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Brief: May 2010

ISSN 1836-8026
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, May 2010

Crime data more accessible as Australian crime: Facts & figures goes online

The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) has launched Facts & Figures Online, an interactive web-based data tool which enables analysis and comparison of crime statistics from the Australian Crime: Facts & Figures collection.

Australian crime: Facts & figures has been published by the AIC as a useful compendium of information on crime trends in Australia since 1998. It presents statistics on the numbers and types of recorded crime, the places it occurs, victim details, responses of criminal justice agencies and government resources for dealing with crime, to help enhance understanding of the trends and patterns influencing crime and criminal justice in Australia.

A summary of this data is now available as an interactive, online information resource for researchers, students, practitioners and the general public.

You can use Facts & Figures Online to quickly search and undertake basic analyses on crime and criminal justice issues by creating customised charts, graphs and tables on a range of topics including:

  • the rate of violent crime and property crime in Australia;
  • the age, sex and locations of victims of selected crime types; and
  • the frequency and type of weapons used in violent crimes.

The data is compiled by the AIC from Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

Facts & Figures Online is the second interactive data tool now available on the AIC website, complementing Drugs and Offending Online, launched by the AIC in November 2008 to open up its Drug Use Monitoring in Australia data to the public.

A valuable resource for students, Facts & Figures Online will also perform an important role in helping to keep the Australian public informed about trends in crime.

The link to Facts & Figures Online can be found on the home page of the AIC: www.aic.gov.au

International Serious and Organised Crime Conference 2010

ISOC banner

Monday—Tuesday 18–19 October 2010
Melbourne Convention Centre

The Australian Institute of Criminology, in partnership with Victoria Police, the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Federal Police and CrimTrac will host a groundbreaking international conference focused on the fight against serious and organised crime.

Organised crime places a significant burden on international economies and communities each year in terms of lost revenue and costs to criminal justice, social, health and welfare systems. Recent estimates suggest the total annual cost of organised crime in Australia is between $10 and $15 billion.

The first AIC International Serious and Organised Crime Conference (ISOC 2010) will bring law enforcement, criminal justice, policy and research practitioners from around the world together to explore the range of issues involved in organised crime today; analyse emerging challenges for law enforcement agencies in responding to international and transnational forms of organised crime; share best-practice intelligence, collaboration and partnership for the prevention and reduction of organised crime; and examine the economics of organised crime markets.

Who should attend?

Law enforcement personnel, criminal justice practitioners, security professionals, policymakers, industry groups, community service providers, academics and researchers are invited to register.

Organised crime risks

Policing organised crime

Future directions for law enforcement and organised crime

–Cybercrime

–Drug-related crime

–Financial crime

–Identity crime

–Human trafficking

–Transnational crime

–Organised crime groups

–Terrorism

–Preventing and disrupting organised crime

–Innovation in information and intelligence sharing

–Improving interagency and cross-border cooperation

–Engaging non-law enforcement stakeholders

–Joint investigations and operations

–The future of cooperative intelligence-led policing

–New directions in crime-fighting technology and techniques

–Threat assessment and harm reduction

–Performance measurement

–Legislative reform

Call for abstracts

Contributions are invited from participants that possess knowledge and experience relevant to the conference themes.

Promote and exhibit at the ISOC 2010 Conference

ISOC 2010 provides the ideal platform to showcase products and services to an audience of key stakeholders. A number of sponsorship and exhibition opportunities are available, with each package offering a range of benefits and inclusions.

More information

For more information on the International Serious and Organised Crime conference contact:

Alyssa Handy
Conference Coordinator, Australian Institute of Criminology
Phone: +61 2 6260-9272
Fax: + 61 2 6260-9299
Email: aic.events@aic.gov.au

Visit the conference webpage at www.aic.gov.au/events/aic upcoming events/2010/isoc.aspx

briefly...

Welcome to the latest issue of brief, the newsletter of the Australian Institute of Criminology.

