Report on performance
The year saw the AIC continue to undertake high-profile, innovative and rigorous research that covered a wide range of crime and criminal justice issues of concern to Australian and state and territory governments. The Institute had many achievements in the year and the following particularly stand out:
- A report on international student victimisation in Australia was the first of its kind to match data from the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) with data on victimisation from police records.
- A report on trafficking in firearms provided a valuable insight into the types of firearms being used and how they enter the market.
- The second publicly released report on fraud against the Commonwealth outlined the extent of fraud experienced by Australian Government departments and agencies in 2010–11.
- A review of grants for crime prevention projects funded under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 was conducted on behalf of Attorney General’s Department (AGD).
- A new AIC capacity-building program, Crime Prevention ASSIST, was launched to support crime prevention practitioners.
- The secondment of two staff to work on research projects at the ACC resulted in the drafting of a report on serious organised investment fraud, which has been co-badged by the AIC and ACC and will be released in 2012–13.
During the year, the AIC took stock of its research priorities for 2012–14 to ensure that its strategic direction continues to meet the needs of key stakeholders. This review was shared and discussed with the Criminology Research Advisory Council. Research priorities for the next two years build on the research directions of the AIC over the past few years. They were determined to be:
- Crime prevention—the AIC will continue to develop expertise in crime prevention. This work will be concentrated mainly in Crime Reduction and Review, with some extension to other research teams. One of the projects is to develop a web portal containing practitioner-friendly resources derived from prior research by the AIC and others that offers guidance on delivering crime prevention. Provision of other forms of support to crime prevention practitioners and robust evaluations of crime prevention initiatives are also projected.
- Criminal justice responses—criminal justice responses will continue to be a significant element of AIC work. Future research is planned in a diverse range of content areas, where the focus will be on the impact of policy and legislative initiatives, law enforcement activity, sentencing and corrections.
- Substance abuse and crime—research on substance abuse and crime will continue to be delivered primarily through the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program, which is managed in the Violence and other Serious Crime Monitoring team. Additional primary and secondary research will be undertaken as funding permits and via contracted fee-for-service research.
- Transnational and organised crime—researching this crime type is an increasingly important example of the way the AIC supports the goals of the Australian Government. The AIC’s significant work in this area includes research on money laundering, fraud, cybercrime, identity crime, corruption, environmental crime and trafficking in persons.
- Violent crime—current work includes the monitoring of activity associated with homicide and armed robbery, and research projects related to domestic violence. As violent crime continues to be a national problem, this area will continue to be a priority.
- Vulnerable communities—crime is not experienced or perpetrated uniformly across the Australian community. Recognising this, the program was established to focus on communities that may be at increased risk of either victimisation or offending, with a view to identifying approaches to their particular problems. Populations of concern include young people, Indigenous communities and people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Older Australians may also be a target population, particularly as victims of fraud.
With its focus on high-quality applied research, the AIC plans to continue conducting independent research that supports policy and practice at both Commonwealth and state/territory level.
Violent and Serious Crime Monitoring
The VSCM team is particularly concerned with research programs on substance abuse and crime, and its links with violent crime. The team consists of 11 researchers led by Research Manager, Jason Payne.
Throughout 2011–12, the VSCM team continued in its role of coordinating AIC’s core crime monitoring programs. These included the National Homicide Monitoring Program (NHMP), the National Deaths in Custody Program (NDICP), DUMA and the National Police Custody Survey. Reviews of DUMA and NDICP led to significant improvements in the programs (see below).
Following a review in 2011 of all AIC monitoring programs, a number of changes were implemented during 2011–12, including a transition for most programs from annual to biennial reporting. This new reporting arrangement will help ensure that monitoring programs remain on track to deliver detailed, policy-relevant research within realistic budget parameters.
In addition to crime monitoring, the VSCM program continued to deliver on a number of high-profile research programs in 2011–12. In August 2011, the final report into international student victimisationwas released. This comprehensive analysis of crime victimisation data, undertaken to investigate a perceived rise in crimes committed against Indian students studying in Australia, was the first of its kind to use data from DIAC, matched with national police victimisation records, to examine the prevalence of student victimisation in Australia.
In its ongoing role as a consortium member of the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre, the AIC finalised a number of crime and justice research papers on topics such as cannabis drug-driving, cannabis and mental health in the criminal justice system, and cannabis use among prisoners in Australia.
VSCM also worked on a number of externally funded projects, including research into the Policing of Alcohol and Drug Misuse in Metropolitan Environments, funded by NDLERF.
In 2011, VSCM also began evaluating the effectiveness of six alcohol and substance misuse rehabilitation programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients. This evaluation is funded by AGD in support of the National Indigenous Law and Justice Framework 2009–15 (adopted by the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General). The framework seeks, in part, to increase safety and reduce offending within Indigenous communities by addressing alcohol and substance misuse.
The purpose of the evaluation is to assess whether the programs, or elements of them, can be considered ‘good practice’. The basis for determining good practice will assist in identifying the best approaches to tackling crime, justice and community safety issues in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The evaluation employs qualitative methods to assess good practice elements, augmented by some quantitative analysis to ascertain the nature of substance misuse and related offending that is occurring in local areas and to gain a general profile of clients who utilise local alcohol and drug services. This project is being undertaken in partnership with the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.
Key program outputs
National Deaths in Custody Program
In order to align with federal government reporting practice, NDICP was moved to reporting on a financial year basis. This change will be evident in the next monitoring report, which is due out in October 2012 and will cover data to 30 June 2011.
During the second half of 2011, the AIC finalised a comprehensive review of NDICP. The review focused on data quality, clarity of definitions and areas of improvement in data collection and validation processes. All of the changes to NDICP that were identified through the review were implemented and are included in the program’s forthcoming report. As part of the review, new data was collected around the prevalence of drugs and/or alcohol, and of mental illness among those who die in custody, and analysis of this new data has been included in the forthcoming report.
National Police Custody Survey
The survey is a census of all persons taken into custody by police and lodged in cells anywhere in Australia for a defined period. It was conducted first in August 1988 and subsequently in August 1992, August 1995, October 2002 and August 2007.
A review of the program was conducted in 2011, which brought together representatives of all of Australia’s police services. Recognising that data on police custody had improved over time, the review recommended that a new methodology be developed and piloted in one or two states—based on aggregated whole-of-year data rather than a one-month census period. The AIC is currently working with police agencies to finalise the methodology and scope of the revamped survey, with a view to conducting a pilot in New South Wales in September 2012.
National Homicide Monitoring Program
Following the decision to move to biennial NHMP reporting in 2011–12, the focus was on producing a report using 2008–09 and 2009–10 data. Publication of the report will occur in late 2012. The NHMP research team is currently engaging with police services to collect data for the 2010–11 and 2011–12 period.
Drug Use Monitoring in Australia
Operating since 1999, the DUMA program has provided timely data on drug use and offending to a range of stakeholders in the justice and health sectors for over 13 years. The regular DUMA outputs inform operational policing practices in drug-related crime. DUMA data are also used to inform other justice agencies, including those in the intelligence sector.
In 2011–12, the AIC began a comprehensive review of DUMA to decide how to modify the program in light of changes to the AIC’s funding structure. This involved extensive consultations with key stakeholders in justice and other relevant sectors. The consultations included a forum with state police representatives from relevant jurisdictions and a call for submissions from other key stakeholders to discuss ways to improve the DUMA program. As a result of these consultations and other considerations, DUMA’s methodology is likely to be modified in 2012–13 to include a reduction in the frequency of its data collection but an increase in the use of specialised DUMA addenda.
Deaths in custody
Deaths in custody is one of a few Indigenous-specific indicators of comparative disadvantage in the criminal justice system. The unique data collected as part of NDICP is used for planning, monitoring, performance assessment and research. It is used by the state/territory data providers and by an increasing number of key Australian Government agencies, including the Commonwealth Grants Commission, the Productivity Commission and various bodies associated with the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). The AIC continues to work closely with custodial authorities to monitor how efforts to close the gap are impacting on Indigenous overrepresentation in the justice system and the related issue of deaths in custody of Indigenous Australians.
In 2011, the AIC was invited to contribute to the Australian Indigenous Law Review’s commemorative edition on the 20th anniversary of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Senior AIC researchers reviewed long-term trends in the data for their article Twenty years of monitoring since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody: An overview by the Australian Institute of Criminology.
Homicides in Australia
NHMP produces the most comprehensive set of data on Australian homicides. This dataset is integral to understanding the nature and extent of this crime and is a key resource that can be used to inform policy development and interventions. AIC disseminates these important data by developing research partnerships and completing data requests with and for academics and government agencies.
In 2011–12, the NHMP team partnered with Professor Stephen Tomsen (University of Western Sydney) under a CRG-funded project titled Homicide in the Night-time Economy. The team also contributed data to the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria for its publication Just say goodbye: Parents who kill their children in the context of separation.
NHMP data were also featured in a presentation at the Intimate Partner Violence and Homicide Symposium hosted by Griffith University’s Violence Research and Prevention Program.
Major stakeholder relationships
The VSCM research team has a very close working relationship with representatives of police agencies, corrective services departments, juvenile justice agencies and the coroner’s court staff in each jurisdiction. Researchers frequently liaise with personnel in all of those organisations.
In particular, and as a result of the review of monitoring programs, the team actively engaged with agencies throughout 2011–12 in an effort to identify and develop ways to improve its monitoring research functions. The AIC’s monitoring of crime and justice issues would not be possible without the information provided by each of Australia’s police services, by prison administrators and by juvenile justice authorities, who also assist by reviewing publications prior to release. Over the year, VSCM also timed the release of particular DUMA reports on police detainees and alcohol to coincide with the Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency’s (ANZPAA) regular ‘blitzes’ on alcohol-related crime, Operation Unite.
During 2011–12, the AIC continued its collaboration with the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre on a range of work focusing on cannabis use in the criminal justice system. A highlight was work on a communication strategy involving consultations with representatives from police, courts, corrections and juvenile justice. The aim of the forthcoming communications strategy is to improve the dissemination of drug-related research to criminal justice sector practitioners.
Highlight 2 Drug use monitoring
Substance use and crime
In 2011–12, DUMA produced a number of publications that focused on drug use and its related harms, including criminal activity. A highlight was the release in 2012 of a Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice paper, which examines attribution estimates for specific drugs and by specific attribution types, providing the most comprehensive estimates of this kind available in Australia (Payne & Gaffney 2012). Following the theme of crimes resulting from drug use, a second Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice paper was released using DUMA data that focused specifically on amphetamine users and related crime in Western Australia (Gately et al. 2012).
Another highlight of the DUMA program in 2011–12 was the release of a Research in Practice paper comparing drug use rates among offenders in Australia with those of offenders in the United States. The study found general similarities in rates of drug use between Australian and American offenders, with the exception that cocaine use was considerably higher among American detainees and methamphetamine use was higher among Australian detainees. This paper followed the release of another Research in Practice brief that analysed DUMA data to show a sharp increase in methamphetamine use among Australian detainees in 2011 (Sweeney & Payne).
Both papers attracted considerable media attention, due mainly to an escalation in methamphetamine use among DUMA police detainees. The papers were followed by a Research in Practice brief focusing on the use of ecstasy among police detainees, which showed a decrease in 2011.
In response to increased media and public attention on the non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs in Australia, in 2011 the AIC developed an addendum to the DUMA survey that questioned police detainees about the diversion of pharmaceuticals to the black market. The findings were released in a Research in Practice brief detailing the sources and methods of obtaining pharmaceutical drugs illegitimately. On a similar note, a Trends & Issues paper was released that investigated the prevalence of prescription drug use among police detainees and its links to crime (McGregor, Gately & Fleming 2011).
Crime and populations
The Crime and Populations team is particularly focused on the Vulnerable Communities program. This includes research on juvenile justice, Indigenous community safety, trafficking in persons and other vulnerable groups. The team consists of seven researchers led by Research Manager Laura Beacroft.
