Australian Institute of Criminology

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Report on Performance

Performance, outcomes and outputs

The AIC has one outcome:

To inform government of activities which aim to promote justice and reduce crime

And two outputs:

Output 1.1 - Policy advice and publications

Output 1.2 - Library, information and reference services to support policy advice and publications

The Institute performed well against its key outcome objectives during the reporting period. The Institute measures its effectiveness by the following criteria, which reflect the Minister's expectations of the Institute:

  • timely production of AIC research findings, primarily through publications
  • the extent to which Institute services and data are valued by key stakeholders
  • the flexibility of the AIC to respond to emerging policy needs
  • budget and financial outcomes.

The summary table at the end of this section lists outputs and outcome/impact indicators for national monitoring programs and key research projects during the reporting period. Publications are listed in Appendix 1.

Policy and practice relevant research

Research undertaken by the AIC seeks to inform policy and practice in the crime and criminal justice sectors by:

  • monitoring trends in crime and the criminal justice system
  • building knowledge of offending and victimisation
  • identifying emerging or changed criminal activity
  • building an evidence base for an effective criminal justice system and crime prevention.

During 2007-08, the AIC continued to operate and build its national monitoring programs related to homicide, firearms theft, armed robbery, deaths in custody, drug use by alleged offenders (DUMA), juvenile detention, and police custody. It also established monitoring programs on human trafficking and money laundering and counter terrorism financing. Further funding resulted in an expansion of DUMA. For information on the monitoring programs, see Box 1 on page 12.

The following section summarises research activity and outputs for the year under key themes:

  • violent crime
  • property crime
  • drugs
  • transnational and organised crime
  • economic and high-tech crime
  • environmental and resource crime
  • criminal justice responses
  • capacity building.

Violent crime

Violent crime, with the intention of causing (or threatening) physical harm or death to the victim, often attracts more attention and debate than other forms of crime. The AIC released a paper during the year which examined trends in violent crimes, based on recorded crimes and victimisation surveys. While assault and sexual assault have increased since 1990, homicide and armed robbery rates have declined overall. However, increased reporting of assault offences could be a factor in the recorded increase. Each year the AIC publishes annual reports of the homicide and armed robbery monitoring programs. The reports provide information on the incidents, victims and offenders for the year, as well as indicating changes in trends since the collections began. Although the most recent homicide annual report indicated there was a slight increase in the number of homicides over the previous year, this was not a significant shift and the incidence of homicide has remained relatively stable over the period of the collection. Serial murders create considerable public interest and, using data from the homicide monitoring program, the AIC examined the circumstances and characteristics of serial murders that have occurred in Australia. The third annual report from the armed robbery monitoring program was released in April, with findings in this report consistent with those in earlier years.

Sexual assault against women in Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse communities is an area in which there is limited knowledge. A paper released this year outlined why women in these communities were less likely report this crime than other women. Apart from language and cultural differences, there was also found to be a reluctance to report the incident because the offender was known to the victim, as a member of their community or even family. One of the barriers to reporting any sexual assault is the low conviction rate: sexual assault has among the highest rates of acquittal and lowest rates of proven guilt compared with other offences. The Institute examined the attitudes of jurors and the impact of these attitudes on court outcomes. This research was undertaken for the Office for Women as part of the development of the Women's Safety Agenda. The ACT Department of Justice and Community Safety commissioned the AIC to undertake research into sexual assault and related offences in the ACT. A report on data tracking of these offences within the ACT police service, and a snapshot of these offences was released by the ACT government this year.

The AIC started a review of the ACT's police data on family violence that aims to identify how the data can be collated and analysed, within resource constraints, to inform operational, strategic and performance purposes on an ongoing basis. Two major papers, on Indigenous victimisation and offending, using existing data sources were compiled for the Australian Crime Commission's (ACC) National Indigenous Violence and Child Abuse Intelligence Task Force. The next stage of this project will involve community safety surveys in key regions across Australia.

Property crime

Bushfires have a major impact in Australia when they occur. Often these fires are deliberately lit but studies analysing prevalence and distribution are sparse and have focused on isolated areas or specific data collections. The AIC, in partnership with the ACT Department of Justice and Community Safety and with funding from the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre, continued its research into deliberately lit bushfires. The Institute undertook extensive analysis of vegetation fires attended by Australian fire agencies. This is the first attempt to quantify the extent of deliberately lit fires in Australia. The report focused on when and where deliberate fires occur, and how their distribution varies as a function of natural and human factors. A paper was also released which sought to identify characteristics of bushfire arson offenders, using data obtained on 1,232 arson defendants (133 of whom were known to be appearing for a bushfire arson offence).

The first annual report of the National Firearms Theft Monitoring Program was released this year. The report provides information on all incidents of firearms theft reported to police throughout Australia for the 2005-06 financial year. It examines the characteristics of stolen firearms, circumstances of the theft incident, modus operandi of offenders, storage arrangements and compliance with firearms laws and regulations, recovery of firearms, prosecution of offenders, and use of stolen firearms in subsequent illegal activities.

While carjacking in Australia is not a common occurrence, there are indications that it is increasing. The Institute released a paper examining carjacking in light of existing recording practices, international data and limited local information sources. Local socioeconomic and cultural factors, such as firearm availability, were also discussed in the context of probable future trends in carjacking in Australia.

Findings from a study of theft and vandalism at residential building sites throughout Australia were released during the year. The report will serve as a useful guide for practitioners, facilitating the development of effective crime prevention measures.


The largest ongoing survey of alleged offenders in Australia, DUMA collects empirical data on drug use and on self-reported offending and drug use among this high risk group. The annual report highlights trends in detected drug use, characteristics of local drug markets and key issues, such as drug dependency, access to treatment, drug related crime, and self-reported alcohol use. Using DUMA data, a paper on the prevalence of drug driving in Australia was published. The study explored the characteristics of police detainees who drive after drug use and their perceptions of the risks in doing so.

The AIC continues to pursue a number of research activities in relation to amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), including collaborating with the National Drug Research Institute on the development of a national ATS strategy. A report was released on the market for ATS in Oceania, more details of which are provided in the following section on transnational and organised crime.

Criminal justice responses to illicit drug use continued to be a major area of activity during 2007-08, with work undertaken on drug courts and police drug diversion. More details of research undertaken are in the criminal justice section of this report, below.

The first of four briefing papers for the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre was published in May. A national workshop on policing and cannabis issues was held in Brisbane in May; the discussion made a useful contribution to the development of resource toolkits and materials. In addition, a national policing workshop was held in Alice Springs to improve the prevention and reduction of illicit drug use in rural and remote Indigenous communities.

Transnational and organised crime

In the budget for 2007-08 the Australian Government allocated additional funding to the AIC to undertake research into transnational and organised crime, specifically human trafficking and anti money laundering and counter terrorism financing.

Worldwide concerns over the extent of money laundering, coupled with evidence that major terrorist activities have been facilitated by money laundering techniques, have significantly increased the level of knowledge and interest in the subject. Based on a study that examined the extent of money laundering in Australia, the AIC released a paper that provides estimates of the cost of money laundering, and identifies risk areas for money laundering in and through Australia.

As part of the foundation for a project on human trafficking, the AIC has released two papers discussing challenges that are faced in tackling human trafficking. The first paper summarises current evidence on trafficking to Australia and within the wider region, and highlights constraints that exist when endeavouring to interpret what this evidence tells us about the problem. The second paper outlines challenges facing law enforcement in detecting and prosecuting trafficking crimes, and identifies some examples of emerging good practice that can help to overcome these challenges. The AIC participated in the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking expert group meeting in Cairo, delivering a paper outlining gaps in knowledge with a focus on South East Asia. Workshops and a national research forum have been held to progress research in this project. Extensive regional consultations were conducted throughout the Asia Pacific region, and a study of labour mobility in the region is also being undertaken.

The AIC has released a report from a study on ATS supply and demand in the Oceania region, which summarised publicly available evidence on the production, trafficking, importation, and consumption of ATS in the region. In addition, a project funded by Customs and the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department (AGD), examined the precursor chemical trade in the region and potential vulnerabilities for diversion into illicit drug manufacture. The illegal trade in timber and timber products leads to economic losses in many countries as well as environmental degradation. The AIC released a report which examined the scale of the illegal timber trade in the Asia Pacific region, covering the processes and current trends in logging, sourcing, trafficking, manufacturing, importing and consumption of illegal timber and timber products. The report highlighted the need for cooperative policies and regulations between countries to resolve sovereignty issues, share information and develop standards.

