Sydney Institute of Criminology
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The Hillsborough Inquests
On Tuesday 26 April 2016, after sitting through two years of evidence during the longest coronial hearing in English history, heard in the largest purpose-built courtroom in England, the Hillsborough Inquests jury returned from two weeks of deliberation to deliver their conclusions. They were tasked with answering 14 questions relating to the cause and circumstances of the deaths of 96 people who died as a result of the fatal crush at the Hillsborough Football Stadium, in Sheffield, England, on 15 April 1989 when they were attending the Football Association Cup Semi-Final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. The jury concluded that the 96 people who died were unlawfully killed. The jury also concluded that the behaviour of fans did not contribute to the dangerous conditions, rejecting police claims to the contrary, and that there were errors and omissions with regards to the police planning and preparation for the match, police response to the disaster, and the emergency services response.

The Hillsborough Inquests were the second inquests to investigate the Hillsborough deaths. The original inquests (1990-1991) were part of a constellation of numerous official investigations, reviews and inquiries into the disaster. Yet, despite an 11-year period of official scrutiny, many of the bereaved and the survivors did not feel the truth of Hillsborough had been made public. In 2009, MPs Andy Burnham and Maria Eagle advocated for the full public disclosure of information about Hillsborough, publicly supporting the Hillsborough Family Support Group’s 20-year campaign. The UK Government subsequently waived the 30-year rule protecting public records from disclosure, and in 2010 the UK Home Secretary appointed the Hillsborough Independent Panel, which included criminologist Phil Scraton, to oversee and manage the public disclosure of documents relating to the disaster, to consult with the Hillsborough families and work on archiving the documents. Phil Scraton was primary author of the Panel's report, which in 2012 revealed a catalogue of official failings including police alteration of statements, and the inadequacy of the inquest process, simultaneously dismantling the official ‘truth’ of Hillsborough, which had blamed the Liverpool fans for the fatal crush.

On 19 December 2012, the original Hillsborough inquests, at that point the longest in British legal history, were judged a failure when the High Court quashed the original inquisitions, allowing new inquests to be held. The new Hillsborough Inquests opened on 31 March 2014, before the Right Honourable Sir John Goldring, sitting as Assistant Coroner for South Yorkshire (East) and West Yorkshire (West), charged with establishing the causes and circumstances of the 96 Hillsborough deaths. That the families of the Hillsborough victims wanted the original verdicts overturned, as the number one priority, and for new inquests to be held, illustrates the signal importance of this aspect of the Hillsborough record. Ostensibly, with the conclusion of unlawful killing, after 27 years, the record has been corrected to achieve this crucial aspect of ‘justice for the 96’.

Professor Phil Scraton, who has produced notable academic work on Hillsborough, will be visiting Sydney in October 2016 as a guest of the University of New South Wales. 

The Sydney Institute of Criminology is pleased to announce that, as part of the Institute’s 50th Anniversary in 2016, Professor Scraton will be delivering a 50th Anniversary Lecture on the politics and challenges of critical criminological research. The lecture, entitled, ‘Bearing Witness to the 'Pain of Others': Frontiers of Research and Resistance’, will be held at the University of Sydney this Thursday 27th of October (please see the 'Upcoming Events' section below for more details, or email law.events@sydney.edu.au to register).

Dr Rebecca Scott Bray 
Director Sydney Institute of Criminology
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Upcoming Events
The Sydney criminology and criminal justice community are pleased to highlight the forthcoming visit of Professor Phil Scraton and Dr Deena Haydon to Sydney in October 2016

From the 25 to 31 of October, Professor Phil Scraton and Dr Deena Haydon, guests of UNSW, will be presenting at a series of events across Sydney:

LAST CHANCE: Tues 25 Oct, 2pm-5pm: Western Sydney University screening of Hillsborough: The Truth

This event is a screening of the film, Hillsborough, at the Western Sydney University’s Parramatta South Campus. This will be followed by a Q&A with Professor Phil Scraton, facilitated by Professor Dick Hobbs of Western Sydney University. To register, please contact SSAP-research@westernsydney.edu.au.
Wed 26 Oct, 2pm-4pm: UNSW Seminar, ‘A critical, rights-based approach to the demonisation, criminalisation and regulation of children and young people’, with Dr Deena Haydon and Professor Phil Scraton

Reflecting well-established critical analyses of the social and political constructions of ‘childhood’ and ‘youth’, this seminar addresses the interpersonal and material dynamics of marginalisation and regulation. It focuses on negative media representations, demonisation and criminalisation leading to punitive state interventions. Finally, it considers the development of critical approaches to children’s rights and their potential for securing an effective framework for change.

The event will be held in the Staff Common Room, Level 2 of the Faculty of Law building at UNSW Kensington. Participants are encouraged to read two background articles to inform the discussion. For copies of the articles, more information, and to register, please contact Vicki Sentas at v.sentas@unsw.edu.au.   

