Sydney Institute of Criminology
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ALRC releases report, "Pathways to Justice–Inquiry into the Incarceration Rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples"
Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, announced on 27 October 2016 the Government's intention to ask the Australian Law Reform Commission to examine the factors leading to the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our prisons, and consider law reform to ameliorate this 'national tragedy'.

The Report, Pathways to Justice–Inquiry into the Incarceration Rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peopleswas delivered to the Attorney-General in December 2017, and tabled on 28 March 2018. It made 35 recommendations and called for a national inquiry into the removal of Indigenous children from their homes, which was found to be a key pathway to detention. Recommendations included abolishing jail terms for unpaid fines, investing more in Indigenous-led justice reinvestment programs, introducing a custody notification scheme in all states and territories, and banning mandatory sentencing that disproportionately affects Indigenous people. The report suggested national targets for the reduction of Indigenous incarceration in Australia, and recommended updates to state and federal complaint-handling procedures, reviews to regulations around police discretion, and the abolition or limitation of offensive language charges.

Overall, the report found that Indigenous people were 12 times more likely than non-Indigenous people to receive a custodial sentence, 11 times more likely to be held on remand, and seven times more likely to be charged with an offence following a police interaction. Indigenous people tended to receive shorter sentences overall, as they were often jailed for quite minor offences. While 27% of non-Indigenous prisoners in 2016 received a sentence of six months or less, 45% of Indigenous prisoners did.

The full report is available for purchase in book format. A summary report can be accessed online here.
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Upcoming Events
Challenges of Effecting Change in Policing Through Research
Date: 3 May, 4:00pm-5:30pm
Location: Common Room, Level 4 New Law Building, Sydney Law School

Challenges of Effecting Change in Policing Through Research: Evidence from Programmes of Research Co-production and Participatory Action Research in the UK

Speaker: Professor Adam Crawford, University of Leeds

This presentation will assess and explore some of the challenges in fostering organisational change in policing through research knowledge and evidence. In so doing it will engage with debates about Evidence-Based Policing, its claims and implications. To illustrate the arguments, it will draw on two programmes of research and knowledge exchange in the UK. The first is the N8 Policing Research Partnership, a long-term collaboration of the eight research intensive universities in the North of England and 11 police forces and Police and Crime Commissioners as well as other policing partners that Professor Crawford has been leading. The second is a recently completed participatory action research project for the Police Knowledge Fund (College of Policing) that explored and developed the use of restorative justice in policing.

The presentation will examine and analyse the attributes and challenges of knowledge co-production in the context of policing. In so doing, it argues for a transformation in both the way academic researchers engage with policing partners and the place and value of knowledge, data and evidence within policing.

About the speaker

Adam Crawford is Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice in the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Leeds where he is the Director of the Leeds Social Sciences Institute. For nearly 30 years, his research has focused on policing, urban security, community safety partnerships, the regulation of public space, restorative justice and victims of crime. He is Director of the N8 Policing Research Partnership; a collaboration between universities and policing partners in the north of England. The N8 PRP is seeking to transform the ways in which research knowledge is produced and evidence is utilised and mobilised by policing practitioners. Together with Professor Joanna Shapland (University of Sheffield), he has just completed a project exploring the use of restorative justice in policing in three English forces (funded by the College of Policing's Police Knowledge Fund). He is also working with colleagues on a recently completed AHRC project entitled: 'The future prospects of urban parks' and was the principal investigator on an ESRC research seminar series exploring the subject of 'Markets in Policing' (2015-17).

The event will be chaired by Dr Garner Clancey of the Sydney Institute of Criminology.

For more information and to register, please visit the event webpage.

justiceINjustice - Panel Discussion and Exhibition

Date: 7 April 2018, 1:30pm-2:30pm
Location: The Marquee, Wheeler Place, Newcastle

This is a panel discussing creative responses to marginalisation and injustice within the criminal justice system and justiceINjustice, a unique collaboration between artists and lawyers at The Lock-Up, an art gallery based in Newcastle. It will be presented in partnership with Newcastle Writers Festival during the Festival. The panel, facilitated by Dr Carolyn McKay (curator and criminologist) will feature panelists Rob Cleworth (artist), Karen Wells (lawyer) and Melinda Dundas (writer and widow of Roni Levi).

This is a free event with no bookings required. For more information, please visit the event webpage.

The panel discussion accompanies an art exhibition at the Lock-Up featuring collaborative works by artists and lawyers. The justiceINjustice exhibition will run until the 20th of May. To learn more about this exhibition, please see this recent article by The Guardian detailing the motivations behind the project.

Preliminary program now available for the Crime Prevention and Communities conference
Date: 7–8 June 2018
Location: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

The preliminary program for the 2018 Crime Prevention and Communities conference is now available. There is a fantastic line-up of speakers for this year’s conference including the confirmed keynote speakers:
  • Professor Rachel Armitage, University of Huddersfield
  • Associate Professor Rebecca Wickes, Monash University
  • Professor Lorraine Mazerolle, University of Queensland
  • Mr Steve Trigg, National Police Chiefs Council UK
This important conference will inform local government, police, urban planners, policy makers, non-government community organisations, researchers and students about best practice, policy, evaluation and research. The conference will feature speakers from a diverse range of backgrounds speaking about the latest developments in effective crime prevention  

Early bird registrations close 19 April. Get your ticket at http://www.crimeprevention2018.com.au/.