Economic and high-tech crime

As part of its collaborative research, and in close cooperation with the Australian High Tech Crime Centre (AHTCC), the AIC prepared two major reports for the AHTCC on issues related to fighting high-tech crime in Australia. A report on future directions in the information and communications technology environment identified crime risks that will arise in the near future. The report identifies emerging developments that will facilitate such crime, and assesses these in terms of their impact on policing, policy making and legislation. The AIC also prepared resource materials that provide a general overview of information on technology-enabled crime to assist prosecutors and members of the judiciary who may be faced with proceedings involving these crimes.

The AIC was commissioned by the Consultative Working Group on the Misuse of Social Networking Sites for Grooming Children for Sexual Offences to search for, locate and report on the existing academic and policy relevant literature concerning the use of social networking sites for grooming children for sexual purposes. The study examined the extent and nature of the problem and how it could be addressed.

Following a pilot study surveying cybercrime against Australian businesses last year, the AIC completed a major national survey (known as the Australian Business Assessment of Computer User Security or ABACUS survey) which sought to ascertain the extent and impact of computer security incidents on the confidentiality, integrity or availability of network data. Funding was provided under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Results of the national survey are expected to be released in the near future.

Through an online survey, the AIC collected information on the prevalence, types and cost of fraud experienced by Australian Government agencies, in order to prepare an annual report on fraud against the Commonwealth for the Minister.

Consumer fraud is an ongoing and increasing risk. To raise public awareness of this risk, members of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce participated in a month of fraud prevention awareness raising activities. The AIC, a member of this Taskforce, published a paper on the impact of these activities in terms of raising awareness of the risks of consumer fraud and increasing the reporting of cases.

Environmental and resource crime

The AIC has released a number of reports in this area: the report on crime in the fishing industry (see case study 2 on page 24), a report on illegal logging in the Asia Pacific region, and a paper on environmental harms, focusing on climate change, population growth and resource depletion. This paper looks at the impact of greater regulation and further criminalisation of both intentional and negligent acts by individuals, business and government. It discusses what can be learned from traditional crime prevention to reduce and prevent environmental harm, and sets out a framework on which to base policy and practice oriented research.

Criminal justice responses

The National Deaths in Custody program was set up in 1992 in response to the findings of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. The program reports on annual data and long term trends in relation to the type and cause of death of persons in prison and in police custody. In 2006 there were 31 deaths in prison custody, 22 deaths in police custody and custody related operations, and one death in juvenile detention. A total of 1,161 deaths have been recorded in prison custody since 1980, and a total of 142 shooting deaths have been recorded since 1990. Of these, 82 have involved persons shot by police and 58 have involved persons who shot themselves in the presence of police.

Every five years a survey of national police custody is conducted to obtain information on the extent and nature of use of police custody in Australia, including on the use of diversionary and cautionary mechanisms by police. Data are collected using a questionnaire filled in by the police officers. The survey was conducted in 2007 and results will be released towards the end of 2008.

Case study 1: Future directions in technology-enabled crime

Serious concerns exist about the ways in which new technologies are likely to be misused in the years to come. The AIC undertook research for the AHTCC to examine the future environment in which Australians will use ICT and how this environment will provide opportunities for illegality and infringement of current regulatory controls. In identifying future risk areas, particular focus was placed on the impact these will have for law enforcement, the need for additional resources, law reform, development of cooperative arrangements between Australian and overseas public and private sector organisations, and development of public information and educational resources to minimise the risk of widespread harm to the community. Technology-enabled crime in this report refers to crimes which require the use of ICT for their commission.

The study identified developments that may facilitate technology-based crime over the next two years. These included:

  • globalisation and the emergence of new economics
  • increased widespread use of broadband services and mobile and wireless technologies
  • increased use of electronic payment systems
  • changes in government use of technology to allow the public to conduct transactions securely, including participation in democracy.

Although proliferation of ICT and connectivity of the internet open the door to increased productivity, faster communication and enhanced convenience, they also offer more opportunities for criminals to commit economic crimes with larger payoffs and fewer risks.

New and greater opportunities for criminals to commit fraud against both businesses and consumers, enabled by the latest internet technologies and e-commerce have been created by globalisation and the new economy. Computer-facilitated frauds include advanced fee scams, online auction frauds, fraudulent lottery schemes, modem and web page hijacking and identity theft (including phishing).

As the security measures organisations employ to prevent computer security breaches involving unauthorised access improve, criminals will seek to gain access to systems to disable security and alarm measures or design new malware programs to circumvent security mechanisms.

Managing and protecting intellectual property has become a high priority in today's knowledge-based economy. Enhanced capacity of ICT systems will enable electronic products (e.g. songs and movies) to be copied and reverse engineered, thus giving rise to increased risk of counterfeiting and piracy. Reverse engineering techniques (stripping down and analysing competitors' products) will also facilitate unauthorised accessing and exploitation of intellectual property. Opportunities for industrial espionage will increase as digitisation becomes more established in corporate life. Such attacks may use electronic surveillance and data capture technologies to steal commercial-in-confidence information held electronically.

Affordable technology (e.g. websites, web cameras and powerful editing multimedia software) has greatly reduced the barrier to entry for the production and distribution of child pornography. The use of ICT to carry out other related sexual abuses involving child victims (e.g. promoting child sexual tourism and trafficking children) is also likely to continue in the near future. Offenders will continue to use cryptographic technologies to prevent detection and to enable images to be shared securely.

As increasingly younger people (the digital generation) make use of personal computers and mobile devices, risks may arise where inadequate security measures are in place. Theft of laptops, USB drives, MP3 players and mobile phones from schools and entertainment venues will continue to create problems, not only in terms of replacement costs but also in relation to stolen personal information. Online scams are likely to target young users who may be less vigilant in detecting fraud than are adult users. In recent years, a new form of bullying, including harassment targeting young users, has emerged using email, text messaging, chat rooms, mobile phones, mobile phone cameras and social networking sites. Cyberbullying can also include online fights, denigration, impersonation, trickery, and cyberstalking.

Traditional transnational organised crime groups are likely to take advantage of the technology-enabled crime environment to facilitate the operation, or to disguise the illicit proceeds, of real world based crimes. The use, for example, of denial-of-service attacks to pursue extortion or online banking to transfer laundered funds is likely to continue to develop.

Computers and computer networks will continue to be both the objects of terrorist attacks and the conduit through which terrorists and other criminals communicate in order to plan and carry out their destructive activities.

At present there is limited capacity in law enforcement to investigate high volumes of technology-enabled crimes. The research suggested strategies that could reduce the risk of exposure to these crimes, including:

  • industry developing more secure hardware and software
  • increased sharing of information between public and private sectors
  • use of police taskforces to respond to particularly complex technology-enabled crimes
  • the threat of prosecution and punishment, particularly where substantial penalties can be imposed, and publicity given to successful prosecutions
  • sharing of information and intelligence across jurisdictional borders, both within Australia and internationally.

In conjunction with this research, the AIC prepared resource materials to provide a general overview of information on cybercrime to assist prosecutors and members of the judiciary who may be faced with proceedings involving computer related offences. This compendium aims to present prosecutors with common terms, concepts, relevant legislation, and current debates in the academic literature affecting technology-enabled crime cases.

A series of High tech crime briefs were also produced as part of the research collaboration with AHTCC. This year two were released, covering the risk of criminal exploitation of online auctions and online child grooming laws.


Using statistics from the Juveniles in Detention Monitoring Program dataset, a report providing an overview of juveniles in detention in Australia from 1981 to 2006 was released. The report included an analysis of the number and rate of juveniles in detention over time (with respect to a number of different variables), as well as a detailed analysis of the 2005-06 financial year.

The link between drug use and criminal offending is of great interest to policy makers and researchers alike. The possibility that both illegal activities are interrelated provides promise that targeted interventions, such as drug diversion programs and drug courts, may have a tangible influence in reducing the social and economic costs of crime to the community. A range of programs to divert offenders from the criminal justice system have been implemented throughout Australia. The AIC released a report during the year outlining different drug diversion programs and schemes across Australia - including police and court based diversion and drug courts - which summarised information from relevant evaluations. The AIC also provided a report to the Department of Health and Ageing that evaluates the outcomes of police drug diversion, which are among the most common types of diversion. The aim of the evaluation was to assess the overall effectiveness of the range of police diversion schemes across Australia by measuring the recorded recidivism of participants post diversion. The high rate of substance abuse and overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system was the basis of an examination by the AIC of the type and extent of diversion programs currently operating, as well as issues around accessibility and barriers to participation and completion. A report outlining the diversion programs currently operating, including those for Indigenous offenders was released in June.