The AIC has had a busy start to the year, directing its efforts into the development of a range of new research projects. These include firearms trafficking; the development of a National Crime Prevention Framework for the ANZ Crime Prevention Senior Officers Group; a number of statistical modelling and forecasting contracts, such as the forecasting of future prisoner numbers for Corrections Victoria; further work exploring the development of baseline indicators for use in measuring community safety in Indigenous communities; and an evaluation of the Homeless and Special Circumstances Court Diversion Program (Qld), which builds on the AIC's recent evaluation of the Queensland Murri Court program.

Given the current concerns about the victimisation of overseas students in Australia, I was pleased that the Institute was able to offer assistance to the Australian Government and state/territory law enforcement agencies in developing a better assessment of the experiences of overseas students as victims of crime. This project has only recently begun but I trust it will be a valuable contribution to the field once complete. The AIC is hopeful that it may develop into further work in assessing the level of crime victimisation in migrant communities in Australia.

Recognising the importance of meeting the research and information needs of Commonwealth law enforcement agencies, the AIC is currently working on a range of contracts with various agencies, based on our crime forecasting and modelling, and performance measurement capabilities. Further, I am pleased to announce that the AIC is partnering with Victoria Police, the Australian Crime Commission, Australian Federal Police and CrimTrac to run an International Serious and Organised Crime Conference in Melbourne on 18–19 October 2010. This promises to be an exciting event and an excellent opportunity for law enforcement personnel, academics and policymakers to discuss some of the latest international and local developments in the serious and organised crime space, and to enhance existing relationships.

Like most other agencies, the AIC strives to do more with less and we are looking at the ways in which we can use our finite resources to produce the most effective research and policy outcomes. To that end, we have been working to improve the quality of our existing research output through a review of the AIC's current monitoring programs in order to explore options for their future delivery. This is focused around 1) maintenance of the national datasets; 2) cost effectiveness; and 3) enhanced usage of the data via the production of policy relevant in-depth analyses of specific elements of each monitored crime type. For example, with regard to the National Armed Robbery Monitoring Program, in addition to producing an overview of the nature and frequency of armed robberies in Australia, the intent will be to provide more detailed analysis of specific types of armed robbery to better inform crime reduction strategies.

In the most recent demonstration of the Institute's ongoing commitment to innovation and the effective communication of its research, we have launched a new online interactive data application Facts & Figures Online which is now available on the AIC website at www.aic.gov.au. It joins our existing Drugs and Offending Online data tool in making information more accessible, in line with government efforts to employ the emerging capabilities of the web to engage with the public in an open and transparent manner. The AIC has made a significant commitment to Web 2.0 platforms for information dissemination, and a new suite of online services are highlighted elsewhere in this edition.

The AIC has also made the decision to discontinue the commercial printing of reports from our Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice series and to use only electronic publication and distribution. This will not only result in significant cost savings, but enable us to reduce our use of paper and help protect the environment. The T&I series will still be distributed to all existing stakeholders by email and be available from our website in both HTML and PDF formats for ease of access and personal printing.

Finally, I would like to thank the five students who recently participated in the AIC's 2010 internship program for their valuable contributions, and congratulate our three Australia Day medallion winners—Kate Hogden, Nina Gan and Lauren Renshaw. These three staff have made valuable contributions to the AIC over the past year and it was a great pleasure to recognise their work through the presentation of the medallions. I also welcome back to the AIC Board, Mr Laurie Glanfield, Director-General of the NSW Department of Justice and Attorney General, and welcome Ms Cheryl Gwilliam, Director-General, Department of the Attorney General, WA. They replace departing members Mr Norman Reaburn (Director, Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania) and Ms Kathy Leigh (Chief Executive, ACT Department of Justice and Community Safety), who I would like to thank for their valuable contributions.

