Sydney Institute of Criminology
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QLD abolishes "gay panic" defence for murder

After years of campaigns, Queensland's parliament abolished a legal loophole commonly known as the "gay panic" defence last week, which could allow those accused of murder to have their charges downgraded to manslaughter if they successfully argued that the victim had made homosexual advances towards them. Stemming from the defence of provocation, the "homosexual advance defence", as it is legally known, does not require the advance to be violent or forceful for the killer to avoid a murder conviction. Prior to Queensland, the most recent state to abolish the defence was New South Wales in 2014.

Much of the campaign was driven by Catholic priest and lobbyist Father Paul Kelly, who began pushing for change after Wayne Rucks was beaten to death on the grounds of his church. The offenders successfully used the defence and served sentences for manslaughter rather than murder. Father Kelly said of the changes, "I'm absolutely thrilled that the 290,000 signatures on my change.org petition and support from Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath led to the axing of this homophobic, archaic and out-dated law... It's been a personal journey and a very emotional journey. I think this is a great victory to have everybody stand equally under the law."

D'Ath also celebrated the changes, stating that "Equality before the law is a fundamental principle of human rights and the amendment ... will ensure that this provision operates equally for all members of our community... It has been established by common law that in some circumstances an unwanted homosexual advance could form the basis for applying the partial defence. This does not reflect modern societal views about criminal responsibility and about the expectation to exercise self-control."

While activists continue to push for the removal of the defence in South Australia, the last remaining state or territory to allow the defence, some organisations have argued against the changes. The South Australia Law Society argue that it could lead to damaging modifications to other more necessary provocation defences, and that as it stands, the defence is unlikely to be used successfully in South Australia.

Changes to the Submissions Process for 'Current Issues in Criminal Justice'
Current Issues in Criminal Justice, the journal of the Sydney Institute of Criminology, is now accepting submissions via a new online submission form. Please visit the Information for Authors page for updated submission requirements and to access the submission form.

The upcoming March 2017 issue includes articles on research evaluating Indigenous Sentencing Courts, public perceptions of Western Australia's parole system, and conference convenor perspectives of restorative justice conferencing. Our Contemporary Comment details whether Firearms Prohibition Order search powers in New South Wales can be justified, and we include a special essay feature detailing how Rick Sarre would spend $100 million to reduce crime, and Paul Mazerolle's response to Rick's suggestions. This issue also includes the 2016 Paul Byrne SC Memorial Lecture, 'Uniform Evidence Law at 21' from Stephen Odgers SC, and a review of a new criminology title.

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Upcoming Events
2017 Australian Sociological Association Conference

Date: 27-30 November 2017
Location: University of Western Australia, Perth

The Australian Sociological Association invites abstracts for its 2017 conference to be held at the University of Western Australia, in Perth. Papers focussing on the conference theme of ‘Belonging in a Mobile World’, as well as other areas of interest to TASA thematic groups, are invited.

The mobilities turn in sociology has generated questions about different modes of belonging in a world characterised by global flows and precarities. The media report growing levels of permanent and temporary migration, undocumented migration, and movements of people seeking asylum. Governments respond, opening borders, curtailing movement. While becoming hypermobile, superdiverse, and cosmopolitan, immobility is a lived reality for many.

How are movements within and across borders to be understood through a sociological lens? How do culture and belief systems reflect or challenge mobility? What role has technology played in the maintenance and creation of relationships locally and globally, and in movement more generally? How are physical and social mobility related, and what are the effects on social inequalities? What new identity formations and solidarities are available? What place do nationalism and cosmopolitanism have in the current climate? How are the environment, and our connections to it, affected? How can Indigenous knowledges, experiences and voices contribute to debates about mobility and immobility?

These questions, and more, will form the basis for conference discussions. Join keynotes Professors Mimi Sheller, Sharon Pickering, Anthony Elliott and Matthew Tonts, and engage in special sessions on Indigenous criminal justice, decolonising social research ethics, the anthropology/sociology nexus, a ‘mobile methods’ extra half day, and much more.

For more information, please visit the event website.