The overrepresentation of Indigenous Australians in prison was the focus of a study undertaken by the AIC which found that Indigenous male offenders are readmitted to prison sooner and more frequently than non-Indigenous offenders. The study also examined the range of correctional programs to assist the reintegration of Indigenous offenders into the community. Again with a focus on the Indigenous community, the AIC examined the degree to which Indigenous victims engage with the criminal justice system in the ACT. A report of the findings was provided to the ACT Victims of Crime Coordinator.

Drug courts are another diversionary program that have been adopted throughout Australia to divert drug dependent offenders from the criminal justice system and into treatment. The AIC has undertaken a number of evaluations of drug courts in Queensland. This work represents a long term collaboration between researchers at the AIC and policy makers and practitioners of the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney General. The latest report is an evaluation of the first 100 graduates of the Queensland drug court program.

The AIC has continued its collaboration with the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney General with an evaluation of the operation and effectiveness of the Queensland Murri Court. The Murri Court is a Queensland Magistrates Court that deals with sentencing Indigenous offenders. It provides a forum in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have input into the sentencing process. The evaluation, which commenced in January 2007, will review and report on the operation and outcomes of the Murri Court system over a two-year period. An interim report was delivered to the Department in May and the AIC is now engaged in the second stage of the evaluation.

The Victorian juvenile justice outcome project commenced in 2006-07 and involves examining the use of recidivism as a measure of juvenile justice outcomes, and alternative measures that could be used. Funded by the Juvenile Justice Service of the Office for Children in the Victorian Department of Human Services, this project began in January 2007 with a progress and a draft final report provided during the financial year. The project includes involves a longitudinal analysis of 10 years of recidivism outcomes for juveniles who have had contact with the juvenile justice system since 1997.

Capacity building

Capacity building initiatives ranged from the establishment of collaborative research and development arrangements with partner organisations to formal workshop and conference presentations. The collaboration with AGD to assist with the National Community Crime Prevention Programme (NCCPP) involved a review of the programme at the conclusion of its funding term. The review, in which external organisations participated, found that the programme was highly valued in the crime prevention field. Collaborative research and capacity building continued with a further one-year agreement with the WA Office of Crime Prevention, and with the National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund to develop the capacity and skills for a national implementation program of the drug law enforcement performance measurement framework, previously developed by the AIC.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) funding enabled the AIC to research missing persons in Australia. The study found that the reasons for going missing can include escape, being lost and forgetful, mental health reasons and foul play. A report was released in March that identified at risk groups and good practice in relation to prevention, early intervention support and referral. It also looked at how a more networked approach to policy and practice can be achieved and recommended future priorities for research.

A major report on recidivism was released in 2007. It analyses how reoffending can be measured and summarises major studies undertaken in Australian that have centred on recidivism for different crimes and offender groups. The AIC also updated its 2003 report on the costs of crime, based on 2005 data.

Communicating and promoting research in crime and justice

The AIC is an important source of criminological research and knowledge for a wide range of audiences, including criminal justice agencies; academics; federal, state, and local governments; law enforcement agencies; and community organisations.

The AIC undertook a number of activities to proactively communicate its research during the 2007-08 financial year. Research publications were distributed to stakeholders and subscribers both electronically and in hard copy, published on the AIC's website, and supported by media releases and liaison. Publications are listed in Appendixes 1 and 2.

In addition, the AIC held conferences, occasional seminars, and roundtables to educate and engage with a range of stakeholders around Australia. Details of these follow. AIC staff members have also presented their work to various meetings of criminal justice practitioners, government agencies, academics, politicians, and other interested parties, both in Australia and abroad. These presentations are listed in Appendix 3.

The AIC's website ( is the AIC's principal means of ensuring wide dissemination of the results of AIC research. It provides information about the work of the AIC and acts as a gateway to information on crime and criminal justice in Australia. Print versions of AIC publications are available for sale from the AIC. Electronic versions of all publications are available free of charge on the website at

Each year the AIC publishes Australian crime: facts and figures, a summary of up-to-date Australian statistics on crime and the criminal justice system, and of trends in key crimes. This year the AIC also released an update of the Costs of crime, originally published in 2003. Using the same methodology where possible, it was estimated that in 2005 crime cost the Australian community $35.8b compared with $32b in 2003.

Through submissions to inquiries on topics such as Indigenous disadvantage, a review of the Queensland Weapons Act 1990, a review of privacy law; more than 60 presentations at conferences; the organisation of workshops and roundtables; and participation in advisory and expert groups, AIC staff have communicated findings from research to stakeholders and policy and practitioner audiences.

A new service to extend the availability of DUMA data was introduced in May this year. An interactive search of selected DUMA variables is now available for public access via the Institute website. Users can select variables to cross tabulate and can now use a much richer source of data than is presented in the DUMA annual report. The service is expected to be enhanced in 2008-09. A more sophisticated version of the service, allowing access to the full range of data is available to DUMA contributors via a secure website.

Case study 2: Crime in the fishing industry in Australia

The AIC was commissioned in 2004 by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to report on crime in the Australian fishing industry, and to examine ways of protecting the sector against increased and more organised criminal activity. The research involved a review of relevant literature and Australian legislation, consultations with key stakeholders, a national survey of fisheries officers and analysis of prosecution and court outcome data from four jurisdictions.

Fish, other seafood, and marine habitat, have considerable economic and environmental value as an important primary industry in Australia, with direct and indirect employment for a large number of Australians, and considerable export earnings for the country. Illegal activities can take a variety of forms. Commercial fishers may:

  • avoid reporting or under-report their catch
  • mix illegal with legal catches
  • operate a vertically integrated fishing business to facilitate money laundering activities
  • sell commercial catch to clubs, restaurants, hotels or private individuals on a cash or barter basis
  • exceed the allowable quota
  • swap their catch between their commercial and recreational allowances (for example distributing catch between crab and lobster pots).

Some of these activities, such as selling catch to restaurants, may also be practised by recreational fishers. This activity provides extra household cash through selling fish to domestic businesses, such as fish and chip shops, restaurants, cafés, hotels, clubs, or through bartering the fish for services in kind.

In contrast to the occasional and lower level non-compliance with fisheries regulations that occurs within the recreational, commercial and subsistence fishers there is a smaller but significant group of habitual or repeat offenders who have been characterised as:

  • criminals who systematically flout fisheries regulations to profit from the illegal sale of high value fish such as abalone
  • fish thieves who regularly flout the regulations for a range of personal benefits, including illegal sale, bartering or personal use
  • fishers who regularly flout the regulations to provide themselves and their families with traditional seafood items that are not readily obtainable through normal retail seafood outlets.

As resources become scarcer and more valuable, it is to be expected that there will be commensurate growth in poaching and illicit markets. The increasing profitability of the sector (as resources are depleted) makes it more attractive to organised criminal groups.

While there are three priority species in Australia identified as attractive to international illegal markets (abalone, shark fin and seahorses) there are also illegal domestic markets in many species, including abalone, rock lobster and native fish. Hong Kong is the main market for illegally fished abalone and shark fin. However, there is believed to be an extensive illicit Australian market for other species, including Murray cod, King George whiting, barramundi, rock lobster, mud crab, live coral reef fish, snapper and prawns. It is also believed that there is illegal restaurant/café trade in poached reef fish, eel, yabbies, squid, razor fish, snapper and dhufish, as well as the illegal taking of rare cowries, ornamental fish and coral.

The majority of fisheries officers (85%) believed that the types of criminal activity encountered by fisheries enforcement agencies had changed to some degree over the past five years. It was suggested by stakeholders that at least some of the change was due to heightened awareness of, or an increase in, organised criminal activity in the fishing sector. As the more serious and organised criminal activity is likely to involve more sophisticated strategies, a framework for identifying the different types of offenders and activities is essential.