Thurs 27 Oct, 6pm-8pm: Sydney Institute of Criminology 50th Anniversary Lecture Series: ‘Bearing Witness to the 'Pain of Others': Frontiers of Research and Resistance’

In this 50th Anniversary Lecture, Professor Scraton will discuss the politics and challenges of critical criminological research. He will focus on the institutional contexts of marginalisation and criminalisation in the administration state power and authority. Drawing on in-depth documentary analysis and qualitative and observational research (the Hillsborough disaster; politics of incarceration; childhood in transition in Northern Ireland) the lecture explores the profound political, ethical and personal challenges involved in bearing witness to the ‘pain of others’. This research demonstrates how structural relations of power, authority and legitimacy establish the determining contexts of daily life, social interaction and individual opportunity. Focusing on the ‘view from below’, hearing testimonies from the margins, revealing institutionalised deceit and pursuing ‘truth recovery’, the lecture argues that in ‘bearing witness’ critical social research is transformative. It addresses ‘personal troubles’ as ‘public issues’ and seeks alternative accounts to secure ‘truth’ and acknowledgement.

To register for this lecture, and for more information, please visit our website.
Mon 31 Oct 6.30pm: UNSW lecture, ‘So, What? with Professor Phil Scraton - Hillsborough: Resisting Injustice, Recovering Truth’

In this lecture, Professor Scraton examines the disaster that occurred at Hillsborough Stadium on 15 April 1989 and claimed 96 lives. He chronicles the inquiries, investigations and court proceedings that systemically failed both the bereaved and the survivors, mapping their unrelenting campaign for truth. This lecture will be followed by a facilitated Q&A with Professor Eileen Baldry from UNSW Arts & Social Sciences. Registration and further information can be found here.
More about the visitors

Phil Scraton PhD is Professor of Criminology in the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast, and is Director of the Childhood, Transition and Social Justice Initiative. His primary research includes: controversial deaths and the state; the rights of the bereaved and survivors in the aftermath of disasters. He has written/ edited over 20 books, most recently The Incarceration of Women (co-authored with Linda Moore, Palgrave
Macmillan); Hillsborough: The Truth (Mainstream) and Beyond
September 11: An anthology of dissent
(Pluto); Power, Conflict and Criminalisation (Routledge). A founder member of Inquest, Professor Scraton was Director of The Hillsborough Project 1989-95, he was principal author of Hillsborough and After: The Liverpool Experience and No Last Rights: The Promotion of Myth and the Denial of Justice in the Aftermath of the Hillsborough Disaster. In 2010 he was appointed to head Hillsborough Independent Panel’s research and is primary author of its comprehensive report, Hillsborough: The Report of the Independent Panel (2012) The ESPN/ BBC documentary, Hillsborough, short-listed for an EMMY, is based on his work. In 2016 he received the Freedom of the City of Liverpool and Honorary Doctor of Laws of the University of Liverpool, his alma mater. 

Dr Deena Haydon is an independent research consultant and a member of the Childhood, Transition and Social Justice Initiative at Queen’s University Belfast. Dr Haydon’s main research interests include parenting and family support, youth justice, and children’s rights. Linking research, theory, policy and practice, her extensive experience of research/ consultation has included: conducting an independent review of the legislation of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (‘Putting Children First’ Alliance, 2006); consulting children and young people across Northern Ireland about their rights, to inform the Northern Ireland contribution to the 2007 UK Government Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CYPU, 2007); authoring the 2008 Northern Ireland NGO Alternative Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and Additional Information (Save the Children NI and Children’s Law Centre, 2007-2008); developing a Background Paper to inform the Manifesto for Youth Justice in Northern Ireland (Include Youth, 2009); working with Siobhán McAlister and Phil Scraton on the research project: ‘Understanding the Lives of Children and Young People in the Context of Conflict and Marginalisation’ and co-authoring the report Childhood in Transition (QUB, Save the Children NI, Princes Trust NI, 2009).  In 2015 she was commissioned by the Children’s Law Centre to
consult with Roma children and young people, and with young people in secure care, to inform development of the Northern Ireland NGO Alternative Report submitted to the UN Committee in 2015.

Gender and Family Violence: New Frameworks in Prevention seminar
Date: 11 November 2016 12:00-1:00pm
Location: CB05B.03.18, UTS, NSW

Family violence has been the subject of unprecedented national attention and described as a ‘national emergency’. Researchers from the Monash University School of Social Sciences Gender and Family Violence: New Frameworks in Prevention research group will provide an overview of their research program, which focuses on the ways in which risk is constructed and responded to in the domain of family violence. The team will outline how their approach has informed a number of recently completed and current projects, including a comprehensive review of the Victorian Common Risk Assessment and Risk Management Framework for Family Violence and Australian National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) funded research on Disability.

The Monash Program of research aims to develop an evidence base for reforms aimed at effectively implementing more risk sensitive approaches to family violence and reducing the associated harms to women and children. Victoria has recently completed a groundbreaking Royal Commission, which provided a major opportunity to explore existing knowledge. The elimination of family violence, intimate partner violence and violence against women is a key focus of the group’s research. The research addresses how gendered and intimate partner violence is understood, the ways in which local, national and international patterns influence social and criminal justice responses to violence and how victim/survivors can be supported and empowered.