In 2007, the AIC received Australian Government funding for a program of research on trafficking in persons, as part of the Australian Government Anti-People Trafficking Strategy. On conclusion of its first four-year program in early 2012, the AIC released a series of publications on issues in the Pacific, along with the second of two trafficking monitoring reports—Trafficking in Persons Monitoring Report: January 2009–June 2011, which included analysis of an AIC survey of the community’s awareness of, and attitudes to, trafficking in persons.
The AIC has now embarked on its second four-year plan for research into human trafficking, which emerged from a review of the program in 2011. The areas of current and future research fall into three streams:
- improving the monitoring of trafficking in persons;
- trafficking for the purpose of exploitation in non-sex industries—marriage and construction; and
- further work on the nature of other trafficking, trafficked persons and offenders.
A survey of sex workers that explored their vulnerabilities and protections regarding exploitation was conducted in 2011, resulting in over 500 usable responses. A report will be released in late 2012.
Crime and Populations continues its research program on Indigenous justice and juvenile justice issues. The team is currently involved with the AGD-funded evaluation of four Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander diversion programs being conducted in partnership with the Australian Institute of Family Studies. This research, due to conclude in late 2012, fills a gap identified by earlier work undertaken by the AIC for the Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse that had noted a paucity of evidence about the type of intervention that can reduce offending by Indigenous juveniles and thereby their overrepresentation in the criminal justice system.
The Crime and Populations team is also involved in a number of juvenile justice projects (see below), as well as taking on a role with the Australasian Youth Justice Conference, which the AIC is developing in partnership with the Australasian Juvenile Justice Administrators (AJJA) for May 2013.
Key program outputs
To meet its obligations as a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its supplementary Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, the Australian Government implemented a strategy to eradicate trafficking in persons and the related crime of slavery. Monitoring the region is also an obligation under the protocol. The AIC’s trafficking research program is assisting the Australian Government meet its commitment in the global fight against this transnational crime.
Trafficking: Community awareness and attitudes survey
Examining community awareness of trafficking, including expectations about victims, can shape awareness-raising activities and shed light on issues that might affect trial outcomes. The AIC analysed the findings of its community survey in the second monitoring report on trafficking in persons:
- Of the 1,617 respondents, only 148 identified all three elements of the UN definition of human trafficking, whereas 973 confused it with people smuggling—most of these believing that over 1,000 people are trafficked into Australia each year. This is a substantial overestimation.
Trafficking in persons in the Pacific region
Given its proximity, Australia has established various committees and forums on human and other security in the Pacific region and participates in other relevant committees and forums.
In the absence of documented trafficking in the Pacific, the AIC analysed trafficking-like cases and verified that people may be trafficked into the region for sex work and non-sex work, such as in agriculture. It also found risks of some Pacific countries being used as transit points for destination nations, in part due to their special migration status.
Cultural practices such as bride price and customary adoption were found to create greater risks of trafficking in children and women, and an uneven labour market was found to create opportunities for exploiting and possibly trafficking migrant workers. The findings were published in two papers in the T&I series—Australia’s Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme: Managing vulnerabilities to exploitation (Ball, Beacroft & Lindley 2011) and Vulnerabilities to Trafficking in Persons in the Pacific Islands (Lindley & Beacroft 2011).
Survey of sex workers on vulnerabilities to, and protections against, trafficking in persons
The AIC funded the Scarlet Alliance, Australia’s peak sex workers body, to conduct a multilingual survey of both migrant and non-migrant sex workers around Australia. The survey aimed to identify vulnerabilities to trafficking and explore the strategies used by sex workers to reduce the risk of being trafficked. It examined migration experiences, access to justice and services, and how industry conditions for migrant sex workers compare with those for non-migrant sex workers. Analysis of the data is expected to be published later in 2012 and will be crucial to identifying trafficking and risks for trafficking.
Trafficking and marriage arrangements
In response to increasing concern, and anecdotal and officially reported evidence of trafficking within marriage arrangements, the AIC initiated a research project to consider:
- forced and servile marriage in the context of people trafficking;
- the use of sham marriages and spousal visas to facilitate people trafficking;
- the types of arrangement that might increase or decrease risks to trafficking (see Highlight 2); and
- implications for Australia’s prevention, detection, prosecution and victim services.
The AIC continued to conduct research on significant issues in juvenile justice. Earlier research from the AIC’s national juveniles in detention monitoring program and other analyses indicated that the proportion of juveniles in detention who were on remand (unsentenced) had tripled from about 20 percent of all young people in detention in the early 1980s to approximately 60 percent in the late 2000s. In 2011–12, the AIC was contracted by the AJJA to undertake two projects of significance.
Juvenile bail and remand national research project
In May 2012, the AIC provided a draft report on juvenile bail and remand to AJJA for comment. The report gives an overview of trends across Australia’s jurisdictions and explores what has driven the increase in the proportion of juveniles in detention for remand issues.
National Youth Justice Framework research project
The AIC was contracted to develop a National Youth Justice Framework for AJJA with the objective of providing a unifying document to frame or inform competing policy and practice responses among and within jurisdictions across Australia. A discussion paper in support of the framework has been submitted to AJJA, including an overview of effective responses to juvenile offending.
The framework is an important step towards ensuring that juvenile justice is evidence based. It is expected that the framework will be completed in late 2012.
Misperceptions about child sex offenders
In a Trends & Issues paper published in late 2011, the Crime and Populations team outlined the evidence against five common misperceptions about child sex offenders with the purpose of supporting implementation of policies and programs that are based on evidence. This paper was among the top 10 most widely read criminal justice policy publications in 2011, according to Australian Policy Online.
During 2011, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons (especially women and children) visited Australia and subsequently presented a country report to the UN General Assembly commending the AIC’s research in the following terms:
The AIC issued an important report on labour trafficking…and is undertaking research into trafficking and the sex industry. Future research will focus on the construction industry and trafficking in marriage, as well as the development of a framework for monitoring trafficking in persons in Australia and a related guide for collecting information and data on trafficking in persons.
While its research on trafficking issues and marriage has not concluded, the interest it drew in the reporting year resulted in the AIC presenting preliminary findings at various forums and in a submission to a Senate inquiry. The Senate committee used much of the AIC’s evidence in its recommendations.
Indigenous justice outcomes
Evaluation of law and order measures under the Northern Territory Emergency Response
The AIC undertook an independent review for the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) of law and order measures introduced through the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER). The review was published in November 2011 as a chapter in FaHCSIA’s NTER Evaluation Report 2011 and AIC’s data analysis formed an appendix to the report. The evaluation report has informed Australian Government policy in relation to Indigenous Australians, including the Stronger Futures initiative.
Review of the Northern Territory Youth Justice System
Data analysed and reported by the AIC provided a core element of a review by the NT Department of Justice of its youth justice system. The AIC analysed Justice Department data on police, courts, and juvenile detention and education to understand recent changes in youth offending and criminal justice responses. The AIC’s work formed a chapter of the Review of the Northern Territory Youth Justice System, published in September 2011, which plays a key role in the ongoing development of the Territory’s youth justice policy.
Incarceration rates of Indigenous people
During the year, the AIC continued to help address the high incarceration rates of Indigenous people by providing new or better evidence to support the whole-of-government approaches in the National Indigenous Law and Justice Framework. The framework links to the Closing the gap targets adopted by all governments and monitored by the Productively Commission (Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2011; Productivity Commission 2011).
Indigenous community safety
During 2011–12, the AIC built on earlier research to develop a community safety survey for use by FaHCSIA in developing an understanding about safety issues in remote Indigenous communities and of whether communities feel these issues are changing over time and how these communities work towards resolving them.
The results of the survey informed the AIC’s review of law and order measures, which formed part of the Northern Territory Emergency Response Evaluation Report 2011 released by FaHCSIA in late 2011.
March 2012 saw the publication of technical and background paper no. 47, ‘Community night patrols in the Northern Territory: Toward an improved performance and reporting framework’. The paper summarised the results of an AGD-funded project to assess the benefit of the NT night patrol. The paper’s recommendation of an improved framework for monitoring performance and reporting echoed the Northern Territory Emergency Response Evaluation Report 2011—to which the AIC also contributed data analysis—confirming general support for night patrols and the need for better data to more comprehensively assess performance.
Major stakeholder relationships
AFP–AIC in trafficking in persons forums
In 2011–12, the AIC combined its expert knowledge in trafficking in persons with the policing priorities of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in hosting a number of awareness-raising and information-gathering activities. In June 2012 the AFP and AIC co-hosted a workshop in Canberra on supply and demand relating to trafficking in persons in Australia. The interactive workshop sought to identify key achievable actions related to supply and demand, which will be detailed in a report to be distributed to participants. A major need for action that emerged is to better understand and respond to cultural issues.
The AIC also held a series of information sessions in 2011 in Darwin, Adelaide and Hobart targeting non-expert audiences. The need emerged to enhance the dissemination of information on human trafficking to front-line police and service providers, particularly in rural and regional areas. In March 2012 the AIC joined the AFP to co-present a series of similar forums in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. The forums examined the impact of human trafficking in the regions visited and the dissemination of regional capacity to target it.
Analysing International Organization for Migration data on trafficking in persons
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is an intergovernmental body committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society. IOM has provided direct assistance to approximately 15,000 persons trafficked to more than 90 destination countries and collected data for research and analysis. In 1999, IOM developed and implemented the Counter-Trafficking Module, the largest global database of primary data on victims of trafficking.
During 2011, the AIC collaborated with IOM to analyse the Counter-Trafficking Module Indonesia database, which contains significant and unanalysed data relating to 3,700 Indonesian victims of trafficking identified between 2005 and 2010. The AIC and IOM carried out joint research and analysis of extensive information on:
- the characteristics and histories of trafficked persons;
- the trafficking process, including recruitment and transportation methods;
- patterns of exploitation and abuse;
- instances of re-trafficking; and
- IOM’s assistance role.
The analysis will contribute to more targeted government responses, providing insight for victim identification, risk and protective factors, prosecuting cases and better victim support. A number of papers will be published using IOM data in late 2012.
Highlight 3 Servile marriage
How the AIC’s research on marriage and human trafficking informed legislation, inquiries and discussion in 2010–12
In the first study of its kind, the AIC interviewed suspected victims of trafficking and related exploitation to examine the relevance of marriage to trafficking in persons in Australia. Findings confirmed that forced, servile and sham marriages can involve elements of trafficking and slavery, and that some migrant women experience associated types of exploitation within various marriage arrangements, such as love marriages, arranged marriages, and marriages resulting from online marriage brokering and internet dating sites.
Preliminary findings were shared across a range of agencies and a submission was made to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs’ Inquiry into Marriage Visa Classes. The AIC was subsequently requested to provide evidence at the public hearing that would inform the committee’s report on the Prospective Marriage Visa Program. The report recommends several changes to the program to improve Australia’s anti-trafficking response in regard to prevention, detection and assistance.
The AIC also played an important role in the inclusion of forced marriage in legislation for slavery and trafficking. The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Slavery, Slavery-like Conditions and People Trafficking) Bill 2012 was drafted following the release by AGD of a discussion paper on forced and servile marriage. AGD had consulted with the AIC on the discussion paper before public submissions were invited in response.
More generally, the AIC’s research has contributed to the work of the Australian Government’s Anti-People Trafficking Interdepartmental Committee and operational agencies such as the AFP and non-government organisations. Trafficking through and for marriage is now a recognised issue of concern.
Global Economic and Electronic Crime
The Global Economic and Electronic Crime (GEEC) team focuses on issues of organised and transnational crime. This includes matters such as cybercrime, financial crime, identity misuse, corruption and environmental crime. The team consists of three researchers and is led by Principal Criminologist, Dr Russell Smith.
The GEEC program continues its research involvement in financial crime, identity crime, cybercrime, consumer fraud scams and corruption. It is also developing expertise in new areas of risk, including cloud computing for small business, emissions trading, domain name misuse, and the links between identity crime and cybercrime. Over the year, GEEC staff took on new anti-corruption work, building on prior research into public sector fraud and cyber security.
A major commercial publication was released, the Handbook of Global Research and Practice in Corruption (Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd 2011), which Dr Smith wrote in collaboration with Professor Adam Graycar of the Australian National University. GEEC also undertook consultancy work for AGD—collating the available information and statistics on corruption in Australia—which will be used to develop Australia’s Anti-Corruption Plan. GEEC program staff also delivered conference presentations on corruption and control of corruption.
