The AIC measures its performance against the outcome and program objectives outlined in the previous section by the following criteria:
- timely production of high-quality AIC research findings, primarily through publications
- the extent to which AIC research and other services are valued by key stakeholders
- the flexibility of the AIC to respond to emerging policy needs
- budget and financial outcomes.
The following section summarises activity and results from the AIC's research projects and monitoring programs for the year under the key themes:
- transnational and organised crime
- economic and electronic crime
- crime prevention
- crime and the community
- violent crime
- drugs and alcohol
- property crime.
Research Services—outcomes and outputs
Transnational and organised crime
The best available estimates suggest that the total annual cost of organised crime in Australia is between $10 and $15 billion. This form of crime generally reaches across borders and can include corruption, trafficking in drugs or people and money laundering.
2010-11 was the final year of funding for a four-year program of research investigating money laundering and terrorism financing, a large number of publications have been released over the course of the project, with a series of further publications to be released in late 2011
The AIC's publications and internal briefs on trafficking in persons are an important contribution to the evidence base in Australia and the region. This research is well used by those tackling this crime in Australia and has been cited in authoritative international and national reports.
In 2011 the AIC and the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) established a formal partnership to exchange knowledge and skills as part of the establishment of an applied research partnership on serious organised crime in Australia. Two AIC research staff were seconded to the ACC on a part-time basis under this arrangement.
Trafficking in persons
Trafficking in persons, or people trafficking, is an old crime made new. It usually involves a person being recruited, transferred or kept, through some form of deception, fraud, violence or coercion, so that they can be exploited. The AIC conducts the only monitoring of trafficking program for Australia and the region. Australian and international agencies rely on this monitoring report for evidence-based information on the nature of, and trends in, this complex crime.
AIC research shows that trafficking as a crime type is both under-reported and unrecognised, and that the Australian community commonly misunderstands trafficking in persons, confusing it with people smuggling. The latter is generally a criminal financial contract with a smuggler who enables someone to enter a country illegally, which may be a method of trafficking.
To raise awareness of trafficking as an issue in Australia, the AIC ran information sessions in mid-2011 in Perth, Mildura and Kalgoorlie, as well as eastern seaboard cities. The sessions drew on AIC research to raise awareness of people trafficking, the differences between trafficking in persons and people smuggling and the difference between 'bad work' and criminal exploitation involving sexual exploitation, forced labour, debt bondage and slavery. The information sessions were well attended by a cross-section of community service providers such as rape crisis, migrant resource and community legal centres, non-government organisations, academics and government, and state and territory police.
In 2010–11 a number of specific areas of trafficking were investigated. The AIC produced papers on child trafficking in the Asia-Pacific region and a paper that explored the characteristics of migration in South-East Asia and the ways in which people trafficking occurs within this process and the implications for Australia's anti-trafficking response nationally and regionally.
While the body of literature on trafficking for sexual exploitation has grown steadily, much less is known about trafficking where the exploitation occurs outside the sex industry. The AIC responded to this critical gap in knowledge in 2009–10 and undertook research on labour trafficking.
Highlight 3: People trafficking and trafficking in the sex industry
The AIC was provided $2.4 million over four years as part of a whole-of-government appropriation to extend and expand the government's strategy to combat people trafficking.
The AIC has established a monitoring program on trafficking in persons relevant to Australia and the region, with the first annual monitoring report released in 2009—Trafficking in persons monitoring report, July 2007–December 2008. A second report is scheduled for release in late 2011.
Almost 70 percent of the 113 trafficked persons in Australia identified to December 2008 originated from a South-East Asian country. Australia is unlikely to experience a significant growth in trafficking in persons given its border controls and the current trend in the South-East Asian region where trafficking in persons follows existing internal migration pathways, or into more accessible destinations such as the Middle-East.
Any incidence of trafficking in persons, however, is of serious concern and the AIC's monitoring program is critical for preventing and reducing this crime. Trafficking is largely unreported and there are several challenges in the availability, reliability and comparability of data internationally, regionally and within Australia. The AIC aims to progressively overcome these issues in future monitoring reports with targeted new research.