There are a range of measures that fisheries officers viewed as important that would be instrumental in detecting and dealing with organised criminal activity. These included:

  • legislative changes, in the definition of offences, the extent and availability of powers granted to fisheries officers, and penalty regimes
  • information and intelligence recording, sharing, collation and analysis
  • operational collaboration, including taskforces and the use of specialist services
  • specialist skills and training for fisheries officers.

Personal safety and an increase in the number of fisheries officers were regarded as most important in deterring organised criminal activity. Other factors that were considered to be very important included legislation, interagency cooperation and surveillance capacity. There was a doubt that courts, where fisheries offence prosecutions were infrequent events, would impose severe penalties even if they were available for particular offences.

A fundamental question is whether the monitoring and enforcement roles of fisheries officers can, or indeed should, be combined. Fisheries officers are more likely than seconded police officers to have expertise in fish, their habitat and the various aspects of the industry, as well as the complex regulatory regime. On the other hand, police are more likely to have the experience and expertise to deal with criminals and criminal activity. They also have access to national and their own intelligence databases, putting them in a better position to be informed by, and to contribute to, intelligence and operational efforts against known criminal groups.

There is also the question of the relative expertise officers might possess in identification and knowledge of organised crime activity. Given that the survey revealed a widespread perception among officers that they have an increasing role in law enforcement and compliance activity, and there are concerns about the human resource implications of this increase, regular reviews need to address:

  • training and access to specialised skills
  • occupational health and safety
  • referral procedures to police and other relevant agencies.



The AIC has a high volume publishing program that includes the following products:

  • One- and two-page fact sheets and bulletins: timely publications on a broad range of topics, these include the High tech crime brief, AICrime reduction matters, Bushfire arson bulletin, and Crime facts info
  • Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice: concise, peer reviewed papers on criminological topics for policy makers and practitioners
  • Australian crime: facts and figures: an annual publication providing a statistical overview of the most recent national information on crime in Australia, serving as a ready reference. The publication presents statistics on the numbers and types of recorded crime, their place of occurrence, victim details, responses of criminal justice agencies, and government resources to deal with crime and corrections
  • Research and public policy series: this series includes original research papers, shorter conference proceedings, and statistical works designed to inform the public policy debate
  • Technical and background papers: technical reports containing statistical and methodological material produced as part of the AIC research process.

During 2007-08, the AIC produced a significant range of high-quality publications, including:

  • Australian crime: facts and figures 2007
  • 22 Trends & issues papers
  • 15 Research and public policy series reports
  • 5 Technical and background papers
  • 43 fact sheets
  • two newsletters
  • the 2006-07 annual reports of the AIC and the CRC.

The AIC also produces reports to clients on a consulting basis. A full list of AIC publications is provided in Appendix 1. Articles and papers by staff in non AIC publications are listed in Appendix 2.

Review and publication process

All publication submissions are subject to a rigorous refereeing process before they are accepted for publication. Drafts are reviewed by AIC staff, including the Director and senior analysts, and are subject to external review. All publications are edited to conform to the AIC publishing style guide.

The AIC has been accepted by the Department of Education, Employment and Workforce Relations as an accredited publisher for purposes of university funding under its higher education publishing requirements. This accreditation covers the peer reviewed, and commercially published, Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice papers and Research and public policy series. The Institute is very grateful to those who have contributed to the peer review process during the year.

Research briefings

Over time, the AIC has undertaken significant research and acquired deep knowledge on various criminological subjects. To share this knowledge, and to assist the AIC in focusing future work on research shortfalls, this year the AIC began to share information in a new format: AIC research briefings. The briefings involve the AIC in partnering with key stakeholder agencies to share knowledge on their particular concerns and to identify matters for future research.

The first round of briefings has been on the topic Understanding the research on sexual assault: implications and future directions. During 2007-08, briefings were held in:

  • Adelaide, in partnership with the South Australian Office for Women
  • Brisbane, in partnership with the Queensland Office for Women.


Improving Community Safety: Lessons From the Country and the City was a conference held in Townsville on 18-19 October 2007. It was jointly hosted by the AIC, Townsville City Council, and the Australian Crime Prevention Council and brought together more than 200 practitioners, researchers, academics, and policy makers from diverse fields in crime prevention.

The conference provided an opportunity to discuss the types of policies and programs that have been implemented on a national, regional, or local level. Concurrent sessions focused on crime and violence prevention, interventions for young people, women's safety, community development, policing, partnerships, crime prevention through environmental design, and local government and crime control. A workshop aimed at providing a crime prevention toolkit for practitioners was led by the AIC.

The Young People, Crime and Community Safety Conference was held in Melbourne on 25-26 February 2008. It was jointly organised by the AIC and the Victorian Safe Communities Network as part of the AIC's partnership with practitioner groups around Australia to extend the reach, impact, and understanding of its research.

Issues covered ranged from the latest research into crime and violence prevention from a community perspective to an overview of interventions for young people in conflict with the law. More than 350 delegates heard speakers present on topics such as cybercrime and safety; support through arts and culture; and locally based interventions such as anti graffiti projects, school mentoring, and programs to reduce violence in nightclubs.

Papers from these conferences are on the AIC's website, at

Roundtable discussions

Roundtable discussions facilitate exploration, by small groups of experts and stakeholders, of contemporary issues related to public policy. The AIC organises these discussions to develop and maintain a common, current knowledge base relating to significant issues, and to encourage strategic information sharing between policy and program agencies and practitioners.

Thirteen roundtable discussions were held in 2007-08:

Anti money laundering, 17 August 2007. Participants from the private sector, government, and law enforcement agencies were introduced to the project on money laundering and terrorism financing research to be undertaken by the AIC in forthcoming years.

National Community Crime Prevention Programme strategic planning workshop, 17 August 2007. Crime prevention stakeholders were consulted on ways to enhance the overall future impact of the NCCPP.

DUMA technical meeting, 6-7 December 2007. Attended by researchers, policy makers, police representatives, DUMA site managers, and other stakeholders involved or interested in the DUMA program, this meeting brought together stakeholders to discuss key DUMA findings in the course of the year and future directions for the program. Stakeholders from each of the states and territories gave presentations about their use of the DUMA data, including some of the challenges faced and suggestions for better promotion and utilisation of DUMA data.

Perceptions of community safety in Indigenous communities, 7 February 2008. As part of a two-year research program conducted for the National Indigenous Violence and Child Abuse Intelligence Task Force, the AIC is undertaking research into community safety in Indigenous communities. This roundtable brought researchers, policy makers, and Indigenous representatives together to discuss research needs and data sources for this work.

Alcohol and crime forum, 13 March 2008. The AIC, in conjunction with the WA Office of Crime Prevention, held a forum to discuss key issues and challenges that alcohol poses to the criminal justice system and to identify topics on which research is needed.

Key sector prevention and reduction initiatives - armed robbery, 29 April 2008. The AIC held a roundtable for representatives of law enforcement, industry associations, and peak bodies from the liquor and retail industries, whose experience and expertise will aid the AIC in interpreting its National Armed Robbery Monitoring Program data and creating prevention initiatives.

ACT Policing family violence, 13 May 2008. As part of its review of ACT Policing's processes for collecting family violence data collection, and preparatory to its recommendations, the AIC obtained input at a roundtable with various stakeholder agencies.

Policing cannabis workshop, 13 May 2008. As part of its work with the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre the AIC convened a workshop of police representatives from across Australia. The aim was to seek practitioner and policy perspectives on priorities for information and resource material that could be developed on cannabis for police audiences.

Performance measurement in drug law enforcement Stage 2 workshop, 19 May 2008. This workshop brought together a range of senior bureaucrats from the law enforcement and health sectors to examine in detail and refine the model performance measurement framework developed by the AIC for drug law enforcement agencies.

Homicides and domestic violence, 19 May 2008. In January 2008, the AIC's National Homicide Monitoring Program received Australian Government appropriated funding to carry out research into domestic related homicide. The aims of this roundtable were to identify risk factors and early warning signs of domestic related homicide and to identify possible topics for major research projects. Representatives from homicide squads and domestic and family violence units in the state and territory police services participated.

Geospatial mapping for discrete communities, 22 May 2008. The AIC was contracted in 2007 by the ACC Taskforce to undertake, over a two-year period, a series of research projects on violence and child abuse in Indigenous communities. The aim of this roundtable was to explore sources and limitations of data and resources available for mapping criminal activity in discrete communities. A number of government and academic research bodies participated.