The GEEC program’s research over many years into identity crime was used by AGD to develop the National Identification of Identity Crime and Misuse project. This project to develop an Australia-wide identity crime and misuse evidence base will address a critical capability gap, as identity-related crime is becoming an increasingly serious problem both in Australia and globally.
A contracted report produced for AGD on the Australian Experience of Corruption is being used in the development of Australia’s first National Anti-Corruption Plan. The objective is to strengthen Australia’s governance arrangements through a whole-of-government policy and plan on anti-corruption. The AIC will be releasing an updated version of the corruption report in late 2012.
During 2011–12, GEEC program staff continued their research into AML/CTF, completing a number of major publications. Research into fraud against the Commonwealth, consumer fraud and online fraud resulted in the release of survey reports and generated topical papers on new areas of risk relating to the global financial crisis and on advance fee fraud in Victoria. The program released a final publication arising from the AIC’s survey of cyber security risks to Australian businesses (ABACUS), which focuses on computer security threats faced by small businesses in Australia. GEEC also began new research into cloud computing and domain name misuse.
The collaborative research conducted by the AIC and ACC on firearms trafficking and organised criminal gangs is contributing to improvements in the collection of uniform data on illicit firearms in Australia. Through this work, GEEC produced a major investigative report, Firearm Trafficking and Serious and Organised Crime Gangs, using ACC and AFP data on the provenance of firearms seized during law enforcement between 2002 and 2009. This collaborative report, funded by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) and using research carried out with the AFP and ACC, attracted widespread media attention.
Key program outputs
During 2011–12, GEEC program staff completed a number of pieces of research into AML/CTF, including a major review on the AML/CTF regime in nine selected countries, as well as separate reports on the risks associated with the non-profit sector and money laundering risks to international trade.
The Fraud against the Commonwealth 2009–10 annual report to government, the second to be publicly released, was launched in March by the Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice, the Hon Jason Clare MP. The results were presented at various events for Australian Government agencies.
As noted above, program staff also completed a short consultancy that drew together current research and data for the report on the Australian Experience of Corruption, which was undertaken at short notice to provide AGD with background information for Australia’s National Anti-Corruption Plan.
Program staff finalised their collaboration with ACC on serious and organised investment fraud in Australia. This research was undertaken by ACC staff and an AIC researcher seconded to ACC. Further research into so-called ‘boiler room scams’ is being investigated for 2012–13.
Program staff made submissions during the year to the Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety’s Inquiry into the Cybersafety of Senior Australians (17 February 2012), the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s Inquiry into Malware and Cybercrime (7 September 2011) andPM&C’s discussion paper Connecting with Confidence: Optimising Australia’s Digital Future (15 November 2011).
Program staff maintained a close relationship with AGD in relation to work on fraud against the Commonwealth, identity crime monitoring, the anti-corruption plan and cybercrime. Consultations were also held with a range of other agencies and organisations, including:
- AFP and ACC on firearm trafficking and consumer fraud;
- Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre and the Universiti Teknologi MARA Malaysia in regard to money laundering;
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime expert working group formed to establish a Transnational Organised Crime Threat Assessment for Southeast Asia/Pacific;
- Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and the Clean Energy Regulator in connection with fraud risks associated with the carbon price mechanism; and
- Murray–Darling Basin Authority regarding water theft.
Program staff took part in the 12th Asian Regional Partners Forum on Combating Environmental Crime in Bangkok.
As Chair of the Research Subgroup of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce, GEEC conducted the annual online consumer fraud survey on its behalf. This year’s survey attracted a considerably higher number of respondents than in previous years. The survey findings will be released in August 2012.
Crime Reduction and Review
The Crime Reduction and Review team focuses on issues associated with crime prevention and program evaluation. The team consists of eight researchers led by Deputy Director (Research), Dr Rick Brown and supported by Principal Criminologist (Crime Prevention), Professor Peter Homel.
The Crime Reduction and Review team worked closely with states and territories on strategies, publications and technical advice to promote crime prevention and reduce crime. A key element of this work is an ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of criminal justice system responses to crime. In 2011–12, the team’s work included developing and publishing the National Crime Prevention Framework on behalf of the Australia and New Zealand Crime Prevention Senior Officers’ Group. This landmark document is a blueprint for planning and implementing effective crime prevention in Australia. The team also collaborated with the Crime Prevention Division of the NSW Department of Attorney General and Justice on a series of guideline publications on tackling different crime problems.
As part of its program evaluation role, the team completed a series of evaluations of specialist courts and alternative dispute resolution processes in New South Wales and Queensland.
During the year, a program of work was undertaken in the area of roads policing, which included evaluating a scheme to prevent trucks from speeding in New South Wales. The team also developed a research design to evaluate the impact of random breath testing in Queensland and conducted a study of success factors. Research was also conducted on the prevalence of drink driving among police detainees (based on an analysis of DUMA data) and on deaths resulting from police pursuits. These findings will be published in 2012–13.
Key program outputs
During the year, Crime Reduction and Review completed a number of important research projects that will shape future policy. On behalf of AGD, the team completed an evaluation of projects funded from confiscated assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. This will be used to shape the way in which the grant program operates in future.
On behalf of the Victorian Government’s Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee, the team completed a survey of local government authorities in Victoria regarding crime prevention activity. The survey was published in the committee’s report Inquiry into Locally Based Approaches to Community Safety and Crime Prevention in June 2012.
The team also undertook data collection and analysis for the National Armed Robbery Monitoring Program and will publish a biennial monitoring report in 2012–13.
Much of the work of Crime Reduction and Review is undertaken on a fee-for-service basis. The team won a number of research contracts during the year, including for studies on:
- the social and economic costs of imprisonment and community corrections (Corrections Victoria);
- male victims of crime (NSW Victim Support);
- random breath testing (Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads); and
- estimating the number of crowd controllers required at large events, undertaken in conjunction with the University of Technology Sydney (NDLERF).
Evaluation of state criminal justice programs
During the year, the AIC completed a major program of work to evaluate specialist court programs. This included evaluations of the Queensland Homelessness and Special Circumstances Court Diversion Program, the NSWChildren’s Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Program and the NSW Family Group Conferencing Program.
Evaluation of the ACT’s Sexual Assault Reform Program examined progress in implementing policy changes to support victims/survivors of sexual assault when they enter the criminal justice system.
Australian crime: Facts & figures 2011
This annual compendium of statistics on a range of crime types at the national and state/territory level incorporated a new feature for the 2011 edition—a chapter that focuses on a particular area of interest. The chapter for 2011, Spotlight on child victims: Crime and child maltreatment, gives an overview of national statistics on this topic. Facts & Figures continues to be one of the AIC’s most downloaded publications.
Two major conferences on crime prevention were delivered during the year, with significant contributions from the Crime Reduction and Review team. The first, Crime Prevention and Policy: New Tools for Contemporary Challenges in Sydney in November 2011, focused on developing tools for evaluating crime prevention activity. The second, Crime Prevention and Communities: Social and Environmental Strategies for Safer Neighbourhoods in June 2012, focused on implementing community-based crime prevention.
A highlight of 2011–12 for Crime Reduction and Review was the launch of the capacity-building initiative, Crime Prevention ASSIST. ASSIST stands for Advice, Specialist Support, Information and Skills Training. The program provides four key services:
- practical advice through a new website www.cpassist.aic.gov.au;
- training and support for local crime prevention practitioners;
- technical assistance for programs and projects at the local and national level; and
- research on and evaluation of crime prevention.
The web portal was launched at the AIC’s national conference on crime prevention in June 2012 (see Highlight 3). In November 2011, in conjunction with the Sydney Institute of Criminology, the program delivered its first training course on evaluating crime prevention initiatives. In June 2012, it delivered a series of workshops on problem analysis, implementing crime prevention, and project management and evaluation. The workshops provide a foundation for training events in 2012–13.
Contribution to international crime prevention policy and practice
The AIC’s role in supporting crime prevention activity continued in 2011–12, in Australia and overseas. On behalf of the Australia and New Zealand Crime Prevention Senior Officers’ Group, Crime Reduction and Review developed and published the National Crime Prevention Framework. At the national level, the AIC had representation on the Ministerial Crime Prevention Advisory Committee, which convened in Sydney in December 2011 and it continues to be represented on the board of Crime Stoppers Australia. At the local level, the AIC provided support to a Victorian parliamentary inquiry into locally based approaches to community safety and crime prevention.
Outside Australia, the Director represents the AIC on the Board of the International Centre for Crime Prevention and also participated in its conference in South Africa. The AIC advises the United Nations Global Network for Safer Cities program and is a member of the UN Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Program Network Institutes, a network of peak criminology research centres.
Roundtable on Crime Prevention ASSIST
In November 2011, the AIC held a roundtable, largely for police representatives, to explore the demand for technical assistance in relation to crime prevention. The results of this roundtable were valuable for shaping the program’s work; further roundtables will be held in 2012–13 to ensure that the program remains focused on the needs of practitioners.
Armed robbery forum
The AIC hosted the National Armed Robbery Forum in February, which was attended by representatives of the banking sector, service stations, the Australian Hotels Association, relevant unions, newsagents, the police and the private security industry.
Highlight 4 CP ASSIST portal
At its Crime Prevention and Communities conference in June 2012 in Sydney, the AIC launched a new program building on established theory and the best evidence on good crime prevention practice—Crime Prevention ASSIST (CP ASSIST).
The purpose of the program is to improve crime prevention knowledge transfer and enhance the skills and capacity of practitioners working in law enforcement agencies, federal, state and territory government, local government and community organisations. CP ASSIST will achieve this by:
- producing applied prevention resources;
- providing training and professional development in crime prevention evaluation; and
- funding research and evaluation services.
To facilitate knowledge exchange, a web portal was made available at www.cpassist.aic.gov.au, or on the AIC internet webpage. The CP ASSIST web portal is a centralised, national repository of resource materials relevant to the diverse range of crime prevention practitioners. The material comprises:
- applied research material and tip sheets on different approaches to crime prevention;
- toolkits and better practice guidelines on evaluation and performance measurement, building effective partnerships and policing approaches; and
- publications on topics such as cybercrime, fraud and financial crime, property crime, violent crime, youth crime, alcohol and drugs, CCTV and vulnerable people and communities.
The web portal will develop over time to include further publications, video seminars and workshops, including crime prevention knowledge exchange workshops.
The program’s second major area of activity in 2011–12 was to develop a series of live training workshops in partnership with the Institute of Criminology at Sydney University. These ongoing workshops train in the design, implementation and evaluation of crime prevention programs to give policymakers and practitioners a comprehensive understanding of crime prevention key topics and challenges. Groups of up to 25 are guided by highly experienced practitioners through realistic case studies and scenarios. The AIC is exploring training options with a number of government agencies in the states and territories.
Criminology Research Grants program
Management and outcomes
The CRG program provides funding for criminological research that is relevant to public policy and to promote the value and use of such research.
As detailed in the AIC Annual Report 2010–11, and canvassed in the Overview and in the Governance and Accountability section of this year’s edition, the CRG program (formerly the Criminology Research Council grants program) was transferred to the AIC following the merger of the Institute and the Criminology Research Council on 1 July 2011. This merger was brought about through changes made to the Criminology Research Act 1971.
The CRG program is now managed by the AIC, with the Director making grants based on the advice and recommendations of the newly established Criminology Research Advisory Council.
The AIC Director also takes into account the Advisory Council’s advice in determining the Institute’s forward research priorities, as council members bring a cross-jurisdictional strategic perspective to criminological trends and associated government policy.
The Advisory Council is made up of representatives from Australian Government and each state and territory. In 2011–12, it was chaired by Ms Penny Armytage, Secretary of the Victorian Department of Justice. The Advisory Council membership is listed in the Governance and Accountability section of this report. The AIC provides secretariat services for the Advisory Council.