Adam Tomison
Director

signing the MOUMOU signing paves way for collaborative research

Australian Institute of Family Studies Director, Professor Alan Hayes, and Australian Institute of Criminology Director, Dr Adam Tomison, recently signed a memorandum of understanding between the two agencies. Dr Tomison said the MOU would boost an already positive relationship between the two agencies and facilitate the development of cross-agency partnerships to conduct research into crime and community safety for children and families. 'By combining our respective strengths in criminal justice, violence and other family and social welfare research areas, we can break new ground and together produce some quality research with significance for a number of sectors', Dr Tomison said.

 

 

AIC Internship Program 2010

A select mix of undergraduates, graduates and PhD candidates from a variety of fields including law, psychology and criminology were chosen by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) for its 2010 internship program.

Interns 2010

Toby Corsbie, Michelle Broughton-Rouse, Shannon Klekociuk, Amanda Porter and Rachel Hale travelled to Canberra from various parts of eastern Australia to start their internships in early January, some in the midst of their summer study break.

Rachel Hale, a PhD student from Monash University, said she first became aware of the AIC when she used its reports for her honours and PhD research. 'I had also listened to papers presented at conferences by AIC staff and wanted to be an intern at the Institute because I thought it would be a great complement to my PhD studies and a nice break from my own research,' she said.

'As a student, the AIC has always been the first source that I seek out when familiarising myself with a crime issue. Its non-biased, apolitical approach to criminological research appealed to me throughout my studies,' said Michelle Broughton-Rouse, an undergraduate in the University of New South Wales Criminology Honours program.

The benefits of becoming an AIC intern were best illustrated by the pool of potential candidates. Applications for the four week internship program were highly competitive and of an exemplary calibre, with more than 70 applicants vying for the five places that provided a unique opportunity to work with some of the best criminologists in Australia.

University of Sydney Arts/Law Graduate, Amanda Porter, said the internship was unlike any other she had experienced. 'It's not one of those internships where you just sit around twiddling your fingers—they throw you in the deep end and get you doing actual work'.

Interns were individually assigned to research areas such as the Crime Reduction and Review, Justice and Crime Analysis and Global, Economic & Electronic Crime programs and were able to work on some of the most well-known AIC research programs.

'I was able to work on the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia program, examining the demographic trends of offenders across the past 10 years and mapping out the emerging patterns within the cannabis and amphetamine drug markets,' said Shannon Klekociuk, a University of Tasmania Psychology Graduate.

Off the back of his law degree from the University of Queensland, Toby Corsbie could think of no better way to build contacts and expand his knowledge of criminology than to apply for an AIC internship and he would encourage others to apply too. 'It's a great opportunity to really push your research skills and helps you understand the level of commitment needed to work in the field,' Toby said.

The 2011 AIC Internship Program application round opens in September 2010. Visit www.aic.gov.au for more details.

Image: front row (from left to right): Amanda Porter, Michelle Broughton-Rouse, Rachel Hale. Rear: Shannon Klekociuk, Toby Corsbie.

The search is on... ACVPA 2010

The annual Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards (ACVPA) is an opportunity to showcase the work of the best crime prevention projects in Australia and the search for this year's winners has begun.

Sponsored by the Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency Management—Police as a joint Australian Government, state and territory initiative, the awards recognise and reward good practice in the prevention or reduction of violence and crime in Australia.

Last year, over $124,000 was awarded to community programs that demonstrated outstanding results in the reduction of crime and violence, such as declines in crime rates or offending of up to 83 percent. The awards also recognise meritorious police projects.

ACVPA coordinator Katalina Bradley said applications for the 2010 round were now open, with nominations for projects of all sizes encouraged.

'Our aim is to find projects that have been producing remarkable results in their community, utilising innovative strategies and best-practice methods, or projects that have yet to be recognised for their hard work,' Ms Bradley said.

Projects may address specific groups such as rural and remote communities, women, children, youth or family, or specific problems such as alcohol-related violence. Applications are also open to any government agency, not-for-profit organisation or individual person making a significant contribution to a project in Australia or its external territories.

'Anyone can nominate a project or program, they do not have to be part of the project itself—partners or people who have benefited from the work of a program can put forward a nomination,' Ms Bradley said.