Trafficking in persons research and data forum, 24 June 2008. The AIC hosted a forum that brought government agencies, nongovernment organisations, and Australian and international academics together to discuss the issue of trafficking in persons. The primary focus of the forum was to identify existing research and its findings to date and to explore key research priorities in investigating and understanding the various forms of people trafficking.

Government fraud liaison forum, 25 June 2008. This forum involved presentations on fraud and current prevention methods, and was attended by representatives of relevant government agencies.

Case study 3: Missing persons in Australia

The AIC was asked to update existing data on missing persons from all Australian state and territory sources with a view to: identifying at-risk groups; identifying good practice in relation to preventative measures, early intervention, support services and referral mechanisms; developing a more networked approach to policy and practice; and identifying and establishing a solid base for future research. The project was undertaken on behalf of the National Missing Persons Coordination Centre (NMPCC) of the AFP and the Families and Friends of Missing Persons Unit of the Attorney General's Department of New South Wales. The project commenced in July 2006 and was completed in December 2007.

Table 1: Missing persons reported to the police, 2005-06
JurisdictionTotal missingMalesFemalesYoung peopleRate(a)
a: Rate per 1,000 population based on 2006 ABS population estimates
b: Total numbers for Queensland could not be obtained therefore an estimate was calculated based on previous numbers of missing persons in the state as well as an average of percentage increases in other jurisdictions. This number was used to calculate the rate for Queensland, and also in the calculation of the total missing for Australia.
c: The male/female breakdown of missing persons does not match the total missing for Victoria due to missing data
n.a. Not available
Source: State and territory police statistics provided to the AIC; Victoria Police (2006)
ACT 1,078 504 574 738 3.3
NSW 9,788 5,080 4,708 5,068 1.4
NT 431 207 224 233 2.1
Qld(b) 5,768 n.a. n.a. n.a. 2.8
SA 4,915 2,532 2,383 2,923 3.2
Tas 207 113 94 n.a. 0.4
Vic(c) 5,584 2,801 2,766 2,877 1.1
WA 2,517 1,265 1,252 1,035 1.2
Total 30,288 12,502 12,001 12,874 1.5

The estimated number of missing persons in Australia reported by the police and other search agencies for the period 2005-06 was approximately 35,000. This is a rate of 1.7 people per 1,000 Australians, slightly higher than the previous Australian estimate of 1.6 per 1,000 of the population.

People go missing for a variety of reasons and there been attempts to categorise the reason as either 'voluntary' or 'involuntary'. However, the complexity of the reasons has made this division difficult. For example, people who have been living in violent and abusive situations or who are mentally ill can be classified as going missing 'voluntarily' but because they often had no choice or control over their behaviour they could also be deemed to have left involuntarily. To overcome this, a continuum of 'missingness' has been developed. This ranges from intentional to unintentional absence, with intervals spanning 'decided' (relationship breakdown, escaping personal problems, escaping violence and mental health problems), to 'drifted' (losing contact and a transient lifestyle, where people simply lose touch with their families and friends), to 'unintentional absence' (Alzheimer's disease, other mental health problems, accident or misadventure, and miscommunication) to 'forced' (being a victim of a crime such as homicide).

Key risk factors for all people who go missing include mental health factors (e.g. schizophrenia, depression and anxiety), illicit drug and alcohol use, and family violence/conflict. Child abuse and neglect were dominant risk factors for children and young people, while Alzheimer's disease and dementia appeared to be significant risk factors for older people. Risk factors are often interrelated and cut across all sections of the community.

Police data indicate that men and women were reported to police as missing almost equally. Young people accounted for just over half of all missing persons reported to police, with 13-17-year-old females most at risk. Young people in care are more likely to run away than the rest of the young missing persons population. Police in all jurisdictions spend a great deal of effort searching for this group of people. Long-term missing persons (those who go missing for six months or longer) are more likely to be adults.

It is not possible to accurately estimate the number of unreported missing persons, although certain sub-groups in the population would seem more likely to be unreported. These include homeless people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Indigenous Australians and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, gender questioning, and same sex attraction people.

Several key reasons for going missing are less likely to be recorded or known by police or search agencies. For example, child abuse and neglect could be a reason for a young person to go missing, but it is unlikely that families would mention this when reporting a young person missing. In a similar manner, domestic violence is also unlikely to be revealed, as are issues surrounding a young person's sexuality.

The majority of people reported as missing in Australia are located within a short period of time. For example, in Victoria in 2005-06 almost 90 percent of missing persons reported to police were located within seven days. Previous research has indicated that only two percent of all missing persons in Australia remain missing for six months or longer.

Each police agency in Australia has a designated missing persons unit. Funded by the Australian Government and situated within the AFP, the NMPCC coordinates and promotes a national approach to reduce the incidence and impact of missing persons. Apart from the police, there are several nongovernment organisations and government agencies involved with the search for missing persons. Nongovernment search agencies are The Salvation Army Family Tracing Service, the Australian Red Cross Tracing Service, Link Up Aboriginal Corporation and the International Social Service. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade assists when people go missing overseas.

Each missing person case is given a priority rating based on the degree of risk to which the person could be exposed. Risk assessment procedures are particularly important for the police because of the high volume of missing persons reports they receive. Most police jurisdictions expect to respond to at least one missing person report each day. For example, in New South Wales there are at least 25 reports each day, 15 per day in Victoria, and between one and two incidents per day in the Northern Territory and Tasmania.

Considerable efforts have been made to improve responses to missing persons reports since national research on the missing persons population was conducted 10 years ago. This research identified areas of action that could further address the gaps in the missing persons agenda:

  • police missing persons procedures and data collection
  • family rights, legislation and access to other agencies' information, including improving information sharing among agencies and overcoming perceived or real barriers through privacy legislation and organisational impediments
  • determination of risk and protective factors, updating procedures and identifying potential partner agencies
  • identifying good practice, implementing strategies and educating police, stakeholders and the public on missing persons
  • application of good practice and intervention models, evaluation and feedback to lead agencies, particularly the NMPCC, for the development of more effective strategies and research.


  • James M, Anderson J & Putt J 2008. Missing persons in Australia. Research and public policy series, no. 86. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology.
  • James M, Anderson J & Putt J 2008. Missing persons in Australia. Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice, no. 353.


Occasional seminars are held at the AIC on a variety of topics. Speakers, who are generally visiting Canberra, are invited to make a short presentation to AIC staff and invited participants in their areas of expertise. Appendix 4 lists public seminars hosted by the AIC this financial year. Details of AIC seminars can be found at The AIC also held a number of in-house seminars during the year at which staff members presented findings from their research or papers to be delivered to other meetings.

Media liaison

The media continue to consult the AIC on a wide range of criminological issues, seeking comment on AIC work, other research findings, and general background information and statistics on crime within Australia. The table below shows the extent of this contact for 2007-08.

Media liaison, 2007-08
Number of media requests 248
Number of media interviews 53
Number of AIC media releases 20
Number of releases of AIC products by the Minister/other ministers 3

New AIC reports receiving considerable media coverage were on illegal logging, bushfire arson, drug driving, missing persons, homicide, and crime in the fishing industry. The main topic areas where the AIC was mentioned in the media were juries, reporting on sexual assault, child sex, alcohol and violence, firearms, and cybercrime, with occasional mentions of many other areas of AIC research. Although the projects on drink spiking and recidivism were completed some time ago, they were still a popular media topic in the 2007-08 financial year. The use of AIC research in blogs also continued throughout the year.

A public relations consultant was engaged to assist in the promotion of the 2007 ACVPA, resulting in good media coverage of the awards.

Submissions to government inquiries

The AIC presented submissions to three government inquiries this year:

  • New South Wales Legislative Council Standing Committee on Social Issues inquiry into closing the gap: overcoming Indigenous disadvantage
  • Queensland State Government review of the Weapons Act 1990
  • Australian Law Reform Commission review of Australian privacy law.

Information to support research and communication

As well as disseminating the findings of its own research, the AIC has a role as Australia's national knowledge centre on crime and justice. Activities are based on awards, website services and the services of the JV Barry Library. The Institute supports its own researchers' information requirements through its website, intranet and the library.

Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards

epresentatives of winning projects in the 2007 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards

Four representatives of winning projects in the 2007 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards (l-r): Superintendant Stuart Wilkins from Camp IMPACT (NSW); Ms Mairead McCoy, Manager, Intensive Supervision Program (WA); Senior Sergeant Vince Hurley, Domestic Violence Intervention Court Model (NSW); Mr Darral Phillips, Lecturer, Caversham Training and Enterprise Centre (WA).

A highlight each year is the presentation of the Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards. These are designed to reward and showcase good practice in the prevention or reduction of violence and other types of crimes in Australia, to encourage public initiatives, and to assist governments to identify and develop practical projects that will reduce violence and other types of crime in the community. The annual awards are sponsored by the Commonwealth Heads of Government, and the Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency Management - Police (MCPEMP). They include monetary awards totalling $130,000.

The 2007 awards were presented to the winners by Senator the Honourable David Johnston, the then Minister for Justice and Customs, and Senator for Western Australia, on 23 October 2007. There were three national award winners, one national police award winner, and one meritorious police project winner. Box 2 on page 36 highlights these projects.

AIC website

As well as providing information about the Institute's activities and access to all publications in full text, the website provides a deep resource of information about crime and criminal justice in Australia and overseas through its subjects, AIC conferences and statistics sections. There are more than 40 subject pages, providing links to hundreds of other websites and resources.

During the year, there was an average of 43,500 successful requests for pages per day, or 1.3 million requests per month. March 2008 was the busiest month, with just under two million requests for pages. In general, the months of high usage coincided with the end of the Australian and northern hemisphere academic years. The most requested AIC publication during the year was Australian crime: facts and figures 2006. Searching within the site uses the website's search engine, Funnelback. Usage fluctuates throughout the year, with an average of approximately 15,000 successful queries per month. An RSS news feed was also added to the website to provide an additional alerting service to website users.

Website redevelopment

With a view to improving access to the wealth of information the site provides, the first stage of the redevelopment of the content and structure of the website was undertaken this year. This included focus groups and card sorting exercises with internal and external stakeholders to ensure relevance and accessibility, the development of new information architecture for the site, and development of technical specifications for the rebuild, which will occur from August 2008.

CRC website

A separate website for the CRC was established during the year, providing the CRC with an independent web presence. A new domain name was registered, and all CRC content was moved from the AIC website to the new CRC website, at

Case study 4: Costs of crime

In 2003, the AIC released two companion reports examining the costs of crime to the Australian community. These reports described in detail the identified costs of crime to the Australian community and the methodology used to calculate those figures. The original report estimated the costs of crime to be nearly $32b in 2001. This year the AIC updated this work, using the same methodology for the most part, to enable broad comparisons to be made between the two reports. This report estimates the costs of crime for 2005 to be $35.8b, or 4.1 percent of national gross domestic product.The largest components of this figure are the costs of the criminal justice systems: police, courts, corrections, and other criminal justice government agencies; and the costs relating to fraud.

Costs of crime by offence type (percent)

Costs of crime by offence type (percent)

When costs of the criminal justice system are excluded, fraud accounts for the largest percentage of crime costs at an estimated $8.5b. This is a substantial increase from estimates in 2001 (Mayhew 2003), when fraud offences accounted for 31 percent of crime costs. This increase can be attributed partly to the increases in electronically assisted crimes such as cybercrime and identify theft, and highlights that growth areas of crime such as fraud require additional research to enable reliable and robust estimates of costs. As the figure below shows, drug offences, arson and burglary combined account for 27 percent of costs. The figure on page 33 highlights the differences between estimated numbers of crimes and the costs associated with them (excluding fraud, arson and drug offences). Shoplifting, for example, accounts for over 60 percent of crimes, but accounts for only nine percent of the costs. The opposite applies to violent crimes - they account for eight percent of incidents, but 33 percent of costs.

The estimates in this report should be considered approximate and are not designed to reflect exact costs of crime. It is difficult to give a definitive figure for the cost of crime. Estimates of crime depend on the methodology used to obtain them. While the methodology is believed to be the most robust available, improved methodologies could be developed if better crime data were available. This is especially the case for crimes which are harder to cost such as fraud, arson and drug offences (in some instances 'victimless' crimes).


Volume and costs of crime (excluding arson, fraud and drugs)

Volume and costs of crime (excluding arson, fraud and drugs)

Indigenous justice clearinghouse

The AIC has provided research, web and library support to the pilot Indigenous justice clearinghouse, a joint initiative between the AIC and the NSW Attorney General's Department, since its inception in 2006. The clearinghouse provides access to a range of research based resources, including research briefs, for policy makers, researchers and practitioners.

The clearinghouse was reviewed to assess whether the website was meeting the needs of its primary stakeholders - Indigenous justice policy makers - and to explore opportunities for future development. The findings were presented to the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General in November 2007 and endorsed at the March 2008 meeting, with funding for the clearinghouse extended for a further two years.

The review found that the clearinghouse was providing a valuable source of information for Indigenous justice policy makers, but that there was potential for improvement to the user forum and for the engagement of jurisdictions to provide input to the content of the clearinghouse. The full review can be downloaded from

The resource base of the Indigenous justice clearinghouse is drawn from the JV Barry Library database. One hundred and twenty new items (books, reports, articles, and conference papers) were added during the year. Administration of the forum on the website was undertaken by library staff.

Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology website

The Institute continues to provide a website maintenance service to the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology (ANZSOC) on a fee-for-service basis. The website provides ANZSOC members with a consistent space for membership information, details of forthcoming and past conferences, employment and study opportunities, and publications.


The intranet is the AIC's main knowledge sharing and development vehicle. It links to information in the public domain in the library catalogue and external databases to which the library subscribes, and encourages researchers to build on previous AIC research by providing access to research projects, datasets and presentations.

The AIC acquires or creates datasets for many of its research projects. These are all captured and made available to AIC staff through the intranet, using the library database. The data collected can be leveraged to deliver other client data services where appropriate, and will be used for further analysis in future research projects. During the year, eight new datasets were added to the database.

For corporate information, the intranet is used particularly for the promulgation of policies, procedures, and guidelines and for information about the AIC's work toward meeting its governance commitments to the Minister. The Director's instructions are the first point of reference for AIC policies; and they refer to other guidelines and procedures, along with delegations. All areas continue to develop procedures and guidelines and to make them available via the intranet. Linkages between the AIC's document management system and the intranet ensure that staff members have the current version of these documents at their fingertips.

The intranet was upgraded during the year to update the Institute's new visual identity. An internal search facility provided by Funnelback was installed. A job tracking system was also written to provide an online IT helpdesk via the intranet.

JV Barry Library

Client services

Library staff continued to collaborate with AIC researchers, through both literature searching and current awareness services, to ensure that AIC work reflects current, reliable, relevant information available in the public domain. Library staff takes an active interest in research projects so that new material can be brought to the attention of individual researchers. The library also undertakes tailored literature searches and other reference work to support individual research projects.

Current awareness alerts, which list new reports, journal articles, books, and websites, are produced on crime prevention, cybercrime, drugs, evaluation, financial crime, Indigenous justice, juvenile justice, people trafficking and smuggling, and recidivism. A new alert, on homicide, was introduced during the year. Although they are produced for AIC researchers, the subject alerts are also distributed, by email, to interested stakeholders.

A consortium arrangement through the Australasian Libraries in the Emergency Sector (ALIES) network enabled the AIC to subscribe to a group of Ebsco databases this year at a substantially reduced rate. As well as the SocIndex database, the AIC now has access to Business Source Premier and the International Security and Counter Terrorism Reference Center. The latter has been particularly valuable for the AML/CTF research the AIC undertakes. The range of databases, with many articles in full text, improves the efficiency of the discovery and delivery aspects of literature searches, whether conducted by researchers themselves or by library staff on their behalf. The library manages contributions to three of the AIC's monitoring programs - Deaths in Custody, Fraud against the Government, and National Homicide Monitoring Program - and to cybercrime and bushfire arson projects by identifying news articles on these topics. In addition, it monitors media articles about the AIC's research impact. Major reference work was undertaken during the year to support research projects on cybercrime; sex trafficking; money laundering; diversion of Indigenous offenders; firearms; bushfire arson; costs of crime; performance measurement in law enforcement; pornography; juvenile gangs; organ trafficking; emissions trading fraud; drug driving; wrongful convictions; alcohol and violence; crime modelling; violence in the taxi industry; green criminology; mental health and the criminal justice system; and sexual assault legislation.