The Guidelines for Grants, issued by the AIC to applicants, include the following criteria adopted by the Advisory Council in consideration of applications:
- public policy relevance;
- the extent to which the proposed research will have practical application and contribute to the understanding, prevention or correction of criminal behaviour;
- the likelihood of the proposed research making a substantial and original contribution to criminological knowledge;
- the cost effectiveness of the research;
- the soundness of the design and methodology and the feasibility of the research;
- the competence of the applicant(s) or principal investigator(s) to undertake the proposed research;
- ethics committee approval, where appropriate;
- availability of data, where required; and
- the extent of funding or in-kind support obtained from relevant agencies.
In the 2011–12 financial year,the AIC contributed $215,000 to the CRG program from Commonwealth appropriation for the purposes of making grants. The AIC also contributed $62,212 to administer the grants program.
State and territory governments collectively made an equal contribution of $215,000 to that of the Commonwealth for the purposes of making grants. State and territory contributions were calculated on a pro rata population basis as shown in Table 2.
A summary of CRG income and expenditure for 2011–12 is provided in Table 3.
Table 2: State and territory contributions to the Criminology Research Grants Program for 2011–12
|State and Territory contributions, 2011–12
|New South Wales
|Australian Capital Territory
Table 3: Criminology Research Grants Program financial data 2011–12
| Income for purpose of making grants
|State and territory funding
|Total income for purpose of making grants
|Expenditure for grants program
|Direct administration expenditureb
a: The AIC awarded four new grants out of the 2011–12 grants round. The total value of grants awarded was $252,437
b: Direct administrative expenditure includes expenditure agreed by the parties to be funded from contributions made for the purposes of making grants. This included expenditure relating to the work undertaken by the CRG Research Fellow, Grants Assessment Panel member fees, grants advertising costs and work undertaken by the AIC at the request of the Advisory Council
Table 4: Criminology Research Grants Program indirect administration financial data 2011–12
| Income for indirect administration
| Expenditure for grants program administration
|Indirect administration expenditurea
a: Indirect administration expenditure includes grants program secretariat costs plus corporate overhead allocation costs
A panel comprising two senior criminologists, selected by the Advisory Council from recommendations by the President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology, reviewed applications for general grants. The panel for 2011–12 consisted of Professor Alan Borowski and Professor David Indermaur. Each panel member usually serves for two years.
Panel members are required to assess all applications for research funding submitted to the Advisory Council independently of each other and must complete an assessment sheet for each application. Their assessments are discussed at a meeting held with the AIC’s Academic Adviser to the Advisory Council, who submits final recommendations to the Director and the Advisory Council for consideration at its November meeting.
At its meeting on 24 November 2011, the Advisory Council acknowledged the significant contribution of the Academic Adviser, Professor Peter Homel, who stepped down after two years in the Adviser role. Mr Matthew Willis takes on the Academic Adviser role for 2012–13.
The Advisory Council currently funds a Research Fellow, who is located within the AIC and undertakes research on projects agreed between the Advisory Council and the Director. Dr Lorana Bartels had ably performed the role for two years. In mid-2011, she resigned from the AIC to take up a position at the University of Canberra. Dr Lisa Rosevear was appointed and commenced duty on 12 September 2011 on a 0.8 part-time basis.
New projects for 2011–12
Bonds, suspended sentences and reoffending: Does the length of the order matter?
Dr Don Weatherburn, Dr Suzanne Poynton
NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research
The CRG made a grant of $25,238 for this project. The scope of the project is:
…to further understand…whether and in what circumstances and by how much the duration of a bond or suspended sentence reduces the risk of reoffending.
The research will address whether the length of a suspended sentence or bond influence the risk of reoffending, and whether long suspended sentences or long bonds more effective than prison in reducing reoffending? It will further explore whether long bonds more effective than long suspended sentences in reducing reoffending.
Understanding the extent nature and causes of adult-onset offending: Implications for the effective and efficient use of criminal justice and crime reduction resources
Dr Carleen Thompson, Professor Anna Stewart, Dr Troy Allard, Ms April Chrzanowski
The CRG made a grant of $15,141.50 for this project.
This project will investigate the nature, causes and costs of adult-onset offending and assess the potential for targeting crime prevention interventions for adult-onset offenders. This will be examined using a longitudinal birth cohort of individuals born in 1983–84 who had contact with the Queensland criminal justice system to age 27 (n=54,598). It is anticipated that offending profiles and explanatory factors will differ between more and less serious adult-onset offenders and between earlier onset and adult-onset offenders. Findings will support targeting diversionary criminal justice programs to less serious adult onset offenders and reserving costly interventions for those at risk of developing serious offending patterns.
Crime in high-rise buildings: Planning for vertical community safety
Dr Michael Townsley, Dr Sacha Reid, Dr Danielle Reynald, Dr John Rynne
The CRG made a grant of $54,900.34 for this project.
The aim of this research is to inform housing and planning policy development by exploring the variation in types and volumes of crime in a range of existing high-density communities. The methodological approach will be multi-method, comprising quantitative analysis, in-depth interviews, a systematic observational instrument and resident surveys. By analysing actual rates and types of crime, building management styles and perceptions of fear of crime, the research will reveal how policing and high-rise building management styles can coalesce to create safer vertical communities.
Preventing the onset of youth offending: The impact of the pathways to prevention project on developmental pathways through the primary years
Professor Ross Homel AO, Dr Kate Freiberg, Dr Sara Branch
The CRG made a grant of $60,092 for this project.
This project will conduct multivariate statistical analyses of a subset of 899 children from the Pathways to Prevention longitudinal child database to evaluate the impact of Pathways interventions on antisocial behaviour, adjustment to school and seven dimensions of positive development in late Grade 7/early Grade 8—straddling the transition to high school, a critical period for the onset of youth crime involvement. The Pathways database is unique in combining detailed data across the primary years on patterns and intensity of child or parent involvement in Pathways interventions, with data on educational achievement (including NAPLAN), behaviour, social-emotional wellbeing and family context.
Using evidence to evaluate Australian drug trafficking thresholds: Proportionate, equitable and just?
Dr Caitlin Hughes, A/Professor Alison Ritter, Mr Nicholas Cowdery AM QC
University of New South Wales
The CRG made a grant of $49,423 for this project.
One of the key measures in Australia for distinguishing drug users from traffickers and for determining the seriousness of drug trafficking offences is the quantity of drug involved. New research by two of the Principal Investigators demonstrates that, assessed against evidence of Australian drug markets, current ACT drug offence thresholds pose risks of unjustifiable or inequitable convictions. In this study we will evaluate drug trafficking thresholds throughout Australian states and territories, taking into account inter-state differences in legal thresholds and drug markets. This will identify whether, consistent with our ACT findings, legislative problems beset all Australian drug trafficking thresholds.
Sexting and young people: Perceptions, practices, policy and law
Dr Murray Lee, A/Professor Thomas Crofts, Dr Alyce McGovern, Dr Michael Salter, Dr Sanja Milivojevic
Sydney Institute of Criminology, University of Sydney
The CRG made a grant of $55,812 for this project.
This project is an interdisciplinary and multi-methods investigation of ‘sexting’ by young people.
Three research aims link to specific methods:
- A quantitative online survey and qualitative interviews will be used to understand the perceptions and practices of young people in regard to ‘sexting’.
- A media and policy analysis will evaluate broader community perceptions about young people and ‘sexting’.
- A legal analysis will review the legal frameworks in relation to such behaviours.
- The project will allow us to understand how young people perceive and practise ‘sexting’ and to assess the appropriateness of existing law and policy in this area.
Continuing projects for 2011–12
Determining the impact of opioid substitution therapy upon mortality and recidivism among prisoners: A 22-year data linkage study
Professor Louisa Degenhardt, Dr Lucy Burns, Dr Donald Weatherburn, A/Professor Tony Butler, Dr Amy Gibson, Dr Jo Kimber, Professor Richard Mattick, A/Professor Christopher Doran, Dr Devon Indig, Dr Tim Slade, Ms Deborah Zador
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales
The CRG made a grant of $100,000 for this project.
This study will quantify the impact of opioid substitution therapy (OST: methadone or buprenorphine) on two important outcomes for opioid-dependent prisoners: mortality, particularly in the post-release period; and subsequent criminal activity. Using linked data, the study will have almost 600,000 person-years of follow-up over 22 years, allowing fine-grained analyses of disadvantaged subpopulations. This evidence cannot be obtained with accuracy from small studies or randomised controlled trials.
This study will specifically examine:
- the impact of OST provision in prison and, following release, on prisoner mortality
- the extent to which OST reduces incidence and time of re-offence among opioid-dependent persons, stratified by crime type
- potential differences in the impacts of buprenorphine and methadone upon the extent and timing of reincarceration
- differences in duration of OST, and its impact on crime and mortality, among vulnerable subgroups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and women
- estimated years of life lost (YLL) to prison in the cohort, and potential impact of OST in reducing YLL
- cost benefits of OST in reducing crime and imprisonment among this group.
Study results will have clear implications for the health and welfare of this population, and will provide evidence of potential health and crime reduction gains, and the cost savings that might result.
Reoffence risk in intrafamilial child sex offenders
Professor Jane Goodman-Delahunty, Professor Stephen C Wong
Charles Sturt University
The CRG made a grant of $26,233 for this project.
The Violence Risk Scale—Sexual Offender version includes dynamic and static factors. It has the potential to contribute significantly to recidivism risk assessment by predicting sexual violence, identifying treatment targets and evaluating treatment change. This study tests the validity and reliability of the VRS-SO, previously validated on incarcerated Canadian extrafamilial sex offenders, in an Australian sample of 214 intrafamilial sex offenders in a community-based setting. Findings will have implications for practice (use of the instrument for this population), theory (increased knowledge about sex offender typologies) and policy (viability of legislated pre-trial diversion program for biological/nonbiological parents who commit child sex offences).
Homicide and the night-time economy
Professor Stephen Tomsen, Mr Jason Payne
University of Western Sydney
The CRG made a grant of $55,332 for this project.
Australian national homicide monitoring is comprehensive. Nevertheless, key aspects of this crime are not fully understood, including the uneven long-term decline between offences occurring within distinct locations and social relations between parties. This study comprises a unique analysis of homicide, producing new quantitative and qualitative information about the full prevalence, trends and locations of killing related to aspects of the expanding night-time economy. It will advance knowledge of the range of related public and private/domestic offending to inform official strategies with more specific knowledge about levels of higher risk and the possibilities of prevention in key social settings and communities.
Community variations in hoax calls and suspicious fires: Geographic, temporal and socio-economic dimensions and trajectories
Dr Jonathan James Corcoran, Dr Michael Townsley, Dr Rebecca Leigh Wickes, Dr Tara Renae McGee
University of Queensland
The CRG made a grant of $45,015 for this project.
Malicious hoax calls for service (MHCs) and suspicious fires (SFs) are a significant burden to the community, financially and in the potential danger they present, yet little is known about the dynamic associated with their prevalence. This research will comprehensively examine these offences using unit-level location data supplied by the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service. The aim of this research is to identify the temporal and spatial patterning of MHCs and SFs. Analysis will use advanced methods of geographic visualisation and spatially based temporal modelling. Understanding the patterning of these offences will provide the foundation for future crime prevention activities.
Classifying domestic violence perpetrators: Identifying opportunities for intervention and prevention
Mr Jason Payne, Mr Josh Sweeney, Ms Sarah MacGregor
Australian Institute of Criminology
The CRG made a grant of $106,000 for this project.
This project seeks to identify a typology of domestic violence perpetration by triangulating officially recorded incidents of domestic violence from the Safe at Home program with descriptions of incidents and consultations with stakeholders. The two primary concerns of the research are to determine whether groups of domestic violence offenders are identifiable in Australia and whether such typologies are relevant for practitioners in the field. This is because typological undertakings in the area of domestic violence have been limited in Australia, and it cannot be assumed that international typologies will relate to the Australian experience for a range of factors such as differences in the structures of criminal justice systems, related data practices, and evolving ideas about what constitutes domestic violence. Similarly, it is unclear how typologies translate into practice or policy. For example, is it practical for a practitioner to apply a typology in their work, and how can researchers assist in developing typologies that are more beneficial for the context of service delivery and policy?