Nominations for the awards are invited from projects that have effectively reduced or prevented violence and other types of crime, or have the potential to do so. Relevant factors include:

  • the extent to which the project has reduced or prevented violence or other types of crime;
  • demonstrated success of the project (for example, an evaluation);
  • the capacity of the project to be adapted and used elsewhere;
  • whether the project has an enduring quality so that its outcomes are likely to last;
  • whether the project provides good value for money;
  • whether the project is special or innovative; and
  • whether the project raises community awareness of crime and related issues.

Nomination details can be found at www.aic.gov.au or call or email Katalina Bradley on (02) 6260 9216 or acvpa@aic.gov.au  

AIC appears at parliamentary inquiries into youth violence and Indigenous over-representation

The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) recently presented submissions to two federal parliamentary inquiries on the impact of violence on young Australians and the high level of involvement of Indigenous juveniles in the criminal justice system.

Institute Director, Dr Adam Tomison, and senior researcher Dr Kelly Richards, appeared before both public inquiries at Parliament House in Canberra on 10 and 11 February.

The AIC's submission to the House of Representatives Family and Youth Committee on 10 February reported that there is now significant evidence which shows that young people are disproportionately affected by crime, including violent crime. Dr Tomison and Dr Richards told the inquiry that the number of assaults occurring annually had increased on average by five percent each year from 1995 to 2008 and that young men and women aged 15 to 24 years experience assault at higher rates than any other age group in the Australian community.

A key message was that research consistently demonstrated that young people who have experienced or witnessed violence are at increased risk of becoming violent offenders themselves.

Dr Tomison and Dr Richards also appeared before the Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs the following day as part of its inquiry into the high level of involvement of Indigenous juveniles and young adults in the criminal justice system.

Dr Tomison and Dr Kelly Richards discussed the AIC's findings on the extent of over-representation of Indigenous juveniles and young adults in Australia over nearly three decades of monitoring.

Australia has one of the highest incarceration rates of Indigenous people in the OECD. Indigenous prisoners comprise 25 percent of the total prisoner population and in the Northern Territory they make up 82 percent of the prisoner population. The early involvement of young Indigenous people in the criminal justice system puts them at much higher risk of further involvement as adults.

The AIC's submission quoted a study which found that continued contact with the criminal justice system is less common among those juveniles who participate in diversionary alternatives to court.

Dr Tomison said there was also evidence to show that incarceration on its own, without some sort of rehabilitation, wasn't going to achieve much regardless.

'I mean, while some kids need to be locked up because the offences they are committing are quite serious, the reality is it's probably a better path to go with diversion, to go with programs that assist in putting kids back on the right path.'

Dr Tomison also said a greater focus on diversionary programs was needed in rural and remote areas.

'A lot of the specialist responses that are being made through the judiciary at the moment across the country are often based in the larger urban environments.'

'That means it is harder for rural remote kids who go off the tracks to access those diversionary measures which might actually assist them to keep on the straight and narrow.'

The Chair of the Committee, Bob Debus MP, said the inquiry was focusing on prevention and early intervention in order to identify strategies to close the gap and assist in reducing the number of Indigenous Australians who become involved in the criminal justice system.

'Diversionary measures such as conferencing and intensive court supervision for Indigenous juveniles should be available everywhere if we are truly committed to closing the gap,' Mr Debus said.

Join CrimNET

The Sydney Institute of Criminology at the University of Sydney hosts a free email service that provides regular updates on jobs, events, reports and research relevant to criminology, criminal law and criminal justice practitioners and students. By joining CrimNet, you too can become a part of this growing network (with over 2000 members) and stay informed about contemporary developments. To join CrimNet, simply go to http://mailman.ucc.usyd.edu.au/mailman/listinfo/law-crimnet and follow the prompts to become a member.

 

Australia Day Medallion WinnersAustralia Day Award winners

Three staff members had their important contributions to the Australian Institute of Criminology's (AIC) work recognised at the AIC's 2010 Australia Day awards ceremony.