Sex worker survey
To improve knowledge about vulnerabilities and protections relevant to trafficking in persons the AIC has partnered with Scarlet Alliance to conduct a multilingual survey of both migrant and non-migrant sex workers in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Townsville, Perth, Kalgoorlie and the ACT.
As part of the project, peer educators from Scarlet Alliance are surveying sex workers about migration experiences, access to justice and services, and industrial conditions of migrant sex workers as compared with non-migrant sex workers.
Birdie Thirapat, Migration Project Officer, Scarlet Alliance said:
As a Thai sex worker peer educator working on this survey I have had the opportunity to meet sex workers from Thai, Korean and Chinese backgrounds from around Australia. We have shared stories and information on laws, migration and sex worker rights.
Jules Kim, Migration Project Manager, Scarlet Alliance said:
The Scarlet Alliance survey of sex workers in Australia is importantly done by sex workers for sex workers. As a migrant and a sex worker, we have assumptions and stereotypes enforced upon us. With this research we are representing the voices and actual experiences of our community.
The project will give a better understanding of sex workers' experiences in Australia, identifying vulnerabilities to trafficking and exploring strategies used by sex workers to reduce the risks of trafficking.
The AIC examined what is known about labour trafficking in Australia, based on incidents of reported crimes and by drawing on information about unreported crime. This provided an assessment about the known or likely incidence of trafficking in persons that can occur in the agricultural, cleaning, hospitality, construction and manufacturing industries, or in less formal sectors such as domestic work and home-help. The Minister for Home Affairs and Justice launched the resultant report in November 2010.
The research raised a number of issues for law reform. On 23 November 2010, shortly after the report was launched, the Minister for Home Affairs and Justice announced a process to review Australia's laws on trafficking in persons. This process included a specific review of the Australian legal response to labour trafficking. Submissions to this review, including that of the Law Council of Australia, drew heavily on the AIC's labour trafficking report.
The research was cited by various international organisations, including HEUNI (the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control) and the International Confederation of Trade Unions, and received wide press coverage including on the BBC World News Service, the Voice of America news service and throughout the Australian media.
The AIC's recognised expertise in the research of vulnerable populations led to funding for ongoing research and monitoring linked to trafficking in persons as part of Australia's strategy to combat this crime.
Highlight 4: Labour trafficking
In an AIC Research and Public Policy report, Labour Trafficking (David 2010), released in November, by the Hon. Brendan O'Connor, MP, Minister for Home Affairs and Justice, researchers found that labour trafficking to Australia, while small in scope, is likely to be under-reported and very complex. The number of labour trafficking cases investigated or prosecuted in Australia is small but its occurrence may well be more far reaching.
In releasing the report, the Minister said, 'People are generally not aware that anti-trafficking laws can be applied just as readily to the exploitation of a male industrial cleaner, for example, as to a woman brought to Australia for the purpose of sex slavery.'
He welcomed the report, saying it contributed to our understanding of labour trafficking and highlighted the gaps in our knowledge. 'Effective detection, supported by training, screening tools and processes of cross-referral, is the key.'
AIC researchers found that intermediaries such as agents and recruiters play a major role in labour trafficking, not only in the migration process, but also once individuals are working in Australia—often involving the payment of exorbitant fees to brokers and agents overseas. The report suggested that some employers use the lure of gaining permanent residency as a way of controlling their workers. It identified the overlap between the trafficking of people and the smuggling of migrants as a future area of research.
The kinds of employment vulnerable to trafficking include the agricultural, cleaning, hospitality, construction and manufacturing industries, as well as less formal sectors such as domestic work and home help.
In 2007 the Australian Government provided $26.3 million over four years to expand the government's strategy to combat people trafficking. Since then the AIC has been conducting research into the trafficking of people in the Asia-Pacific region.
The report examines what is known about labour trafficking in Australia, based on incidences of reported crimes and information about unreported crime. Building the knowledge base about labour trafficking is part of larger efforts directed at the prevention of trafficking.
Economic and electronic crime
Overview and impact
Major issues identified under this theme include computer security threats faced by small businesses in Australia, fraud, money laundering and the misuse of information and communications technologies when these crimes are being committed.
