Australian Institute of Criminology

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Effective technical assistance in crime prevention and criminal justice : what are the key components?

74 Leichhardt Street, Griffith, ACT, Margaret Shaw
18 September 2006 -

Margaret Shaw
International Centre for the Prevention of Crime


There are some fundamental problems with the design and delivery of much international technical assistance in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice. It is now widely recognised that just providing more of it will not be sufficient to bring about the wide range of changes and reforms required in many countries. Technical assistance is too often based on naïve assumptions about how organisational change can be effected, and how institutions are transformed. Questions are increasingly raised about the limited value of piecemeal technical assistance which is not integrated into broader reform and capacity building initiatives of recipient countries, and fully endorsed and supported at the national level.

This seminar will examine some of the main challenges facing donor and recipient countries, the emerging consensus, especially in the development aid field, on how technical assistance can be made more effective and sustainable, including the focus on country-led and participatory approaches, and will discuss some of the implications for the field of crime prevention and criminal justice.

About the presenter

Margaret Shaw PhD is a sociologist and criminologist and Director of Analysis and Exchange at the International Centre for the Prevention of Crime in Montreal, Canada. She worked for over 20 years as a research and policy advisor in the Research and Planning and Crime Policy Planning Units at the Home Office, England, undertaking a series of studies of juvenile court sentencing, prison treatment programmes, juvenile delinquency, and community crime prevention among others. Subsequently she taught in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at Concordia University, Montréal, and acted as a research consultant to federal, provincial and municipal governments in Canada especially on women's imprisonment, as well as gender and diversity, evaluation, and restorative justice and policing. She joined ICPC in 1999 and has contributed a range of comparative reviews and policy papers on international strategies and practice in crime prevention, including local government, children and youth, school safety, women's safety, hate crimes, indigenous communities, and with UN HABITAT, on youth participation and urban governance, and vulnerable youth in Africa. She had a major role in the development of the workshop on crime prevention at the 11th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Bangkok, Thailand in April 2005, and the workshop on technical assistance at the 15th UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in April 2006.