Director Dr Adam Tomison presented achievement certificates and medallions to financial accountant Nina Gan, research assistant Lauren Renshaw and website administrator Kate Hogden.

The Director said Nina Gan had exemplified AIC values, displaying diligence, professionalism and great team spirit while completing her duties.

She had undertaken additional duties on top of an already demanding role in accounts while a recruitment process was underway and had been substantially responsible for training a new member of staff.

Although she has only been with the AIC for a short time, Lauren Renshaw was commended for her work on the human trafficking research project. Lauren had consistently put in a significant effort in the research program, completing a range of complex tasks and taking on additional work in the intimate partner violence research program, while producing quality research outcomes. As a result of her dedication and skills, she has co-authored a range of publications in both projects.

Kate Hogden joined the AIC at the end of 2008 and took carriage of implementation for the AIC's new website, which went live on 1 July 2009. This major undertaking, involving updating a nine year old website containing some 18,000 pages of data, represented the culmination of two years of work by the AIC. Kate played an integral role in meeting the expectations of stakeholders and demonstrated an ongoing commitment to enhancing the AIC's 'face' to the world.

'All three are quiet achievers, who have performed their work to a very high standard and made a valuable contribution to the AIC. I am pleased to be able to recognise their efforts with the presentation of an Australia Day Medallion' Dr Tomison said.

Image: Australia Day Medallion recipients, clockwise from back row: Kate Hogden, Nina Gan, Lauren Renshaw.

Recent research publications from the AIC

Australian crime: Facts & figures 2009 Facts & Figures 2009

Australian crime: Facts & figures 2009 is the AIC's quick reference guide summarising trends in crime and criminal justice in Australia. It includes information on different categories of crime, location, victim and offender details and the response of the criminal justice system. For the first time, this edition includes national data on offenders derived from the first Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) survey to include information on offender characteristics and data on financial instruments fraud.

AICrime Reduction Matters

Strategies to combat graffiti

In recent years, graffiti has emerged as a key priority in crime prevention for Australian states and territories. Aside from property damage costs, the presence of graffiti can negatively impact on feelings of security and safety in the community and can indicate a decline in the quality of public space within a community, resulting in more serious crimes being committed. Emerging strategies from state and local governments incorporate both preventative and reactive measures, with many aimed at implementing grassroots anti-graffiti action and community involvement.

Bush Fire Arson Bulletins

Responding to bushfire brson

Cost of bushfires

The number of fires and who lights them

Transnational Crime Brief

Risks of money laundering and the financing of terrorism arising from alternative remittance systems

The events of 11 September 2001 have heightened interest in ensuring that all sectors of the financial system are not misused either by criminal or terrorist groups. In addition to conventional banks, money and value can be transferred by alternative remittance providers who have, until recently, not been closely regulated. Regulators are concerned that the informal nature of these businesses may lead to their use by terrorist groups and other criminals. This brief considers the characteristics of alternative remittance businesses, the risks they pose and some of the current responses to these risks.

Monitoring Reports

Firearm Theft in Australia 2007–08

The National Firearm Theft Monitoring Program (NFTMP) was established at the Australian Institute of Criminology to monitor the number of firearms reported stolen in Australian states and territories and to examine the nature and characteristics of these thefts. This report represents the fourth in the NFTMP series and illustrates a consistency in the pattern of firearm thefts across Australia between 2004–05 and 2007–08.

Drug Use Monitoring in Australia: 2008 annual report on drug use among police detainees

Since its inception in 1999, the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program has been the only nationwide survey of drug use by alleged offenders in Australia conducted on a routine basis. It operates in nine sites across Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory and provides policymakers and law enforcement authorities with timely and critical information on drugs and crime. This report outlines key trends in drug use by police detainees during 2007–08.