Crime and Justice in Asia and the Global South: An International Conference
Date:10-13 July 2017
Location: Cairns, QLD

In July 2017, the Crime and Justice Research Centre will co-host its biennial Crime, Justice and Social Democracy conference with the Asian Criminological Society’s Annual Meeting. The purpose of co-hosting the two conferences is to promote a global criminology more befitting of the contemporary world in which we live.

This is the final week to submit abstracts for conference! The closing date for abstracts is Friday 31 March 2017.

Scholarships for postgraduate students to attend and present at the conference are also available.

For more information on abstract submissions and scholarship applications, please visit the conference website: http://crimejusticeconference.com.au/

England 2011 Five Years On: Understanding the ‘life-cycle’ of riots
Date: 1-2pm, Monday 3rd April 2017
Location: Common Room, Level 2, Law Building, UNSW

Presenter: Professor Tim Newburn, Department of Social Policy & Manheim Centre for the Study of Criminology and Criminal Justice, London School of Economics (LSE).

It is well over five years now since the most serious rioting on the British mainland for at least two generations. Much was written about the 2011 riots, but to what end? How were the riots understood by politicians and by academics and what have we learned as a result? Drawing on a unique study conducted with the Guardian newspaper, Tim Newburn will focus on what he refers to as the ‘life cycle’ of riots, arguing that we should move beyond our traditional preoccupation with how riots come to happen. We should focus at least as directly both on how riots unfold and what follows in their wake. In particular, the aftermath of riots, including the response of the state to the breakdown in order is, or should be, a matter of particular concern to criminology. Any full analysis of these most unusual events ought to seek to study riots ‘in the round’.
Event contact: Professor Luke McNamara luke.mcnamara@unsw.edu.au  

Registration is not required for this event.
How Therapeutic Jurisprudence Seeks to Integrate the Therapeutic Design and Application of the Law
Date: 4-5pm, 5 April 2017
Location: Common Room, Level 2, Law Building, UNSW

Speaker: Professor David Wexler, Director, International Network on   Therapeutic Jurisprudence, University of Puerto Rico; Distinguished Research   Professor of Law, Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona

Professor Wexler will provide an introduction to therapeutic   jurisprudence and its practical use of metaphors such as wine, bottles, and vineyards to animate and explain the intimate relationship between design and application of the law.

Optional pre-reading for the event can be found here and here.
Any questions regarding this event may be directed to Luke McNamara luke.mcnamara@unsw.edu.au. Registration is not required for this event.
The Royal Commission into Family Violence: Today and into the Future
Date: 10am - 12pm, 7th April 2017
Location: State Library Victoria

In 2016, on 1 April, Victoria’s ground-breaking Royal Commission into Family Violence handed down 227 recommendations, aimed at transforming responses to family violence and working towards eliminating gendered violence, particularly violence against women and children. One year later, this panel of Victorian and national experts examines the progress of government and community responses, the work still to be done and the challenges ahead. Significant progress and commitment are identified while challenges and concerns still exist about evidence, implementation, resources and gaps.

Panellists: Dr Heather Nancarrow, Christine Nixon, Professor Heather Douglas

Moderator: Dr Jenna Price

For more information, please visit the event website.
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Recent Publications
Policing Hate Crime: Understanding Communities and Prejudice
By G. Mason, J. Maher, J. McCulloch, S. Pickering, R. Wickes, and C. McKay

In a contemporary setting of increasing social division and marginalisation, Policing Hate Crime interrogates the complexities of prejudice motivated crime and effective policing practices. Hate crime has become a barometer for contemporary police relations with vulnerable and marginalised communities. But how do police effectively lead conversations with such communities about problems arising from prejudice?

Contemporary police are expected to be active agents in the pursuit of social justice and human rights by stamping out prejudice and group-based animosity. At the same time, police have been criticised in over-policing targeted communities as potential perpetrators, as well as under-policing these same communities as victims of crime. Despite this history, the demand for impartial law enforcement requires police to change their engagement with targeted communities and kindle trust as priorities in strengthening their response to hate crime.

Drawing upon a research partnership between police and academics, this book entwines current law enforcement responses with key debates on the meaning of hate crime to explore the potential for misunderstandings of hate crime between police and communities, and illuminates ways to overcome communication difficulties. This book will be important reading for students taking courses in hate crime, as well as victimology, policing, and crime and community.