Developing successful diversionary schemes for youth from remote Aboriginal communities
Dr Kate Senior, Dr Richard Chenhall, Mr William Ivory and Dr Tricia Nagel
Menzies School of Health Research
The CRG made a grant of $186,208 for this project.
This study aims to investigate youth gangs in a remote NT Indigenous community. Diversionary schemes for Indigenous youth need to be based on an evidence base for gang membership’s negative effects (substance misuse, crime and violence) and positive effects (high self-esteem, low rates of self-harm and suicide). This three-year longitudinal project, utilising mixed method methodologies, will gain an in-depth understanding of youth gang membership and more broadly the aspirations and life goals of the youth involved. In close association with an Indigenous run diversion project, the most appropriate diversionary activities for Indigenous youth will be investigated.
Reports of completed research
Oral language competence and interpersonal violence: Exploring links in incarcerated young males
Dr Pamela Snow and Professor Martine Powell
The CRC made a grant of $76,196 for this project.
This project will build on prior research conducted by the Principal Investigators, who have shown that unidentified oral language deficits are present in over 50% of a community sample of male youth offenders. Such deficits include difficulties using and understanding everyday spoken language and may be undetected/misinterpreted by the communication partner. In this study, the prevalence of such deficits will be examined in an incarcerated sample (n=100), and links to violent offending (the most severe form of disrupted interpersonal behaviour) will be examined. Findings will inform both theory and practice in offender treatment programs, where verbally mediated interventions are common.
Child sexual abuse and subsequent offending and victimisation: A 45-year follow-up study
Professor James Ogloff, E/Professor Paul Mullen and Ms Margaret Cutajar
The CRC made a grant of $43,652 for this project.
This 45-year follow-up study examined the rate and risk of subsequent offending and victimisation in 2,759 child sexual abuse (CSA) victims compared to the general population through data linkage to a Victoria Police database. While the majority of CSA victims do not develop to offend or be victims (77% and 64% respectively), they are a significant at-risk group relative to the general population, being 4.97 and 1.14 times more likely to be charged with and be the victims of any offence, respectively. Highest risks were associated to violent and sexual offences, with the risk for sexually offending accounted for by male victims abused at an older age.
Addressing the ‘crime problem’ of the Northern Territory intervention: Alternative paths to regulating minor driving offences in remote communities
Dr Thalia Anthony and Dr Harry Blagg
The CRC made a grant of $33,000 for this project.
This study examines the incidence of Indigenous driving offending in the Northern Territory since 2006 and assesses the effectiveness of law enforcement in addressing this crime. It seeks to ascertain alternative forms of regulating driver safety and whether they are better suited to Indigenous communities. In doing so, it identifies some of the major reasons for offending. It is particularly concerned with driving offences that have increased dramatically since 2006, including driving unlicensed and driving unregistered and uninsured cars.
ID scanners in the night-time economy: Social sorting or social order?
Dr Darren Palmer, Dr Peter Miller and Dr Ian Warren
The CRC made a grant of $56,452 for this project.
The project investigates the introduction of ID scanners in ‘high-risk’ entertainment venues in Geelong (VIC) as part of an attempt to enhance community safety. Recently the inner city area of Geelong has been transformed into a significant ‘night-time economy’. However, such developments come with potential harms, such as increases in crime and anti-social behaviour. Networked ID scanners are a unique innovation introduced to address these issues. The project documents what has been done and why, and what impact and potential (or actual) harms exist, to serve as a model for future policy and program development.
Sentencing of Indigenous offenders in the lower courts: A study of three Australian jurisdictions
Dr Samantha Jeffries and Dr Christine Bond
The CRC made a grant of $15,086 for this project.
Indigenous disparities in imprisonment sentences are well documented. Yet there have been few systematic attempts made by researchers in Australia to explain these disparities in the imprisonment decision-making of the lower courts (cf Bond & Jeffries 2011a; Bond, Jeffries & Weatherburn 2011). Further, little is known about how Indigeneity impacts non-imprisonment decision making. This study undertook exploratory and explanatory regression based statistical analyses of Indigeneity and lower court sentencing in South Australia, New South Wales and Western Australia. Results showed that, under like circumstances:
- Indigenous defendants were more likely than non-Indigenous offenders to be sentenced to prison in all three study jurisdictions. While this finding was consistent across time (1998–2008), the pattern differed by jurisdiction.
- Indigenous defendants were less likely than non-Indigenous offenders to be sentenced to a monetary order (compared to other non-imprisonment penalties).
- Indigenous defendants were sentenced to monetary orders of a lesser amount than non-Indigenous offenders.
- The impact of Indigeneity on imprisonment terms varied by study jurisdictions. In South Australia, Indigenous defendants were sentenced to shorter terms than non-Indigenous offenders. In New South Wales, Indigenous offenders were sentenced to almost equal prison terms. In Western Australia, Indigenous offenders received longer terms of imprisonment.
Within the context of the framework of focal concerns, this study assessed the evidence of three sentencing disparities hypotheses (differential involvement, negative and positive discrimination). Although requiring further investigation, the consistent finding of harshness in the decision to imprison Indigenous offenders is particularly concerning. Based on the focal concerns approach, a possible reason for this pattern is lack of time and information in lower court sentencing hearing. The pressures on lower court decision-making, and its consequent impact on Indigenous defendants, points to the need for the extension and development of strategies that allow more detailed and reliable information to be placed before magistrates at the time of sentencing (e.g. Indigenous sentencing courts).
Amphetamine use among detainees at the East Perth watch house: What is the impact on crime?
Mrs Natalie Gately, Dr Catherine McGregor, Ms Jenny Kessell, Professor Steve Allsop, Dr Anthony Gunnell, Dr Celia Wilkinson
The CRC made a grant of $55,251 for this project.
Amphetamines have been increasingly available on the Australian drug markets since the early 1990s, with a recent increase in clandestine laboratory detections as well as seizures by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Customs. The present study compared data from the Western Australian (WA) arm of the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) project from 1999 to 2009 with statistics on reported crime and drug seizures in WA. The DUMA dataset yielded 6,993 usable cases, which were categorised by self-reported use in the preceding 30 days and amphetamine-positive urinalysis as offending amphetamine users or non-users.
Self-reported indicators of amphetamine use were moderately to strongly correlated with objective indicators of use. Detainees’ self-reported amphetamine use was also associated with crimes against property and drug-related crime, whereas detained amphetamine non-users were more likely to commit public order offences, sexual offences and abduction/harassment related offences. The profile of amphetamine using offenders did not differ considerably to the overall detainee population. However, relative to amphetamine non-users, amphetamine users generally were more likely to be non-Indigenous, female, single, less educated, unemployed, first arrested prior to 18 years of age, previously have used a range of other illicit drugs, and consume less alcohol.
Overall, all indicators of amphetamine use pointed to a slight general downward trend in amphetamine consumption since 2000, prior to which there was a general upward trend. A moderate correlation was found between amphetamine seizures and self-reported amphetamine use at a three-quarterly time lag. Overall, it was recommended that similar research be conducted in other Australian states in order to make national comparisons. It was also recommended that greater resources be put into amphetamine supply reduction through increases in police operations targeting clandestine laboratories and general drug seizures. Reducing the supply of amphetamines may sequentially decrease the proportion of property offences committed in Western Australia.
Understanding criminal careers: Targeting individual and community-based interventions to reduce Indigenous overrepresentation
Dr Troy Allard, Ms April Chrzanowski and A/Professor Anna Stewart
The CRC made a grant of $48,181 for this project.
The project will adopt a criminal careers framework and determine (i) differences in the nature and cost of offending trajectories across the youth and adult justice systems based on Indigenous status and gender; and (ii) whether the spatial distribution of offender groups and the cost of these groups is a useful approach for targeting community crime prevention interventions. The project involves construction and analyses of a Queensland-based offender cohort, which includes all contacts that individuals born in 1990 have had with police cautioning, youth justice conferencing, youth court and adult court to age 20.
Trajectory models will be produced using the Semi-Parametric Group-based Method, with separate models based on Indigenous status and gender. It is anticipated that Indigenous offenders will have different offending pathways to non-Indigenous offenders, the chronic Indigenous offender group will be more costly than other groups and the spatial distribution of offender groups will facilitate targeting of community-based interventions to particular locations.
Analysis of supervision skills of juvenile justice workers
A/Professor Chris Trotter and Professor Gill McIvor
The CRC made a grant of $154,105 for this project.
An increasing body of research suggests that some interventions with offenders can reduce reoffending. While little of this research has focused on the impact of routine supervision of offenders on probation, parole or other community-based orders, a few studies have found that, when supervisors make use of certain skills, those under their supervision offend less often. This study involved the direct observation of 117 worker–client interviews conducted by juvenile justice workers with a view to examining the extent to which effective practice skills were used.
It found that workers were strong on relationship and pro-social modelling skills but not so strong on problem-solving, role-clarification or CBT skills. It found, like the earlier studies generally done with adults, that the more workers used effective practice skills the less young people under their supervision re-offended. It also found that workers given a counselling role made more use of the effective practice skills than other workers.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund
Management and outcomes
NDLERF is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing as part of its commitment to the National Drug Strategy. In June 2010, the AIC was awarded a four-year contract by Department of Health and Ageing to manage and administer the NDLERF grants program.
NDLERF contributes to the prevention and reduction of the harmful effects of licit and illicit drug use in Australian society by:
- enabling research that leads to high-quality, evidence-based drug law enforcement practice;
- facilitating experimentation and innovation; and
- enhancing strategic alliances and linkages between law enforcement personnel, human services providers and research agencies.
The NDLERF Advisory Board of Management sets the strategic priorities for funding and allocating funds for research projects that offer a practical contribution to operational or policy-level drug law enforcement activities in Australia. The Advisory Board also reviews and approves the progress and finalisation of funded research.
The functions performed for this program by the AIC include:
- administration of grants money;
- coordination of open funding application rounds;
- monitoring of the progress of individual research projects through the establishment of project reference groups;
- editorial support and publication of reports detailing outcomes of NDLERF-funded research;
- administration and support of the NDLERF Advisory Board through the services of a Research Fellow and an Academic Adviser; and
- facilitation and coordination of Advisory Board activities and communication.
The AIC hosted the annual NDLERF strategic priorities workshop on 30 March 2012.
Table 5: Publications released under the NDLERF program in 2011–12
|Opioid substitution treatment in prison and post-release: Effects on criminal recidivism and mortality. Sarah Larney, Barbara Toson, Lucy Burns & Kate Dolan, 2011. Monograph series no 37
|Drink or drunk: Why do staff at licensed premises continue to serve patrons to intoxication despite current laws and interventions? (Final report) D Costello, AJ Robertson & M Ashe, 2011. Monograph series no 38
|Reducing the methamphetamine problem in Australia: Evaluating innovative partnerships between police, pharmacies and other third parties. Janet Ransley, Lorraine Mazerolle, Matt Manning, Ingrid McGuffog, Jacqueline Drew & Julianne Webster, 2011. Monograph series no 39
|Law enforcement and khat: An analysis of current issues. Heather Douglas, Merali Pedder & Nicholoas Lintzeris, 2012. Monograph series no 40
Highlight 5 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards 2011
The AIC manages the annual ACVPA, with AIC Director, Dr Adam Tomison, chairing the Selection Board.
On 25 October 2011, seven ground-breaking projects that substantially reduced local crime rates were honoured at an award ceremony at Parliament House, Canberra.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Senator Kate Lundy, representing the then Minister for Home Affairs and Justice, Brendan O’Connor, presented three awards totalling $35,000 to outstanding community-based projects that prevent or reduce crime, two non-cash awards to government-funded programs and two non-cash awards to police crime prevention programs.
The projects involved Indigenous and rural communities, drug and alcohol-related crime, domestic and family violence offenders and victims, vulnerable youth and prevention of ATM robberies.
The three community-led projects winning a certificate and cash award of $10,000 or $15,000 came from Tasmania, New South Wales and the Northern Territory:
Safe from the Start (Tas)—This project trains workers and parents to work therapeutically with children aged 0–5 years who have witnessed family violence. The aim is to break the cycle of alcohol and drug addiction, violence and other criminal behaviours.