Research and Public Policy

Money laundering and terrorism financing risks posed by alternative remittance in Australia

The events of 11 September 2001 have heightened interest in ensuring that all sectors of the financial system are not misused either by criminal or terrorist groups. In addition to conventional banks, money and value can be transferred by alternative remittance providers who have, until recently, not been closely regulated. Regulators are concerned that the informal nature of these businesses may lead to their use by terrorist groups and other criminals. This brief considers the characteristics of alternative remittance businesses, the risks they pose and some of the current responses to these risks.

Indigenous perpetrators of violence: Prevalence and risk factors for offending

Available data indicate that Indigenous people are 15 to 20 times more likely than non-Indigenous people to commit violent offences. This report presents results of research into victimisation of, and offending by, Indigenous people. The findings are designed to inform and complement the work of the National Indigenous Violence and Child Abuse Intelligence Task Force. This report draws attention to the need to investigate the specifics of different forms of violent offending, the relationship between victims and offenders and the location and nature of different community settings.

Technical and Background Papers A review of confiscation schemes in Australia

Pornography awareness: A process of engagement with Northern Territory Indigenous communities

In 2007, concerns about the exposure of Indigenous children to pornography and links between the use of pornography and sexual abuse of children led the Northern Territory Attorney-General to approach the Northern Territory Department of Justice (NT Justice) about developing a media classification awareness and education campaign for Indigenous communities.

Assessing the impact of 'available street time' and mortality on estimates of recidivism

This methodological study assesses the impact of two factors—'available street time' and mortality—on the estimation of recidivism. Using survival analysis techniques to derive estimates of reoffending, the study compares adjusted and unadjusted rates and assesses how these rates vary for different offender populations and over different follow-up periods. In contrast to many previous studies, it finds that adjusting for time spent in custody and mortality makes little difference to the two-year recidivism rates of large offender populations.

A review of confiscation schemes in Australia

Confiscation of illegally obtained proceeds of crime is a key strategy for disrupting criminal activity, especially serious and organised crime. This paper sets out the background to confiscation schemes, recent and future developments in the area as well as the regimes currently in place in each Australian jurisdiction.

Improving jury understanding and use of expert DNA evidence

The use of DNA evidence in Australian courts has increased exponentially in the last two decades. DNA technology is well-validated and no longer the subject of defence challenges. Juror difficulties in understanding and applying the scientific and statistical information conveyed by forensic experts about a DNA match have been documented in qualitative and quantitative studies. Post-trial interviews of jurors in six criminal trials revealed that jurors who admitted difficulty in understanding DNA expert evidence nonetheless proceeded to convict. Perceptions that DNA evidence is irrefutable in identifying a perpetrator are reinforced by its portrayal as rapid, reliable and definitive in popular television programs such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Research in Practice

Bushfire arson prevention handbook

Developed as part of a five year project by the Australian Institute of Criminology (funded by the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre), this handbook is a resource for local organisations, particularly fire agencies and the police, when developing community-based bushfire and bushfire arson (BFA) prevention strategies. The handbook draws on current crime prevention knowledge about the factors that lead to BFA occurring and highlights information that is important when evaluating activities or project.

Spectator violence part 1: Professional sporting events

This is the first of a two-part series on spectator violence at sporting events. Part one covers spectator violence at professional sporting events. The second will focus on issues of violence at amateur sporting events, particularly parents as spectators and the behaviours they exhibit. Spectator violence refers to any violent activity that occurs among those attending a sporting event. It can be directed at players, officials or fellow spectators.

Emerging issues in domestic/family violence research

This paper presents an overview of the key emerging issues in Australian domestic and family violence research. In particular, the paper considers this research in the context of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities; the elderly; those with disabilities; people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; Indigenous communities; homelessness; the impact on children; and issues around perpetrator programs.

Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice

Alternative remittance systems in Australia: Perceptions of users and providers

A heightened awareness of how terrorist activities are financed has led governments in developed countries to include alternative remittance systems within the regulatory controls that apply to conventional financial institutions. This report provides a review of the operation of alternative remittance systems in Australia and examines the risks that they pose for illegal movement of the proceeds of crime and financing of terrorist activities.