The book and e-book can be purchased online here.
Fraud within the Commonwealth: A census of the most costly incidents 2014

By R. Smith and P. Jorna,
Australian Institute of Criminology

From financial years 2010–11 to 2014–14, Commonwealth entities experienced 9,467 incidents of internal fraud, with losses of over $12.7m.  This study analysed information about the most costly incidents each entity experienced each year and those who perpetrated these. The majority of the 166 frauds related to employee entitlements or financial benefits, and most were committed through the misuse of documents or technology.

The findings provide an insight into the fraud risks facing the Commonwealth and how these might best be addressed.

The full report can be found online here.

Language functioning, mental health and alexithymia in incarcerated young offenders
By P.C. Snow, M. Woodward, M. Mathis and M.B. Powell

Purpose: Previous studies describe high rates of language impairment in young offenders; however, important correlates such as mental health status and alexithymia have received little attention.

Method: This study describes a cross-sectional study of the language, emotion recognition and mental health of 100 young people completing custodial sentences in New South Wales (Australia). The sample comprised 70 young people from non- indigenous backgrounds (n1⁄460 male) and 30 from indigenous backgrounds (n1⁄425 male). The mean age of the sample was 17.1 years. It was hypothesized that, in addition to elevated rates of language impairment, alexithymia would be over- represented in this group. It was further predicted that impoverished language skills would contribute to alexithymia scores. Result: Only a quarter of the sample overall achieved Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF-4) Core Language Scores in the expected range; rates of language impairment were higher in indigenous males than in non- indigenous males and in the females. Alexithymia was present in 59% of the sample, but appeared to be associated with poor mental health, rather than with language impairment.

Conclusion: Interventions for young offenders (e.g. psychological counselling, restorative justice conferencing) should be framed around these difficulties. Validated language measures for use with young indigenous offenders are needed.

The article can be found online here.
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'Sentencing Matters' Podcast Launches

Punishment and sentencing are explored in the first Sentencing Matters podcast launched by the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council. Sentencing Matters informs, engages and advises on sentencing issues in Queensland, nationally and internationally.

Host and council deputy chair Elena Marchetti is joined by Rebecca Wallis, a researcher at the Griffith Criminology Institute, Griffith University, to discuss the principles and purposes of sentencing in Queensland.

Elena Marchetti said: “Judges and magistrates don’t pluck sentences out of thin air—it’s actually a very complex process. They follow the law as set out in the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 and have to take into consideration a wide range of issues including any relevant Court of Appeal decisions about sentencing factors or sentences given for similar offences. It’s like a ‘toolbox’ of rules that they need to follow when deciding on the unique penalty for each individual case.”

Rebecca shares her insights on sentencing considerations such as the role of case law, sentencing factors for specific offences and fair procedure. She also discusses the range of penalty options and assesses whether they achieve their purpose.

To listen to Sentencing Matters go to www.sentencingcouncil.qld.gov.au

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Job Advertisements
Director - Western Sydney Community Legal Centre
Senior Researcher/Researcher (Quantitative) - The Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, Sydney
Overview and purpose of position

The Law and Justice Foundation of NSW is an independent, not-for-profit organisation with a 50-year history of improving access to justice for the people of NSW. The Foundation now wishes to recruit a Quantitative Senior Researcher or Researcher to support the small but dynamic and well respected research team. 

Working arrangement: Full time or part time. Flexible working arrangements available.

Salary:  Dependent on qualifications and experience.

Responsible to:  A Principal Researcher or Senior Researcher.

Please refer to the Foundation’s website www.lawfoundation.net.au for the position description which outlines the role, required skills and selection criteria, and how to apply.

Your application must specify how you meet the competencies required of the role you are applying for. A detailed list of the core competencies can also be found at www.lawfoundation.net.au

Short-listed candidates will be invited to the Foundation to undertake a short task in Excel and Word.

Please send your applications to: Richard Wood at hr@lawfoundation.net.au

Applications close at 5pm on Friday 28 April 2017 but will be considered upon receipt.
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