Burbangana Zoo Awareness Program (NSW)—The program, at Taronga Zoo, aims to increase a sense of belonging, connection to culture, self-esteem and achievement in Indigenous people aged 11–17 years who have experienced severe physical, emotional and psychological trauma.
Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation (NT)—The project offers tenancy, medical, family, and education and training support for homeless and other Aboriginal people in Darwin.
The two government-funded winning projects came from New South Wales and Western Australia:
Multi-systemic Therapy Program, Department of Health (WA)—The program teaches families/caregivers of a young person with a history of severe antisocial behaviour the skills to manage and improve the young person’s behaviour.
Domestic Violence Intervention Program, Corrective Services NSW—This 20 session rehabilitative group intervention is for offenders serving community-based orders or custodial sentences for domestic and family violence convictions or related offences.
The two national police winning projects came from New South Wales and Queensland:
Queensland Police Service’s ‘Weed it Out’ and James Cook University’s ‘Cape York Cannabis Project’ (Qld)—This joint project provides evidence-based interventions to reduce harms associated with cannabis use and problems relating to drug misuse in Indigenous communities in Cape York and the Torres Strait regions.
Strike Force Piccadilly Two (NSW)—This project is an extension of a previous ACVPA-winning public–private partnership to help police detect and incapacitate criminal gangs in gas attacks on ATMs though countermeasures using gas detection and disabling equipment, bollards and relocation of ATMs. Forensic assistance is also provided through the project partners.
The appropriation efficiency measures experienced by the AIC over the past few years have influenced or resulted in a number of changes to the delivery of outcomes in 2011–12. These included:
- the cessation of the crime monitoring programs for juveniles in custody and firearms theft;
- less frequent reporting of crime trends for the national armed robbery and homicide monitoring programs;
- a reduction in data collection for the DUMA program; and
- an extended delivery period for the trafficking in persons research program.
With effect from 2011–12, as a result of the transition to the FMA Act, the AIC’s depreciation and amortisation were no longer funded by departmental operating appropriations from government. Instead, replacement of fixed assets is funded from department capital appropriations through the Department Capital Budget. This is expected to result in an operating deficit equivalent to the depreciation expense.
The AIC’s operating result for 2011–12 was a deficit of $193,110 (2010–11: surplus of $133,149) against a revised deficit of $173,000 published in the AIC’s Portfolio Budget Statements 2011–12. This deficit position reflects the depreciation expenses for 2011–12 of $102,303 and was also affected by an increase in long service leave provision and expenses due to the decrease in the government bond rate during 2011–12. The government bond rate decreased from 5.21 percent on 30 June 2011 to 3.04 percent on 30 June 2012, causing an increase in employee expenses to the value of $93,205. Approval for an operating loss for this additional reported loss position was applied for in accordance with the Department of Finance and Deregulation (DoFD) requirements.
The adjusted operating result for 2011–12, taking into account both depreciation and movement in the government bond rate, was a small surplus of $2,398.
The total operating revenue was $9,615,263 (2010–11: $9,038,086) and consisted of the following:
- government appropriations of $5,432,000;
- sale of goods and rendering of services of $2,461,838;
- royalties of $80,169; and
- other revenue of $1,606,756.
Revenue from government appropriations decreased by a net amount of $1,338,000 from 2010–11. Decrease to revenues from government during the year included:
- a whole-of-government departmental efficiency measure, announced in November 2009, reducing appropriation in 2011–12 by $1,000,000;
- termination of the AIC’s AML/CTF measure of $862,000; and
- additional one-off efficiency dividends in 2011–12.
Increases to the AIC’s reported revenues from government included:
- the transfer of the revenue from government previously received by the Criminology Research Council $215,000. The AIC assumed the former CRC’s functions and the appropriation was transferred to the AIC; and
- a one-off increase in the AIC’s appropriation as part of the FMA transition process of $281,000.
Revenues from the rendering of services increased by $660,964 from 2010–11, reflecting a strategic decision by the AIC to undertake additional fee-for-service research contract work to offset the significant reductions in appropriation funding. This increase in external research contract work enabled the AIC to maintain a critical mass in research capacity.
The total operating expense was $9,808,373 (2010–11: $9,004,937) and consisted of the following:
- employee costs of $4,864,666;
- supplier expenses of $3,169,582;
- grants expenses of $1,671,822; and
- depreciation and amortisation of $102,303.
Expenditure in 2011–12 was more than $800,000 above expenditure in 2010–11 and resulted from an increase in activity in the grant programs managed by the AIC. This also includes expenditure under the CRG program, which was transferred to the AIC with effect from 1 July 2011.
Employee and supplier expenses both declined from 2010–11 as a direct result of the whole-of-government departmental efficiency measure and termination of the AML/CTF measure, which resulted in a considerable reduction in the AIC’s appropriation funding. This resulted in the AIC having to reduce staff numbers from an average 55.16 in 2010–11 to an average 50.38 in 2011–12.
The AIC is intending to maintain its staffing level at around 50 full-time equivalents, with reduced appropriation funding being offset by increased fee-for-service research project work and revisions to AIC fee-for-service charge rates.
Net asset position
The net asset position at 30 June 2012 was $2,616,281 (2010–11: $1,900,147).
Total assets at 30 June 2012 were $6,243,821 (2010–11: $6,418,372). The small decrease in assets was due primarily to a decrease in cash holdings.
Total liabilities at 30 June 2012 were $3,627,540 (2010–11: $4,518,225). The difference is mainly due to a decrease in the level of unearned income recognised under the AIC’s secretariat contracts. Major liabilities include prepayments received/unearned income of $1,909,597 and employee provisions of $877,912.
For detailed analysis, please refer to AIC financial statements (see page 89)
Communications and Information Services
The AIC conducts innovative, evidence-based research in crime and justice and is an important repository of criminological research and knowledge for a wide audience. Once research is completed, the AIC works to disseminate this knowledge effectively. The role of Communications and Information Services is to facilitate the transfer and adoption of this knowledge so that the AIC can meet its goal of informing policy and practice.
A communications team of five, along with four JV Barry Library staff, provide an integrated service in disseminating criminological knowledge on a range of platforms. With the transition to social media in 2010 and uptake of new technologies such as ePublication formats, the AIC’s reach in 2011–12 continued to expand.
The AIC communicates new knowledge developed by both AIC researchers and external authors. The regular AIC publication formats are the foundation of this dissemination. Because of the large volume of publications AIC produces, they are edited, designed and typeset in-house.
The AIC has two peer-reviewed flagship publication series—RPPs and T&Is—researched and written by AIC and external authors. These publications are produced with core AIC funding, CRG grants and using other funding sources.
Other publication categories in the AIC program include:
- Monitoring Reports—regular reports from AIC monitoring programs that capture data across Australia on a range of crime and justice issues.
- Technical and Background Papers (TBPs)—technical reports containing statistical and methodological material produced as part of the AIC research process.
- Australian Crime: Facts & Figures—an annual compendium providing a statistical overview of the most recent national information on crime in Australia, serving as a ready-reference resource, with a related online tool for testing a variety of datasets.
- Research in Practice—fact sheets, tip sheets and case studies from evidence-based research for practitioners in the criminal justice field.
- Brief—the AIC’s stakeholder newsletter summarising recent AIC research and activities, published in-house and distributed electronically.
In 2011–12, the AIC published 24 peer-reviewed and 57 non peer-reviewed publications (including other academic papers, handbooks and contracted research reports) and met all communication and publication KPIs for 2011–12.
While the number of peer-reviewed publications reduced this year, from 33 in 2010–11, non peer-reviewed publications increased as the AIC put resources into consultancy and contract work such as evaluations and technical analysis of state/territory programs. The publications team also prepares NDLERF reports.
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
|Table 6: Publication types released 2011–12
|Research and Public Policy
|Trends & Issues in Crime and Justice
|Technical and Background Papers
|Australian Crime: Facts & Figures
|Research in Practice
|Table 7: Product type 2011–12
|Other publications, including articles in external journals
|Events—conferences, seminars, workshops, roundtables
All submissions are subject to a rigorous review process before they are accepted for publication. Drafts are reviewed by senior research staff and undergo external review. All publications are then reviewed by the Director and are edited to conform to the AIC publishing style, promoting clear and understandable research.
The AIC has been recognised by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research as an accredited publisher eligible to receive university funding under its higher education research data collections specifications. This accreditation covers the peer-reviewed T&I and RPP series. The AIC gratefully acknowledges all those who performed peer reviews during the year.
Changes to the publication processes
All reports continue to be made freely available online and all new publications conform to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines compliance level AA. Over the last two years the AIC has been moving its publications to a primarily online format and reducing hard-copy print runs. In 2011–12, monitoring reports and RPPs were printed for library stock only. In 2012–13, print runs of publications will be further limited.
The AIC has a contract with Sydney University Press for print on demand of RPPs, monitoring reports, special reports and other publications that may warrant sale. A print and delivery arrangement is available from the AIC website or the Sydney University Press online bookshop.
The advent of ePublication has driven a further change in publication format. RPPs, monitoring reports and T&Is are now also available for ePub download on smartphones and tablets conforming to either Apple or Android formats.
Conference, forum and seminar program
A core part of the AIC’s dissemination role is to partner with other organisations to develop conferences on various areas of criminology.
Seminars and forums at the AIC
In 2011–12, the AIC continued to develop and host a large variety of events to improve understanding of issues in crime and criminal justice.
2011 Student Criminology Forum: 6 July
This annual one day forum gave more than 70 criminology, policing and law students the chance to hear some of the AIC’s leading researchers speak on drug crime, trafficking, crime prevention, cybercrime and other topics, and gain insight into the different crime monitoring programs run by the AIC. Students from a large range of institutions, from as far afield as Perth, Darwin and Brisbane, came to participate in the day-long program of seminars and workshops.
2011 Student Criminology Forum—Deputy Director (Research) Rick Brown with students from Edith Cowan University
2012 Commonwealth agency forum: 2 April
The forum was an opportunity for policy and research officers from Australian Government departments and agencies to hear about AIC research projects directly related to national programs and initiatives. The forum spanned security issues, health, Indigenous policy, research and policy adoption, program evaluation and cybercrime. It was attended by Commonwealth officers of executive level and above from departments and agencies as varied as AGD, Customs and Border Protection, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the AFP, Office of Regulatory Services and ACMA.
Highlight 6 AIC Conferences
In 2011–12, the AIC hosted three conferences, each evaluated very highly by participants, with the majority denoting them as having been ‘excellent’.
Crime prevention and policy: New tools for contemporary challenges
23–24 November 2011, Sydney
The conference was organised by the AIC and the Crime Prevention Division of NSW Dept Attorney-General & Justice and their colleagues in the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research. For a niche event on spatial, statistical and economic tools, the turnout of 130 participants exceeded expectations.
Keynote speakers were Mr Steve Aos of the Washington Institute of Public Policy and Professor Patricia Brantingham of Simon Fraser University Canada. Mr Aos took ideas for research evaluation and cost–benefit analysis to another level of policy precision.
Professor Anna Stewart of Grififith University presented further findings of her analysis of the 83/84 Queensland longitudinal database, while AIC Principal Criminologist Peter Homel presented on measuring and evaluating crime prevention programs.
Truth, testimony, relevance: Improving the quality of evidence in sexual offence cases
15–16 May 2012, Melbourne Cricket Ground Function Venue
This symposium was hosted by the AIC, Victoria Police and the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault, with FaHCSIA providing some funding.
Given improvements on what is known about sex offending, police and prosecutors from every jurisdiction, along with defence lawyers (many from Legal Aid) and law reform advocates and researchers met to clarify what evidence is (and should be) both relevant and admissible in sex offence trials. The objective was to explore ways to improve the criminal justice process to better meet the needs of victims while not impinging on the rights of the accused.
Justice Maxwell, the President of the Appeals Court of Victoria, gave the opening address. Other keynote speakers were Baroness Vivien Stern CBE, forensic psychologist Patrick Tidmarsh, Victorian Appeals Court Justice, Marcia Neave and Victorian Police Chief Commissioner, Ken Lay.