Improving crime prevention knowledge and practice

Research from Australia and overseas consistently demonstrates that the effectiveness of many crime prevention initiatives is reduced by a continual lack of access to adequate crime prevention knowledge and technical skills. In particular, the internationalisation of crime has highlighted the need for renewed effort aimed at increasing the efficiency of knowledge transfer, skills development, project and program management ability and performance measurement and evaluation capacity. This paper suggests the development of a comprehensive national framework for a technical support program.

Challenges in dealing with politically exposed persons

Politically exposed persons (PEPs) are individuals entrusted with prominent public functions, such as senior politicians and public servants. PEPs are potential targets for bribes due to their prominent positions in public life. This paper outlines some of the key challenges and policy implications related to dealing with PEPs and risks when entering into financial transactions and business relationships with PEPs.

Confidence in the criminal justice system

Confidence in the criminal justice system has emerged as a critical issue at the interface of the administration of justice and political pressures in western democracies. For more than a decade, governments in the West have felt acute pressure to make the criminal justice system more relevant, more transparent and more accountable. Using the results of the latest Australian Survey of Social Attitudes, aspects of public confidence are examined, with a particular focus on the evaporation of confidence in the criminal justice system from police, through courts to corrections.

Crime risks of three-dimensional virtual environments

Three-dimensional virtual environments (3dves) are the new generation of digital multi-user social networking platforms. Their immersive character allows users to create a digital, humanised representation or avatar, enabling a degree of virtual interaction not possible through conventional text-based internet technologies. As recent international experience demonstrates, in addition to the conventional range of cybercrimes, the 'virtual-reality' promoted by 3dves is the source of concern because of a range of emerging forms of crime and harm to users. This paper provides some examples of the types of harm currently emerging in 3dves as well as some directions for future research in this field.

Responding to intimate partner violence victimisation: effective options for help-seeking

Approximately one in four women in most Western nations are at risk of becoming a victim of intimate partner violence (IPV). Interventions for IPV victims have proven significant in preventing negative outcomes. Using data from the International Violence Against Women Survey, this paper examines predictors of help-seeking by IPV victims and considers whether such responses are influenced by the severity of abuse experienced.

Police diversion of young offenders and Indigenous over-representation

Indigenous over-representation in the justice system is a challenge facing Australian society. It has recently been suggested that increased use of diversionary processes could reduce this over-representation. Reported in this paper are the findings of a project examining the 1990 offender cohort's contact with the Queensland juvenile justice system. The project focused on the extent of Indigenous over-representation, evidence of disparity in how Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people were processed and the impact of diversion on re-contact with the juvenile system.

Following the proceeds of illegal logging in Indonesia

The low number of prosecutions in Indonesia for illegal logging may not offer a strong enough deterrent against engaging in what is a lucrative crime. However, the movement of offenders and proceeds tied to illegal logging through other countries in the region offers some opportunities to support Indonesia's law enforcement responses.

Enhancing fairness in DNA jury trials

Controversies over how the law should regulate the presentation of expert testimony on DNA forensic science were explored in an experimental study comparing traditional verbal with audiovisual modes of delivery. The study found pre-trial DNA knowledge, as assessed in 3,611 jury-eligible Australians, was limited. However, showing jury members an expert tutorial on DNA profiling evidence significantly improved their DNA knowledge. This paper discusses these results and the procedures that could be adopted by courts and policymakers to enhance justice in criminal cases in which DNA is introduced.

How to order AIC publications

All recent publications are available for free download from the AIC website. Or complete a publications order form from www.aic.gov.au/publications/orderhardcopy.aspx

Coming events at the AIC

Occasional seminars

Professor Stephen Tomsen15 June 2010
11am

Violence, danger, security and the night-time economy

Professor Stephen Tomsen, University of Western Sydney

In recent years, there has been a new research focus on night leisure and its links with violence and crime. In the United Kingdom, the mix of industrial closure and rapid deregulation of the liquor industry, the rise of a poorly-regulated private security sector with much bouncer violence and illegal activity in pubs and clubs, have all contributed to the startling rise of a problematic night economy in many towns and cities. These concerns have been echoed in Australian debates about disorder, late licensing hours, assaults in listed venues, regulation and behaviour of nightclub security and their possible infiltration or targeting by criminal gangs, problems with transport and safety at special events, and the increased resource pressures on police and emergency/medical services at night.

