating that "this leak has laid bare a system of 'routine dysfunction and cruelty' that is at once dizzying in its scale and utterly damning for the Australian authorities who tried so hard to maintain a veil of secrecy." Others, including Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs, have called for Royal Commissions into institutional sexual abuse or the recent abuses within the Northern Territory Juvenile Justice system to be expanded to include children in offshore detention centres. However, others, such as Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, have argued instead that "Nauru is not part of Australia so this is an issue for the Nauruan Government". The Labor party is expected to push for another senate inquiry into the alleged incidents when Parliament resumes on the 30th of August.

The full database of incident reports can be found online here.
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Upcoming Events
Baroness Jean Corston lecture: 'Women in the Criminal Justice System: More often troubled than troublesome'

Date: 13 September, 5:30pm
Location: University of Sydney, NSW

After the death of six women who were incarcerated at HMP Styal in the UK in 2003, The Right Honourable Baroness Corston published a 2007 report about women in the criminal justice system. This became known as the Corston Report. The Report focused on the diversion of women offenders and potential offenders away from criminal behaviour through the provision of women-focused policy and services.

The UK Government implemented 41 of the 43 recommendations in the Corston Report. The main outcome has been the expansion of community justice centres, as an alternative to prison. These 'one-stop-shops' for female offenders have been implemented to reduce recidivism and deter criminal behaviour by addressing the social, health and welfare issues that are unique to women.
In her Distinguished Speakers lecture, Baroness Corston will speak on the background to her report, the findings and recommendations, and developments in policy and practice in the subsequent nine years since the report's release.

Registration (inc.GST)*
Full fee = $15
University of Sydney alumni = $10
Full time student = $10
*Cost includes cocktail reception following the lecture

Registration will commence at 5.30pm, for a 6-7pm lecture followed by a cocktail reception. For more information and to register, please visit our website.

Domestic Violence: applying research to policy, prevention and practice

Date: 6 September, 5pm
Location: RMIT University, Melbourne

Domestic and family violence is increasingly recognised as an urgent social and human rights problem. In Australia, a woman is murdered every week by a current or former partner, and every day women and children are living in fear of violence in their homes. National research further shows that one in six women have experienced physical or sexual violence from a male partner or former partner.

This public forum brings together representatives from government agencies, domestic violence response and policy sectors, in conversation with RMIT researchers and educators on domestic violence and the need for social change. This is a discussion on challenges of addressing domestic violence and the role of collaborative and applied research in creating a society where women are equal and can live free of fear.  

At 5pm there will be pre-forum drinks and the launch of GeVARA – the RMIT University Gendered Violence and Abuse Research Alliance. GeVARA is a network of applied researchers at RMIT University bringing together their expertise to address issues including: domestic violence, family violence, rape and sexual assault, gender-based stalking, sexual harassment and sex discrimination.

This is a free public event. For more information and to register, please visit the event webpage.

Working with Domestic Violence Offenders Course

This training course is to equip those interested in a career in the criminal justice system (including criminology students or students from related disciplines) with industry-relevant knowledge and skills. The training is designed to provide participants with the appropriate skills and knowledge to work effectively with domestic violence offenders and effect behavioural change and manage personal development in the field.

This criminology course will assist you to:

  • work within a domestic violence framework.
  • promote confidence with clients affected by domestic violence.
  • identify and respond to client needs.
  • develop and maintain professional competence.
  • establish and maintain professional relationships.
  • encourage personal responsibility.
  • monitor and review progress.

This criminology course will specifically provide participants with information and tool work with and manage domestic violence offenders. This course will be delivered by an accredited Corrective Services NSW Trainer. It will be especially relevant to anyone interested in a career in corrections or working with domestic violence perpetrators.

For more information and to register, please follow the link.

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Recent Publications
Asking (Different) Responsibility Questions: Responsibility and Non-Resposibility in Criminal Law
By Arlie Loughnan

Legal scholarly analysis of criminal responsibility is typically assumed to
encompass non-responsibility. This reflects the influence of the legal-philosophical tradition on the study of criminal responsibility, in which
responsibility and non-responsibility are alternative outcomes of the same moral-evaluative enquiry of calling individuals to account for their criminal conduct. This article questions that operative assumption. A close examination of four dimensions of responsibility and non-responsibility – the bases for ascription of criminal responsibility and non-responsibility, attendant rules of evidence and procedure, the temporal logics of responsibility and non-responsibility, and what I call the effects of ascribing responsibility and non-responsibility – reveals meaningful differences between responsibility and non-responsibility practices in criminal law. This article sketches out these differences and makes a case for taking them seriously, on the basis that doing so may serve as a corrective to existing scholarly accounts of criminal responsibility.