Crime prevention and communities: Social and environmental strategies for safer neighbourhoods
4–5 June 2012, Sydney; 6 June 2012, workshops at University of Sydney
The conference was a timely bringing together of police, crime prevention officers from local governments, crime prevention program designers and researchers—in all, 130 attendees from across Australia and 45 presenters. Participants looked at what works and what does not work in crime prevention and how to design and evaluate good interventions.
Notable among the international speakers specialising in urban safety and policing were:
- Mr Juma Assiago from UN Habitat’s Global Network on Safer Cities;
- Mr Jon Bright, from the UK Department of Communities and Local Government; and
- Professor Michael Scott from the Centre for Problem-Oriented Policing.
Australia was also represented by some notable speakers, in particular:
- Professor Ross Homel AO, who set up Pathways to Prevention in Queensland;
- Ms Sharon Payne, who is experienced in Indigenous safety in remote communities;
- Mr Mark Burgess, Chief Executive of the Police Federation of Australia and a champion of police-led crime prevention programs; and
- Ms Annette Michaux, General Manager, Social Policy and research at the Benevolent Society.
Images Top right: Mr Steve Aos, Director of the Washington Institute of Public Policy
Centre right: Justice Marcia Neave of the Victorian Appeals Court
Bottom right: Mr Juma Assiago from UNHABITAT’s Global Network addresses the Crime Prevention and Communities conference in June
Eight public seminars were held at the AIC during 2011–12, canvassing issues such as juvenile justice, cybercrime, fraud and police pursuits.
Table 8: Occasional seminars at the AIC
|Ten myths about terrorist financing—21 September 2011, Bill Tupman
|Crimes against international students in Australia—26 October 2011, Dr Adam Tomison
|Young offenders and marginalisation: Characteristics and issues—2 February 2012, Dr Jioji Ravulo
|Investigating cybercrime from an FBI perspective—28 March 2012, William Blevins
|Two-way accountability: Improving ethical evaluation practice in Indigenous contexts—19 April 2012, Associate Professor Emma Williams
|Dealing with rape: Controversies and political minefields—18 May 2012, Baroness Vivien Stern CBE
|Bringing the world home: Lessons learnt in the prevention and support of online fraud victimisation—31 May 2012, Dr Cassandra Cross, Queensland Police Service
|The challenges of use of force in policing—4 July 2012, Professor Geoffrey Alpert
The Australian media is crucial to the broad dissemination of AIC research. It brings issues into the public arena, highlights crime problems, raises public awareness about crimes such as internet scams and dispels myths (such as the perception that crime is on the rise).
The AIC also engages with the media to attract participation in its annual online fraud survey and promote its conferences. In 2011–12, there was heavy media traffic on:
- the release of Crimes against International Students in Australia report (August 2011);
- the release of the firearms monitoring and firearms trafficking reports (October 2011 and June 2012); and
- cybercrime and scams (across the year).
Table 9: Media requests and interviews
||AIC media releases
||Ministerial media releases
Figure 2: Media inquiries to the AIC by financial year (n)
Social and online media
The AIC has strongly embraced the potential of social media to more widely disseminate its work (and effectiveness as a national resource) to the broader community. A major development was the building of the AIC’s Facebook and Twitter sites, both of which have a worldwide following and often engender robust online discussions. As the world moves toward the increased use of tablets, smartphones, online lectures and seminars, and other video products, the AIC takes pride in being at the forefront of this digital transition to ensure that its product is read, seen and heard. In 2011–12:
- email subscribers increased by 29 percent to 2,998;
- Facebook followers increased by 57 percent to 2,378;
- Twitter followers increased by 217 percent to 1,178; and
- the 105 seminars on CriminologyTV have had more than 7,000 views, with an average monthly viewing rate of 515.
Table 10: Increase in social media and email subscribers (n)
||30 June 2011
||30 Sept 2011
||31 Dec 2011
||31 March 2012
||30 June 2012
||% increase over year
||avg view/ month
|Unique YouTube viewers per month
Library and Information Services
The AIC’s JV Barry Library plays a key part in the Institute’s role as the national knowledge centre on crime and criminal justice in its provision of library services to practitioners, policymakers, academics, students and the general public. Library staff also offer fundamental support to AIC researchers, particularly by anticipating their research requirements and proactively sourcing new and authoritative material.
The library, which houses the most comprehensive library-based collection in the field of criminology and criminal justice in Australia, continued to respond to stakeholder and public inquiries, guiding people to the appropriate AIC website page, publications or services such as the CINCH database, in response to their needs for information about crime.
Table 11: Library activity, 2010–11 and 2011–12
|Inquiry responses <15 mins
|Inquiry responses >15 mins
|Records added to CINCH
|Original records to Libraries Australia
|Copy records to Libraries Australia
|Additions to the AIC website
|Items borrowed from other libraries
|Journal articles supplied by other libraries
|Items loaned to other libraries
|Journal articles supplied to other libraries
Services for stakeholders
The library maintains and promotes a significant specialist criminology information collection for the nation. Services that inform the sector include:
- maintaining and developing the CINCH database
- providing links to new external information sources through the AIC website;
- alerting subscribers by email and RSS feed to developments in their subject areas;
- responding to inquiries from an array of law enforcement and justice personnel, researchers, other practitioners, students and the public; and
- providing hard-copy and electronic materials through national and networked interlibrary loan schemes (lending considerably more than is borrowed).
Additions to the CINCH database and Libraries Australia almost doubled in 2011–12 due to a commitment of short-term contracted resources and efforts to strengthen the specialist nature of the print and online collection. This is also reflected in the over 50 percent increase in monograph additions.
CINCH—the Australian Criminology Database
The CINCH bibliographic database is compiled and maintained by the AIC’s Information Services staff. The database is one of the family of index databases for which access is provided by Informit (see http://informit.com.au 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 2012, the database contained 61,153 records. During the year, 1,629 records were added, compared with 858 records for the previous year. CINCH has been established for nearly 40 years and is very well known to university students and academics in particular as the key compendium for Australian criminology and criminal justice literature. On the international scale, subscribers to the Australian Criminology Database include the British Library, Rutgers University, the Library of Congress Queens University (Canada), Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation, Christchurch City Libraries, University of Auckland, Hong Kong University and the University of Cambridge.
Australian subscribers to CINCH include 44 academic institutions, 16 government departments, one legal firm and one state library.
Crime and justice awareness alerts
Contemporary, evidence-based information is disseminated to thousands of practitioners and policymakers worldwide via crime and justice information alerts (see Table 12). This service is free to subscribers, whose numbers increased by approximately 370 percent this year as a result of greater marketing.
A new community safety and policing alert was launched at the Crime Prevention and Communities conference in June 2012, achieving immediate interest.
By 30 June 2012, more than 2,500 emails were being sent monthly to 930 subscribers, who often redistributed them through their agencies.
Table 12: Awareness alert email subscriptions by topic at 30 June 2012
|Information subject alert
||Number of subscribers
|Alcohol and violence
|Child abuse and protection
|Drugs and crime
|Recidivism and desistance
|Serious and organised crime
|Victims of crime
The AIC is a partner in the Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse (See Highlight 7) and manages its website. The Institute also hosts and manages the NDLERF and CrimeStoppers websites as part of a commitment to the dissemination of criminological knowledge.
Highlight 7 Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse
The AIC is a partner with the NSW Department of Attorney General and Justice in the Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse (www.indigenousjustice.gov.au).
The Clearinghouse was developed after COAG’s request to ensure that research findings and good practice in addressing Indigenous crime and justice issues are communicated to policymakers and practitioners. Key research is summarised in a series of research briefs written for the Clearinghouse and a database of relevant reports and datasets has been compiled for stakeholder use. The AIC has three members on the Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse Working Group and provides all library support services for the Clearinghouse, including adding material to the database, hosting the website. The AIC also advises on research papers and work programs for the collection.
During 2011–12, the AIC progressed the recommendations of an external review of the content and usability of the Clearinghouse website. The format of the website is being enhanced to improve accessibility, the news section has been improved and links have been updated, all creating a more informative and current clearinghouse.
Networking across sectors
In 2011–12, over 700 loans and article copies were sought through the interlibrary loans service from agencies in the law enforcement, university, government, and health and community sectors. This service minimises duplication of resources while maximising the effectiveness and specialisation of library collections across the nation.
The library contributes news from Australia and overseas to the CrimNet email discussion list for criminal justice researchers, practitioners and policymakers in Australia. It also gives notice of new AIC publications and events through other email discussion lists and through the World Criminal Justice Libraries Network. Further, as a member of the Australian Libraries Information Network, the library promotes AIC research and seeks assistance from international colleagues on behalf of external stakeholders and AIC researchers.
In 2011–12, the AIC sent records for 638 items to Libraries Australia, more than double those provided in 2010–11; a substantial and unique contribution to the national bibliographic database.
Stakeholder and public inquiries
The JV Barry Library is the first point of contact for telephone and email inquiries from external stakeholders and the public.
In 2011–12, the library responded to an average of 32 requests per week, slightly less than in 2010–11.
Externally, the majority of responses via the front desk phone and email were to stakeholders (33%) and members of the public (23%). In 2011–12, there were fewer simple requests (managed in less than 15 minutes) received by the Library but an increase in more detailed requests requiring staff to spend more than 15 minutes completing them. Most of these more intensive responses required up to one hour of work and reflects stakeholders’ increased recognition that the AIC can assist with more complex subject matters.
External requests for Library and Information Services sectoral breakdown for 2011–12:
- law enforcement, justice and corrections 40%;
- university academics and students 20%;
- community, public health 15%;
- public 15%; and
- law, business and others 10%.
Examples of these types of enquires in 2011–12 were:
- a Canadian policy officer inquiring about Australian prisoner populations;
- a UK science documentary team inquiring about homicide by poisoning;
- an Indigenous youth leader seeking figures on Indigenous crime in Queensland; and
- a Tasmanian police officer comparing a legal term across jurisdictions.
Finally, the support given by the library to AIC researchers illustrates the value of having specialist information on hand to significantly accelerate research productivity. In 2011–12, this included 103 literature searches, the majority of which (42%) comprised one to three hours work, all of which were received positively. This compares with 73 literature searches last year, indicating a much increased contribution by library staff and value to clients.
The AIC acquires or creates datasets for many of its research projects; it added seven new datasets to the database during the year, bringing the total to 138 datasets. These are all captured and made available to AIC staff through the intranet, using the library database as an interface. The data collected can be used to deliver other client data services where appropriate and will be used for further analysis in future research projects.
Reach and influence
Crime and justice researchers and practitioners continue to utilise AIC publications—searching, requesting or downloading titles that span from the 1970s through to 2011–12.
The AIC has a profound influence on criminological research and policy development across multiple jurisdictions, nationally and internationally.
In addition to producing timely and relevant research for the law and justice sector, Communication and Information Services facilitates understanding through knowledge transfer and policy adoption.
2012 online users survey
Results of a 2006 survey (Quay Communications) of AIC clients led to a recommendation that the AIC be recognised as ‘Australia’s pre-eminent research agency for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of criminological data and information to the government and the community’.
A new online survey of clients in February 2012 confirmed the AIC’s research publication stream to be its key asset—55 percent of respondents found the publications to be very useful; 96 percent found them to be generally useful (see Figure 3).
The AIC website also won consistent approval —94 percent of users found the site useful or indispensable in 2006 (see Figure 3). Both surveys also endorsed the AIC library as a valuable centre for knowledge and information.
The survey had the biggest response from government stakeholders (27%) and the most popular products were publications (90%), the website (79%) and publication release alerts (58%). Importantly, users also kept coming back—AIC material was accessed by 45 percent of respondents at least once a week and by 92 percent of them at least once a month (see Figure 4).
Figure 3: Reported usefulness of AIC products to clients (%)
Figure 4: Frequency of use of AIC material (%)
Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding
Distribution and reach of publications
An indication of the reach of AIC material is its distribution through the international database providers ProQuest and CENGAGE GALE, which host a large range of information products for academic, school, public, corporate and government agencies. TheT&I series is particularly widely referenced and downloaded by educational institutions around the world (see Tables 13 and 14). ProQuest revealed 23,000 downloads in 40 countries, mostly by the academic and government sectors in Australasia (11,863) and the United States (10,495).