The interface to the library catalogue on the AIC website was redeveloped during the year and now has a clearer search screen. As it uses Funnelback, the search engine for the AIC website, results are displayed by relevance and alternative search terms are displayed.

Box 2: Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards

National award winners

The Caversham Training and Enterprise Centre Program (Western Australia)

The Caversham Training and Enterprise Centre is an initiative for local community crime prevention and youth re-engagement that provides young people at risk of not completing compulsory schooling, or of school exclusion, with access to education and training. Operating out of a once derelict primary school, it teaches young people the construction and trade skills necessary to transform the abandoned facility into an enterprise and training centre for predominantly Aboriginal youth.

The facility also houses a program using positive role models in informal surroundings to improve the employability of participants and reduce their risk of reoffending. Students pursue numeracy, literacy, and art studies, building their resilience, autonomy and sense of self worth. Participants are aged between 15 and 19 years, demonstrate risk factors associated with antisocial and criminal behaviour, and do not fit the standard delivery models for education and training.

Domestic Violence Intervention Court Model (New South Wales)

This program provides timely support to victims and children, from initial police investigation to post-court outcome, by tracking victims and children through the criminal justice system. Police, local court administration and Department of Community Services staff meet weekly to discuss the needs of victims and their families, whether housing, life skills training or counselling, and ensure they are given that assistance. The court also monitors offenders, reducing the chances of them becoming repeat offenders. Police and corrections staff maintain contact with the offender even after their completion of the perpetrator program, and provide social support.

The program improves prosecution without increasing the burden on victims during the legal process. Police ask victims whether they are willing to give a verbal statement on video about the circumstances of the crime. This electronic evidence is presented to the offender prior to the first court appearance. The 'vivid evidence' better displays the consequences of the crime to the offender, the defence and ultimately, the court.

The program does not shift the problem of domestic violence to another government agency, because victims', children's and offenders' needs are shared cooperatively between police, Department of Community, nongovernment organisations and Department of Corrections, at all phases through the criminal justice system.

Intensive Supervision Program (Western Australia)

The Intensive Supervision Program works to reduce juvenile offending by targeting those who commit serious and/or repeat offences or whose severe antisocial behaviour increases their offence risk. In an Australian first, the program uses the multi-systemic therapy model, which is backed by 30 years of applied research. Evaluations of this program worldwide show a 25-70 percent reduction in reoffending severity and frequency.

Sustained behavioural changes are achieved by working with juveniles and their families and significant others in their environment to develop strategies that incorporate everyday demands and stresses of life. The program gives primary caregivers the skills and resources needed to independently address the difficulties in raising young people with behavioural problems and provides juveniles with the skills to successfully adjust to family, peers, school and neighbourhood demands.

National police award winner

Camp IMPACT (New South Wales)

Strike Force Delage was formed to investigate a number of aggravated break, enter and steal offences in Macquarie Fields in south-western Sydney. Following a police vehicle pursuit that ended in a crash that killed two young suspected offenders and the escape of a third, several days of community violence ensued, which targeted police with well planned sporadic violence. As a result of what is commonly known as the Macquarie Fields riots, the relationship between the police and the youth of Macquarie Fields had completely fractured.

Macquarie Fields police initiated a number of programs with the purpose of building relationships with local youth and reducing crime. The IMPACT program was developed as a crime prevention strategy to engage local disaffected youth. Young males who either were involved in the riot to some degree or had previously had negative contact with police are nominated to participate. The camp is aimed at participants building better rapport/trust with police, developing a sense of self worth, identifying risks to their wellbeing and understanding what is socially acceptable from a community perspective. Camp IMPACT also allowed police to have a greater insight into the personal lives of these young people who have come to their notice, to understand them better, and to interact with them in a more positive way.

The success of the camp has paved the way for further phases of the recovery program. Members of the local Youth Advisory Council identified the need to positively influence other people in the community who did not have the opportunity to attend Camp IMPACT. As a result, two IMPACT Community Days have been held at Macquarie Fields Youth Centre, with more than 80 young males and females involved. These community interactions maintain the momentum of Camp IMPACT, the influence of youths over one another, and the police in a positive way.

Meritorious police award winner

Police Business Security Kit (Victoria)

A proactive resource to reduce crime in and around small business environments, the Business Security Kit provided advice on crime prevention and safety topics identified as being those that small business operators request most often, and successfully integrated crime prevention advice with information on occupational health and safety.

There is a strong emphasis on the value of staff training/educational programs, reinforced by recommendations to draft and implement staff reward and recognition policies, and to involve staff in planning processes concerning safety.

The kit includes advice on how to respond following an offence and encourages victims to report crimes to police, indicating what to expect. Useful victim referral and WorkSafe information are also provided.

The kit was first launched in Moorabbin in 2003. Public demand led to state-wide release in 2006.

CINCH database

The CINCH bibliographic database is compiled and maintained by the JV Barry Library. The database is one of the family of abstract and index databases hosted by Informit (see for more information). CINCH aims to include all new material about crime and criminal justice in Australasia - books, reports, journal articles, websites, conference proceedings, and papers - with high quality subject indexing and abstracts. CINCH records are also available in the JV Barry Library's catalogue, on the AIC website.

At the end of June 2008, the database contained 54,049 records. The contractor for indexing and abstracts for the CINCH database is Informed Sources Pty Ltd.


The library continues to develop its collection as a hybrid print and digital resource. More than half the new monograph entries in the catalogue are electronic only documents. Following the recommendations of the library review, and with reduced space available following the refurbishment, the library no longer collects print copies of reports available electronically. A major weeding exercise was held during the year, which reduced the print collection by 20 percent and resulted in subsequent deletions from CINCH, the library's database and the Libraries Australia database.

The AIC has continued to make a cataloguing contribution to the National Library service, Libraries Australia. Libraries Australia is an Internet based service that plays an essential part in the operation of hundreds of Australian libraries, facilitates the creation and sharing of quality cataloguing data for library materials, acts as the central resource in an efficient interlibrary loans service, and supports the provision of reference services. It provides access to the national database of material held in Australian libraries, known as the national bibliographic database. Previously only available within contributing organisations, Libraries Australia is now publicly available through the National Library of Australia's website.

The AIC continues to send a monthly batch of electronic records to Libraries Australia for addition to the database. Libraries Australia then either matches them to existing records and adds a holding record or creates a new catalogue entry. This year, the JV Barry Library contributed 413 cataloguing records to Libraries Australia. The number of original catalogue entries indicates that, although its collection is not large, the AIC continues to house a valuable and uncommon resource.

Interlibrary loans

The library provides loans, interlibrary loans, and document delivery services on a basis of partnerships and interlibrary cooperation. These activities enable the library to deliver publications, documents, and information to AIC staff that are not available in the AIC's own collection. The library continues to actively support cooperative interlibrary lending schemes and utilises the Libraries Australia document delivery service for the rest of its interlibrary loans work. Although full text fee-for-service databases are increasingly used, there has not been an appreciable decrease in the number of articles requested by AIC staff or external libraries.

During the refurbishment, the collection was unavailable for some months, with journals inaccessible for a longer period. This affected the library's ability to provide interlibrary loans to other libraries. Nevertheless, the library has continued its status as a net lender, an indication of the strength of the JV Barry Library collection.

Contributions and networks

Apart from participating in the national interlibrary loan network and contributing to the national bibliographic database, the library contributes important news from Australia and overseas to the Crimnet list of criminal justice researchers, practitioners, and policy makers. Other discussion lists to which contributions, including notice of new AIC publications and events, are made cover Indigenous affairs, Australian policy, and international crime prevention.

The library is an active member of the World Criminal Justice Libraries Network (WCJLN). As a member of the WCJLN executive, the library's manager was a member of the planning committee for the meeting of the network in Stockholm in June 2008. She also delivered a presentation on finding Australian literature through online resources.

The library continues to build relationships with the emergency management sector, through involvement with the ALIES group, particularly through its annual meeting. The library is a member of the planning committee for ALIES's 2009 meeting. ALIES works closely with the Australian Disasters Information Network group, coordinated by the AGD. An initiative of the ALIES network that the library is involved in is the development of a purchasing consortium for online services. The expansion of databases available to AIC staff is an outcome of this work and is expected to continue into the future.