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Media discourses surrounding ‘non-ideal’ victims The case of the Ashley Madison data breach
By Cassandra Cross, Megan Parker and Daniel Sansom

Data breaches are an increasingly common event across businesses globally. Many companies have been subject to large-scale breaches. Consequently, the exposure of 37 million customers of the Ashley Madison website is not an extraordinary event in and of itself. However, Ashley Madison is an online dating website predominantly known for facilitating extramarital affairs. Therefore, the nature of this website (and business) is very different from those that have previously been breached. This article examines one of the media discourses surrounding the victims of the Ashley Madison data breach. It particular, it illustrates examples of victim blaming evident in the print media towards individuals (or customers) who had their personal details exposed. Importantly, it highlights the emerging tension within this particular case, of the strong victim blaming narrative contrasted against those who attempted to challenge this discourse and refocus attention on the actual offenders, and the criminality of the act. The article concludes that victims of this data breach were exposed to victim blaming, based on the perceived immorality of the website they were connected to and their actions in subscribing, rather than focusing on the data breach itself, and the blatant criminality of the offenders who exposed the sensitive information.

The article can be accessed online here.

Understanding Romance Fraud: Insights from Domestic Violence Research
By Cassandra Cross, Molly Dragiewicz and Kelly Richards

Romance fraud affects thousands of victims globally, yet few scholars have studied it. The dynamics of relationships between victims and offenders are not well understood, and the effects are rarely discussed. This article adapts the concept of psychological abuse from studies of domestic violence to better understand romance fraud. Using interviews with 21 Australian romance fraud victims, we show how offenders use non-violent tactics to ensure compliance with ongoing demands for money. This article identifies similarities and differences between domestic violence and romance fraud. We argue that thinking through domestic violence and romance fraud together offers potential benefits to both bodies of research.

This article can be accessed online here.
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Coordinator - Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service, Sydney


  • SCHADS 7.2
  • Immediate Start

Work for an organisation that works to support and strengthen the capacity of families in the community by providing programs and services which contribute to the safety and well-being of all family members.

In this role you will;

  • Recruit, supervise and support a team of WDVCAS staff
  • Develop and administer operational policies and administrative tasks, systems, and processes for the effective operation of the WDVCAS
  • Develop and maintain strong working relationships with key partners including NSW police, Local Courts, Legal representatives and referral agencies
  • Undertake high-level liaison and advocacy with and on behalf of WDVCAS clients
  • Provide high level advise and contribute to legal policy reform through the network, court users, and other forums.

A successful candidate will have knowledge and understanding of the dynamics, complexities and legal and social welfare consequences of domestic violence. Knowledge of the criminal justice response to domestic violence including ADVO applications and criminal prosecutions and related legal matters such as family law.

The requirements for this role include;

  • Excellent management skills
  • Ability to recruit, train, supervise and support staff
  • Ability to develop and implement service delivery strategies

There is no deadline for applications - please apply as soon as possible. Further information can be found here.
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Seeking Support
Help support drug law reform with Australia21
On 21 March 2018, Australia21 held a roundtable of more than 30 of Australia’s health and social service organisations and policy leaders to discuss the social impact of current Australian drug laws. The group addressed the evidence that a prohibition and law enforcement approach is not reducing illegal drug use, but is instead causing many adverse outcomes across our communities.

Help Australia21 raise $16,000 to produce and print the report from the roundtable so that they can influence policy change on this important issue.

“The War on Drugs approach was well intended but failed disastrously in Australia and other countries. While unregulated manufacture and trafficking should remain serious criminal offences, Australia should adopt a more rational, more cost-effective, evidence-based and human rights approach, including decriminalisation of personal possession of drugs and better treatment options. We can’t punish people into getting better,” said former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Palmer, an Emeritus Director of Australia21.

Australia21 is an independent, not-for-profit think tank. They promote fair, sustainable and inclusive public policy through evidence-based research.

They tackle real world ‘wicked’ problems – social, economic and environmental issues that defy simple solutions – using a multidisciplinary research approach. They bring together people with different perspectives to engage openly and think laterally about effective strategies that will address the challenges confronting Australia, and we communicate our findings. Young people are essential to Australia21 and are engaged across the organisation and its projects. Importantly, they are a non‑partisan organisation and seek to engage people from across the political spectrum.

They are a small, effective outfit that relies on philanthropic grants and donations to operate.

Their key projects for 2018-2019 include Illicit Drug Policy and Social Factors, Inequality, Mindful Futures Network, Smarter about Drugs Program for young people, Making our Future Work, Existential Threats, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in first responders.

To make a donation or to learn more about Australia21's work, click here.
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