CENGAGE GALE International Learning revealed 7,980 views of the T&I series for the year, up from 5,350 last year—an almost 50 percent increase.
Table 13: The top 10 titles logged by ProQuest for 2011–12
|Print Media Reporting on Drugs and Crime, 1995–98
|The Psychology of Fraud
|Children’s Exposure to Domestic Violence in Australia
|(Mis)perceptions of Crime in Australia
|Trends in Violent Crime
|The Pathways to Prevention Project: Doing Developmental Prevention in a Disadvantaged Community
|Police Diversion of Young Offenders and Indigenous Over-representation
|Trends in Juvenile Detention in Australia
|Crime Victimisation in Australia: Key Findings of the 2004 International Crime Victimisation Survey
Table 14: Top 10 titles logged by CENGAGE GALE for 2011–12
||Misperceptions about Child Sex Offenders
||The Trafficking of Children in the Asia–Pacific
||Jacqueline Joudo Larsen
||Organised Crime and Trafficking in Persons
||Detecting and Preventing Welfare Fraud
||Youth Justice: Oral Language Competence in Early Life and Risk for Engagement in Antisocial Behaviour in Adolescence
||Pamela Snow and Martine Powell
||Prescription Drug use Among Detainees: Prevalence, Sources and Links to Crime
||Catherine McGregor, Natalie Gately and Jennifer Fleming
||Assessing the Social Climate of Australian Prisons
||Sharon Casey, et al
||(Mis)perceptions of Crime in Australia
||Brent Davis and Kym Dossetor
||Crime Families: Gender and the Intergenerational Transfer of Criminal Tendencies
||Goodwin et al
||Risk Factors for Advance Fee Fraud Victimisation
||Stuart Ross and Russell Smith
Highlight 8 Website statistics
Publications and reports on the AIC website are accessed and downloaded free of charge in html, pdf or e-publication formats.
In 2011–12, website page views steadily rose to 2,329,722—a 6.5 percent rise from last year’s results. There were 547,486 individual visitors to the site during the year.
The graphs reveal peaks of access around the release of the international student victimisation special report in October last year and a surge around the time of the two major conferences held during the year—Truth, Testimony and Relevance and Crime Prevention and Communities.
Figure 5: Web page views (n)
Figure 6: Web visitors (n)
Table 15: Key news headlines as a result of AIC publications 2011–12
Subscribers to platforms worldwide
The AIC’s information distribution systems have a worldwide reach. Alerts about publications and events are distributed through AIC Communications Services via email subscriber lists, RSS feeds, Twitter and Facebook.
The main take-up is in English-speaking countries, but there is also a great deal of interest in the AIC’s work throughout Europe, South America and Africa (see Figure 7).
In Australia, subscriber numbers across all platforms reflect Australia’s population distribution (see Figure 8).
Figure 7: Multi-platform subscribers—Global
Figure 8: Multi-platform subscribers—Australia
Scope and reach of external citations of AIC research in 2011–12
While the following examples are far from a comprehensive bibliometric measure of AIC impact, they illustrate the scope of influence among relevant stakeholders.
Academic textbooks and international handbooks
- Dragiewicz M & DeKeseredy W (eds) 2012. Routledge handbook of critical criminology. New York: Routledge
- Marmo M, de Lint W & Palmer D (eds) 2011. Crime and justice: A guide to criminology, 4th ed. Sydney: Thomson Reuters
- Prenzler T (ed) 2012. Policing and security in practice: Challenges and achievements. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan
- Graycar A & Smith RG (eds) 2012. Handbook of global research and practice in corruption. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar
- Australian Crime Commission 2012. Illicit drug data report 2010–11
- Australian Human Rights Commission 2012. Submission to Inquiry into Cybersafety for Senior Australians
- AIFS 2012. Mothers with a history of childhood sexual abuse. Research summary
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2011. Strategies to enhance employment of Indigenous ex-offenders after release from correctional institutions. Closing the Gap resource sheet
- AGD 2012. Improving the family law system for clients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Report
- AGD 2012. Improving the family law system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients. Report
- Productivity Commission 2012. Overcoming Indigenous disadvantage: Key indicators 2011
- NSW BOCSAR Illicit drug use and property offending among police detainees. CJB157
- NSW BOCSAR Uses and abuses of crime statistics. CJB153
- NSW BOCSAR Youth justice conferences versus Children’s Court: A comparison of reoffending. CJB160
- Northern Territory Fire, Police and Emergency Services 2011. Communication strategies for random urban arson investigation
- Northern Territory Government 2011. Review of NT youth justice system
- Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council 2011. Minimum standard non-parole period—Final report
- Queensland Justice & AGD 2011. Sentencing of child sexual offences in Queensland: Research paper
- South Australia Office of the Guardian for Children and Young People 2012. Gendered violence and its impact on children
- South Australia OCSAR The South Australian drug court: A recidivism study
- Tasmania. Commissioner for Children 2011. Ashley Youth Detention Centre: The last resort
- Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies 2012. Integration and collaboration: Building capacity and engagement for the provision of criminal justice services to Tasmania’s mentally ill: Final report
- VicHealth 2011. Baby makes 3. Project report
- VicHealth 2011. Working together against violence. Final project report
- Sentencing Advisory Council 2011. Statutory minimum sentences for gross violence offences report
- Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council 2012. Community attitudes to offence seriousness
- Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council 2011. Sentencing children and young people in Victoria
- Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council 2011. Statutory minimum sentences for gross violence offences
- Victorian Auditor-General 2012. Fraud prevention strategies in local government
- Victorian Parliament 2012. Inquiry into locally based approaches to community safety and crime prevention
- Wall L 2012. Asking women about intimate partner sexual violence. AIFS
- Western Australian Commissioner for Children and Young People 2012. The state of Western Australia’s children and young people.
- Parliament of Western Australian 2012. Proceeds of crime and unexplained wealth: A role for the Corruption and Crime Commission? Joint Standing Committee on the Corruption and Crime Commission
Law reform commissions
- Australian Law Reform Commission 2012. Family violence and Commonwealth laws: Improving legal frameworks. ALRC report no 117
- NSW Law Reform Commission 2012. Bail. Report no 133
- NSW Law Reform Commission 2012. Penalty notices. Report no 32
- VIC Law Reform Commission 2011: Sex offenders registration: Final report
- WA Law Reform Commission: Community Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2004. Final report
Non-government stakeholder agency reports
- ADFVC: Salter 2011. Managing recidivism amongst high risk violent men ADFVC Issues paper
- Hobart Community Legal Service 2012. Submission to Tasmanian Department of Justice. Regulation of the Sex Industry in Tasmania
- Justice Action 2012. Restorative justice: Creating a safer society report
- Kirby Institute 2011. Sex industry in NSW report to NSW Department of Heath
- Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health 2011. On her way: Primary prevention of violence against immigrant and refugee women in Australia report.
- Martin W (Chief Justice, WA) Mental health & the judicial system report
- NDARC 2011 Alcohol-related crime: Finding a suitable measure for community-level analyses using routinely collected Date. Technical report no. 317
- WA CRC 2012 Examination of the extent of elder abuse in Western Australia: A qualitative and quantitative investigation of existing agency policy, service responses and recorded data
- Australian Parliamentary Library Briefing 2011. Domestic violence in Australia
- Australian Parliament. Hansard M Cash, Speech to Cth Parliament on White Ribbon Day violence against women
- Australia. Parliament. Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety. High-wire act—Cyber-safety and the young
- ACT Parliament Hansard: Prostitution Act reform
- NSW Parliament Hansard: Hunting
- NSW Parliament Hansard: Graffiti
- NSW Parliament Hansard: Mandatory sentencing for murder of police
- NSW Parliamentary Brief 2012: Family Violence Courts.
- NSW Parliamentary Brief 2012: Gun violence: An update
- NT Parliament: Review of the Northern Territory Youth Justice System
- Qld Parliament Hansard: Knife crime
- Qld Parliament Hansard: Murri Courts
- Qld Parliament Hansard: Unexplained wealth
- Tas Parliament Hansard: Drug usage and the link with crime
- Tas Parliament Hansard: Facts & Figures
- Vic Parliament Hansard: Corrections: statistical modelling tools
- Vic Parliament Hansard: White Ribbon Day
- Vic Parliament Hansard: Drugs, Poisons And Controlled Substances Amendment (Prohibition Of Display And Sale Of Cannabis Water Pipes) Bill 2011
- WA Parliament Hansard: Violent crime, burglary and robbery
- WA Parliament Hansard: Elder abuse
- WA Parliament Hansard: Misuse Of Drugs Amendment Bill 2011
- WA Parliament Hansard: Domestic violence—Effect on children
- WA Parliament Hansard: Restraining Orders Amendment Bill 2011
- WA Parliament Hansard: Mental impairment court intervention program
International agency documents
- Public Safety Canada 2012. An introduction to economic analysis in crime prevention—The why, how and so what. Research report
- UNODC 2012. Corruption to foster small and medium-sized enterprise development
- UNODC 2011. Smuggling of people by sea
- US State Department. Trafficking in persons report 2012
Azmat F, Osborne A & Rentschler R 2011. Indian student concerns about violence—Exploring student perceptions. Australian Journal of Social Issues 46(3)
Carrington K et al. 2011. The resource boom’s underbelly. ANZJOC 44
Campbell L 2011. Non-conviction, DNA databases and criminal justice: A comparative analysis. Journal of Commonwealth Criminal Law
Carlton B & Segrave M 2011. Women’s survival post-imprisonment: Connecting imprisonment with pains past and present. Punishment & Society 13(5)
Croft T 2011. Prohibited behaviours orders and indigenous overrepresentation in the criminal justice system. Current Issues in Criminal Justice 23(2): 277–285
Finnane M & Finnane K 2011. A death in Alice Springs Current Issues in Criminal Justice 23(2): 255–271
Fitzgerald RT et al. 2012. Exploring sex differences among sentenced juvenile offenders in Australia. Justice Quarterly 29(3): 420–447
Hayes H, McGee TR & Cerruto M 2011. Offending behaviour after a restorative justice conference. Current Issues in Criminal Justice 23(2): 127–143
Hutchinson 2011. Drawing the line. Australian Journal of Human Rights 17(2): 91–130
Kelty SF et al. 2011. You have to hit some people. Psychology, Psychiatry & Law 19(3): 299–313
Marchetti E 2012. Victims or offenders: Who were the 11 Indigenous female prisoners who died in custody and were investigated by the Australian Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody? International Review of Victimology
Mazerolle L et al. 2012. Violence in and around entertainment districts—A longitudinal analysis of the impact of late-night lockout legislation. Law and Policy 34(1)Jan 2012: 55–79
Snow P & Powell M 2012. Oral language competence in incarcerated young offenders: Links with offending severity. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology 13(6)
Tobin C et al. 2011. A review of public opinion towards alcohol controls in Australia. BMC Public Health.
Wilson LA 2011. Perceptions of legitimacy and strategies of resistance. Current Issues in Criminal Justice 23(2): 183–201
Police Association of South Australia 2011. Single person patrols. Police Journal Dec
The impact of domestic violence on children. ADVCH Newsletter Sept 2011
Salter 2011. Managing recidivism amongst high risk violent men. ADFVC Issues paper
AIC key performance indicators
|Table 16: KPI targets
|| 100 percent of T&I papers and RPP papers are blind peer reviewed. This ensures the quality of the research outputs of the Institute
|| Reports produced for each of the monitoring programs are issued according to schedule (eg annually, biennially)
|| 23 peer-reviewed T&I papers and RPP papers published
||Met 24 published
|| 38 other publications (including RIP papers, TBPs, Brief, journal articles, consultancy reports etc)
||Met 57 published
|| At least 10 roundtables and other forums held
||Met 27 events held
||>90 percent satisfaction of stakeholders with research (according to project mid-term and/or completion survey)
|| Lodgement of research datasets and codebook at the completion of projects
|| Unqualified audit on end-of-year Financial Statements
|| Operate within budget approved by the Director
|| Implementation of Government 2.0 measures