Reciprocal interlibrary loan networks to which the library belongs include ALIES, Gratisnet (health libraries), GLASS (social sciences libraries), and the group of Australian criminal justice agencies' libraries. These libraries forgo the usual charges for interlibrary loans in the interests of reducing costs and usually meet requests within a shorter period than the formal standards require.

Membership of these networks also enables the library to ask for assistance from colleagues around the world to meet the needs of AIC researchers. Current research and program initiatives have not always been documented, and networks are vital for establishing contacts for researchers and for updating information.

Library review

At the request of the Board of Management, the AIC conducted a review of the JV Barry Library's operations and services during the year. The terms of reference asked the reviewers to report on:

  • the nature and volume of demand for the library's services, and how these can be met
  • information requirements of key stakeholders
  • potential improvements to processes, products, and services
  • challenges to the library
  • the unique capabilities of the library and how they can be developed
  • how the library should manage the AIC's datasets.
  • The review, conducted by consultancy Libraries Alive!, contained a number of recommendations, concerning:
  • management of print and electronic collections
  • development of a strategic plan
  • performance measurement and reporting
  • environmental scanning of and the changing ways of dealing with digital information
  • closer relationships with research
  • continuing IT developments, particularly Web 2.0 implementation
  • attention to dataset management.

Although it found strong support for the work of the library among AIC researchers and stakeholders, the review recommended improved performance measurement and reporting within an explicit strategic framework. With the abolition of the former Information Services section, a strategic plan focused on the library is in development, within the context of the strategic plan for the Communications and Information section


Outputs and outcomes

The following table shows outputs and outcomes for projects current in 2007-08. It can be difficult for a research agency to identify outcomes within the same year as the research was undertaken, as it sometimes takes several years for its impact to be apparent. The value of research data is not only in the initial study. Often the data may be reanalysed to answer a different question or initial analyses may be pooled into a larger meta analysis that enables a more authoritative conclusion to be drawn about the efficacy of a particular intervention or phenomenon. Monitoring trends, and hence our capacity to model future outcomes and impacts, requires significant investment in long term data collection systems. Such modelling cannot occur until the collections have been established.

The Institute reviews client satisfaction at the end of each project and monitors public and media interest in its work. We note references in the media, literature and in parliament to our work and publications, and keep a watching brief on legislative reforms. However it can be difficult to discern if a particular legislative change was the direct result of one particular piece of research. More often than not it results from a culmination of research and public concern about a particular matter.

Examples of how AIC work has had an impact on practice and policy deliberations include:

  • a study on sexual assault and related offences in the ACT is to be used by the Government when making policy decisions to help victims of sexual assaults
  • the Primary Industries Ministerial Council considered responses to the findings on crime in the fishing industry in Australia
  • The publication, Good practice framework: policing illicit drugs in rural and remote local communities, prepared for the National Drug Law Enforcement Fund by the AIC in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Studies, is being issued to all police officers new to working in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands
  • The Australian Government Minister for Ageing referred to the report on missing persons when announcing that aged care facilities will be required to report to the Department people who are missing without an explanation.

The AIC's work was mentioned substantively seven times in federal Parliament during the year. References were made to cybercrime, firearms, the establishment of the AIC, drugs and crime, reform of criminal justice legislation, child sexual assault, and alcohol and violence.

Summary of outputs and impacts, 2007-08
Key: T&I=Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice; RPP= Research and public policy paper; TBP=Technical and background paper
Programs/projectsKey outputsOutcome/impact
Violent crime
National Homicide Monitoring Program Annual report
2 T&Is
Provision of data to key agencies
Increased public and key stakeholder awareness of homicide trends
Homicide data used as indicator of national efforts to overcome Indigenous disadvantage
National Armed Robbery Monitoring Program Annual report
Provision of data to key agencies
Increased awareness amongst the public and industry groups of armed robbery characteristics and trends
Trends in violent crime 1 T&I Increased public and key stakeholder awareness of violent crime trends
Sexual assault in Indigenous and CALD communities 1 T&I Increased public and key stakeholder awareness of specific needs of these communities
Violent crime and child abuse in Indigenous communities 2 consultancy reports to client
1 presentation
Improved evidence on violent victimisation in Indigenous communities
ACT sexual assault data 1 RPP Informed efforts to improve tracking of sexual assault matters within the criminal justice system
Increased awareness of sexual assault occurrence and risk factors
Property crime
National Firearms Theft Monitoring Program Annual report
Provision of data to key agencies
1 presentation
Increased awareness of the nature and extent of firearms theft amongst the public and key stakeholders
Informs the deliberations of the MCPEMP Firearms Policy Working Group
Bushfire arson 1 TBP
2 T&Is
1 roundtable
8 Bushfire arson bulletins
4 presentations
Increased awareness amongst key stakeholders of issues
Improved public awareness of bushfire arson
Carjacking in Australia 1 T&I Increased public and key stakeholder awareness of the extent of carjacking
Building site crime 1 TBP Increased awareness of the extent and nature of theft and vandalism at residential building sites
Provides a useful guide for practitioners, facilitating the development of effective crime prevention measures
DUMA 1 technical workshop
1 T&I
4 newsletters
1 submission to government inquiry
Provision of data to key agencies
2 presentations
Improved evidence base on illicit drug use and offending with data cited in international and national reports on drug trends
Additional funding provided for continuation of piloted sites
ATS 1 presentation Input to strategy development
Transnational and organised crime
Transnational crime 1 Transnational crime brief
1 T&I
11 presentations
Informed development of strategies to address corruption
Increased public and key stakeholder awareness of effective responses to corruption
Illegal timber trade 1 RPP Increased awareness amongst key stakeholders of issues
Human trafficking 2 T&Is
1 presentation
Increased awareness amongst key stakeholders of issues
Market for ATS in Oceania 1 RPP Increased awareness amongst key stakeholders of issues
Informed policy change and law reform considerations
Economic and high-tech crime
Consumer fraud 2 T&Is
4 presentations
Increased public awareness of consumer fraud
High-tech crime 1 High tech crime bulletin
5 presentations
Increased public and key stakeholder awareness of issues
Technology and crime 1 RPP
1 T&I
Increased public and key stakeholder awareness of responses to technology-enabled crime
Informed policy and practice responses to high-tech crime
Environmental and resource crime
Illegal activities in Australian fishing industry 1 RPP Increased awareness of issues amongst key stakeholders, including the Primary Industries Ministerial Council
Informing policy and practice responses to illegal activities
Environmental harm 1 T&I Increased awareness of issues amongst the public and stakeholders
Criminal justice responses
National Juveniles in Detention Monitoring Program Annual report
Provision of data to key agencies
1 presentation
Data used in the annual report on government services by the Steering Committee on Government Services
National Deaths in Custody Monitoring Program Annual report
Provision of data to key agencies
Monitoring implementation and impact of Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody recommendations
Data used in report to UN
Community attitudes to Commonwealth criminal penalties Consultancy report to client Informed policy deliberations
Juror deliberations 1 RPP
2 T&Is
Increased key stakeholder awareness of policies and procedures affecting juror satisfaction
Increased public and key stakeholder awareness of influences in juror decision making
Wrongful convictions 1 T&I Increased key stakeholder awareness of nature and extent of wrongful imprisonment
Informed policy deliberations
Criminal justice responses to substance abuse and offending in Indigenous communities 1 RPP Increased public and stakeholder awareness of the nature of Indigenous substance abuse and offending
Policing of illicit drugs in remote and regional Indigenous communities 1 workshop 1 presentation Increased key stakeholder awareness of good practice response
Drug court and other diversion programs 1 RPP
2 T&Is
6 presentations
Increased public and key stakeholder awareness of effectiveness of diversion programs
Recidivism 1 RPP
2 presentations
Increased public and key stakeholder awareness of nature and extent of recidivism
Informed policy considerations
Criminal justice system responses to sexual assault 1 T&I Increased public and key stakeholder awareness of the impact of juror attitudes
Capacity building
Crime prevention capacity building 12 AICrime reduction matters
7 presentations
Increased public and key stakeholder awareness of crime prevention good practice
Missing persons 1 RPP
1 T&I
Data used in the development of good policy and practice
Counting the costs of crime 1 RPP Increased public and stakeholder awareness of the costs of crime to the community
NCCPP partnership 1 workshop
1 report to client
Tip sheets
Informed policy deliberations
Indigenous justice clearinghouse Website maintenance and updating Increased stakeholder access to relevant information and reports

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