Dr Serge Brochu27 May 2010
11am

Medical Prescription of Heroin and Neighbourhood Risks

Serge Brochu, Université de Montréal School of Criminology

Providing heroin to drug addicts at medically supervised clinics does not pose risks to surrounding neighbourhoods, according to a new study by Serge Brochu, a researcher at the Université de Montréal School of Criminology. The study found that the Montreal leg of the NAOMI project, otherwise know as the North American Opiate Medication Initiative, did not have a negative impact on its surrounding neighbourhood, with data revealing the quantity of drug injecting debris (syringes, needle covers, stericups, spoons etc.) decreased significantly in areas where clinics were operating.

Social networking with the AIC

Do you tweet, post, comment or subscribe? The AIC does!

The Australian Institute of Criminology now has its own Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages. These social networking platforms provide new communications tools to support the dissemination of the AIC's important research work to a broader audience.

The AIC's Facebook and Twitter pages will be used to release news and information on AIC research, events and activities and to build a community of contacts from around the globe.

CriminologyTV is our very own worldwide YouTube channel and will provide videos of presentations and speeches from the Institute's Occasional Seminar series, events such as the annual Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards, and related videos on crime and criminal justice.

These initiatives are in line with the Australian Government 2.0 Taskforce recommendations that agencies create and encourage greater online engagement with citizens and the community and develop new online opportunities as part of mainstream agency activities.

At last count Facebook had over 400 million users, 4 billions tweets per quarter were posted on Twitter and YouTube had 71 million unique users each month, proving each to be powerful social networking platforms with global reach. The AIC's move into the social networking space will help us to deliver the latest research and issues on crime and justice to stakeholders and members of the public in new and innovative ways.

To watch new AIC videos on YouTube go to www.youtube.com/CriminologyTV

AIC Crime Reduction and Review Program

Translating research findings into accessible and practical measures for continuously improving methods for the prevention and reduction of crime is at the centre of the Crime Reduction and Review team's approach to its work.

The team aims to improve the evidence base that informs the design and implementation of Australian crime reduction and prevention policy and programs through:

  • research and development work, such as specific program review and evaluation studies;
  • projects directed at organisational development and improvement, such as reviewing implementation processes and the development of program performance measures; and
  • capacity building initiatives that range from the establishment of collaborative research and development arrangements with partner organisations and the establishment of a new program of technical assistance.

AIC Crime Reduction and Review Team at a recent research planning meetingWhen undertaking project evaluations, the team not only assess the effectiveness and impact of specific crime reduction measures, but also examine the processes by which they operate, in order to be able to explain why a particular result occurred.

For example, the evaluation of the Murri Court system, which is a special network of courts across Queensland designed to improve justice outcomes for Indigenous Australians, not only looked at conventional outcomes such as differential sentence determinations and reoffending rates, but also how the courts were implemented in different locations as a way of better understanding why these differences emerged.

The team are also involved in large-scale research and development projects that can last for several years. By doing this, it is possible to ensure that the lessons learned and the knowledge gained can be incorporated into the ongoing practice of criminal justice professionals. An example of this has been the development of a national model framework for drug law enforcement performance measurement in Australia, undertaken over five years on behalf of the National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund.

By undertaking this project in close collaboration with the very agencies that would end up using it, the project retained a high policy relevance and practical edge that meant that the results would be extremely valuable to practitioners in the field.

The team's ability to provide practical access to up-to-date, reliable and useful crime prevention knowledge is illustrated by their recently being asked to coordinate the development of a national crime prevention framework on behalf of the Australia and New Zealand Crime Prevention Senior Officers' Group. This draft framework will be presented to the Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency Management—Police in July 2010.