The article can be read in full here.
Self-inflicted deaths in Australian prisons

By Matthew Willis, Ashleigh Baker, Tracy Cussen and Eileen Patterson

The AIC has operated the National Deaths in Custody Program since 1991, following a recommendation by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. This study updates and extends an earlier AIC study, which examined the important issue of self-inflicted deaths in prison custody using deaths in custody data for the period 1999–2013. Regrettably, suicide remains a common cause of death in prison; however, it is no longer the most common cause of death. While self-inflicted deaths constituted half of all prison deaths between 1980 and 1998, they have declined to the point that between 2004 and 2013—the
most recent decade for which data are available—they represented around a quarter of prison deaths. This decrease reflects the considerable progress made by corrective services administrators in developing policies and practices, and implementing cell designs, that address suicide risk factors. Nonetheless, these data and coronial findings suggest there is still room for improvement, particularly in responding to prisoners with psychiatric needs and in the management of unsentenced prisoners. 

The report can be found on the AIC website here.

The reporting experiences and support needs of victims of online fraud
By Cassandra Cross, Kelly Richards & Russell G Smith

Although fraud has been practiced throughout history, the advent of the internet has created new and effective avenues for targeting potential victims. Victims of online fraud experience substantial financial and other harms, resulting in annual losses in Australia of more than $2b, significant organisational disruption and devastating human suffering. Prior research in this area has generally been conducted through victim surveys and the analysis of official administrative datasets, but little research has involved speaking with victims of online fraud about their experiences.

This paper presents the results of in-depth interviews conducted with a sample of 80 individuals from across Australia who lodged complaints of online fraud involving losses of $10,000 or more over the preceding four years. Their stories illustrate the financial impact of fraud and the emotional, psychological, interpersonal and physical impacts of their victimisation. They also document the barriers they faced in reporting these crimes. The paper concludes by identifying the support needs of victims of online fraud.

The full report can be found here.

Imposition and implementation of the social conduct order for juvenile offenders
By Plaisier, J., Knijnenberg, M., Pollaert, H., and Straaten, I.

This recent publication of the Ministry of Security and Justice of the Netherlands may be of particular interest for those following the recently announced Royal Commission into Northern Territory Youth Detention.  The full report has been published in the Dutch language, but an English summary is available here.

The paper examined the use of social conduct orders for juvenile offenders in The Netherlands. The Social Conduct Order is a custodial measure for juvenile offenders who have committed a serious crime or repeated criminal offences and who have psychological problems that require outpatient treatment. The measure is intended to stimulate  treatment by substituting the Social Conduct Order with detention if the juvenile in question does not cooperate. The measure was introduced in 2008, but is applied far less frequently than was originally expected, amounting to less than 1% of all sanctions for delinquents per annum. The study questions were:
  1. How often is a Social Conduct Order recommended, required and applied, and for what reasons is advice given by the Child Care Protection Board adopted – or not adopted – by the Public Prosecution Service and the Judiciary?
  2. What does the Social Conduct Order involve?
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Did you miss our Pharmacotherapies and Crime seminar last week?
The event podcast is now available online!

If you are unfortunately not able to attend our Institute events, you might like to visit our podcasts page where you can download the recordings of our seminars and public lectures. Our podcasts from 2009 onwards can all be found on our website here.

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Job Advertisements
Lecturer - QUT, Brisbane

The School of Justice, Faculty of Law, is seeking a talented Lecturer to contribute to the real world research and teaching undertaken at QUT. The school is a leader in high-impact interdisciplinary research in southern criminology and is home to distinguished international researchers, and the Crime and Justice Research Centre.

This is an opportunity to be a part of a collaborative academic team that involves:

-Supervising PhD and honours students
-Teaching justice students and post-graduates
-Research and publication in line with the Crime and Justice Research
-Engagement with justice professionals

For more information, please contact the QUT Faculty of Law at +61 7 3138 2707 or law_enquiries@qut.edu.au

Senior Security Advisor - NSW Government, Sydney
Transport NSW has an exciting opportunity for a Security Advisor Security Risks and Standards to be a part of their Service Delivery and Performance team. This position plays a key role assisting in the development of strategies, plans and priorities to address and mitigate identified transport security risks through analysis, development and dissemination of risk and security assessments to identify transport related threats and vulnerabilities in both systems and specific facilities.

The Senior Advisor Security Risk and Standards contributes to the overall customer experience by conducting security risk assessments and developing plans to mitigate the identified risks across the transport portfolio. In addition, this role is responsible for developing security standards across Transport for NSW, as well project manage specific and dedicated security and security standards projects as required. 

They are looking for someone with the ability to identify vulnerabilities and mitigate security risks, with experience in implementing security risk assessments, developing and maintaining strong collaborative working relationships with various operating agencies to ensure coordinated prevention/response capabilities, strategies and plans that align to threat can be implemented across a wide range of areas within the Transport Portfolio.

For more information, please follow the link.
Evaluations Officer - Corrections Victoria, Melbourne

The Evaluation Officer role is located within the Evaluation Unit of the Information Management and Evaluation Branch. This Branch leads, develops and delivers Corrections Victoria research and evaluation activities, and oversees information management functions.

Reporting to the Manager, Information Management and Evaluation, the key purpose of this role is to support the development of a strong evidence base for policy development through robust evaluation of correctional programs and policies. Stakeholders who the successful incumbent will deal with include correctional locations, Justice Health, the Courts, Crime Prevention (departmental stakeholders), and agencies delivering programs to prisoners and offenders.

For more details, please follow the link.

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