In this seminar, three key staff members from this research program - Professor Jude McCulloch, Associate Professor JaneMaree Maher and Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon - will be presenting on their research thus far and exploring opportunities for collaboration. All are encouraged to attend this event. For further information or to register, please contact Law.Research@uts.edu.au by the 8th of November.

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Recent Publications
Private Security Companies and Domestic Violence: A Welcome New Development?

By Diarmaid Harkin and Kate Fitz-Gibbon

Due to the poor reputation of the private security industry and the multiple lines of concerns raised by scholars over the potentially corrosive costs of commercial security provision, it is important to consider whether for-profit companies are a welcome addition to the network of actors who respond to the needs of domestic violence victims. Using the case study of ‘Protective Services’ in Victoria, Australia, who appear to be one of the first known instances of a private security company offering services to victims of domestic violence, we argue that there may be advantages for victims engaging with commercial providers and reasons for optimism that commercial outfits can improve feelings of safety for a particularly vulnerable and underprotected population.

The full article can be found online here.

Criminal Genius: A Portrait of High-IQ Offenders
By James C. Oleson

For years, criminologists have studied the relationship between crime and below-average intelligence, concluding that offenders usually possess IQ scores of 8 to 10 points below those of nonoffenders. Little, however, is known about the criminal behavior of those with above-average IQ scores. This book provides some of the first empirical information about the self-reported crimes of people with genius-level IQ scores. Combining quantitative data from 72 different offenses with qualitative data from 44 follow-up interviews, James C. Oleson describes the nature of crime by offenders of high IQ thereby shedding light on a population often ignored in research and yet sensationalized by media.  

In his endorsement of the book, 2016 Stockholm Prize in Criminology Winner Travis Hirschi wrote, "In most natural groupings, the higher one's intelligence, the less likely one is to commit criminal acts. Yet the unexpected results in this groundbreaking book show us that, at the extreme upper end of the scale, the immunity from crime that comes with intelligence tends to lose its potency. In the end, however, this reduced immunity stems not so much from this tiny group's intelligence as from its perhaps inevitable distance from ordinary mortals."

David Farrington, recipient of the 2013 Stockholm Prize in Criminology, wrote, "One of the widely acknowledged risk factors for offending is low IQ, but very little is known about offending by high IQ people. James Oleson challenges conventional wisdom by concluding that high IQ people self-report more offenses than matched controls but are more likely to avoid detection and punishment. His book includes many enlightening case histories and deserves to be read by all criminologists and psychologists."

The book can be purchased online here.
Reframing Public Inquiries as ‘Procedural Justice’ for Victims of Institutional Child Abuse: Towards a Hybrid Model of Justice
by Anne-Marie McAlinden and Bronwyn Naylor, Sydney Law Review

As the number of high profile cases of institutional child abuse mounts internationally, and the demands of victims for justice are heard, State responses have ranged from prosecution, apology, and compensation schemes, to truth commissions or public inquiries. Drawing on the examples of Australia and Northern Ireland as two jurisdictions with a recent and ongoing history of statutory inquiries into institutional child abuse, this article utilises the restorative justice paradigm to critically evaluate the strengths and limitations of the inquiry framework in providing ‘justice’ for victims. The article critically explores the normative and pragmatic implications of a hybrid model as a more effective route to procedural justice. It suggests that an appropriately designed restorative pathway may enhance the legitimacy and utility of the public inquiry model for victims chiefly by improving offender accountability and ‘voice’ for victims. The article concludes by offering some thoughts on the broader implications for other jurisdictions in responding to large-scale historical abuses and seeking to come to terms with the legacy of institutional child abuse.

The article can be read online here. The complete September 2016 edition of the Sydney Law Review can be found here.
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Job Advertisements
Professor - School of Justice, QUT
The position will contribute to postgraduate and undergraduate teaching. Individuals with a research focus complementary to research strengths of the discipline and the School are strongly encouraged to apply. It is expected that the successful applicant will have and maintain a reputation for excellence in research and have demonstrated commitment to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and research supervision. The successful applicant will provide leadership in service to the University and engagement with industry.

Key responsibilities include:
  • Lead high impact research including the submission of research grant applications and publications in high quality peer reviewed journals;
  • Lead and foster excellence in undergraduate teaching through contribution to curriculum review and design and development of innovative teaching methods and materials;
  • Supervise  Honours and Higher Degree research students;
  • Mentor and support other academic colleagues;
  • Strategically and effectively engage with industry partners and professional associations at national/international levels;
  • Use digital tools to promote the school, its research programs, centre, and journal;
  • Implementing and administering University policy within the Faculty with respect to equitable access to education and workplace health and safety.

Applications will close on the 11th of December. For more information and to apply, please follow the link.
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