In 2010 the AIC made a submission to the Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety on the safety of children and young people on the internet. The submission identified the need for effective partnerships between the public and private sectors, cyber security awareness raising and educational activities and research into online child exploitation and cyber security. AIC Principal Criminologist, Dr Russell Smith, gave evidence at the committee's public hearing on 24 March 2011.
Research into alternative remittance systems that allow overseas transfers of money was examined during a hearing of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs committee examining the Combating the Financing of People Smuggling and Other Measures Bill 2011.
The AIC provided submissions to the UK Office of Fair Trading e-Consumer protection consultation on 13 October 2010 and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Commission briefing submitted on 28 March 2011. It also provided confidential advice to a number of government agencies on cybercrime issues.
The AIC's strong partnership with the Australian Consumer Fraud Taskforce included chairing the research sub-group of the taskforce and assisting with the Scamwatch program.
An increased focus on computer security threats facing Australian businesses resulted in the AIC publishing a peer-reviewed Trends & Issues paper on the use of cloud computing (Choo 2010). This was followed by a paper that examined cyber threats faced by the financial and insurance industry (Choo 2011). This research drew on the results of the Australian Business Assessment of Computer User Security (ABACUS) survey and highlighted the need for a strong partnership between government and businesses for an effective crime prevention strategy.
Additional research undertaken in 2010–11 that drew on the ABACUS survey identified computer security threats faced by small businesses in Australia. This study included an overview of the implications for small business owners and countermeasures for preventing security breaches.
Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce Online Survey
Each year the AIC conducts a self-selected, online survey to assess consumer fraud experiences on behalf of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce (ACFT). The ACFT was formed in March 2005 and comprises 20 government regulatory agencies and departments, including the AIC. The taskforce also has partners from the community, non-government and private sectors in an effort to increase the level of scam awareness in the community. The online survey is conducted between 1 January and 31 March each year and is hosted on the AIC's website. It is designed to gather information about scams over the preceding 12 months and consumer responses to those scams, to improve the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of scam offenders. The AIC also conducts research into other consumer fraud-related issues, such as identity crime, plastic card fraud and fraud trends.
The results of the 2008 and 2009 ACFT surveys were published in 2011. Other research undertaken in this reporting period related to online scams involving victims of advance fee frauds emanating from Nigeria. Further information about the ACFT can be found at www.scamwatch.gov.au.
Highlight 5: Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce surveys
The results of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce online surveys for 2008 and 2009 were published as a Technical Background paper in 2011.
Those who perpetrate consumer scams use a wide range of deceptive practices and methods of communication. All of them, however, aim to trick unsuspecting consumers into parting with money or information. Consumer fraud has been estimated to cost Australia $1 billion annually, although the full extent of losses is unknown as many people choose not to report their losses. Victims can feel ashamed or embarrassed of what they have done and be reluctant to report it.
The online survey is an attempt to obtain a snapshot of the public's exposure to consumer scams, assess their impact and to determine how victims respond.
Both the surveys from 2008 and 2009 found that despite most respondents indicating that they had received a scam invitation over the preceding 12 months, the majority did not respond. Email was the most common method of communicating these scams. Lottery scams attracted the highest number of victims in 2008 but in 2009 work from home scams were the most common.
The surveys provide a useful means of identifying the nature of victimisation and areas for further research on consumer fraud. Links between victims and patterns of age, income, reporting and jurisdiction could be used to develop more strategic and focused public awareness campaigns.
With a more extensive understanding of who is victimised and why, more effective scam prevention measures can be enacted.
Fraud against the Australian Government
In October 2006 the AIC was given responsibility for collecting and reporting on fraud against the Australian Government as required by the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines. All government agencies are required to provide the AIC with information on their experiences of fraud and the steps they take to control it. This information is used for an annual report to the Minister for Home Affairs and Justice.
Each year the AIC hosts the Fraud against the Commonwealth online survey on its secure website, and collates and compiles the data into an annual monitoring report showing trends in fraud across all agencies.
In January 2011 the review of the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines was finalised and the guidelines for collecting data were clarified to ensure that fraud is reported consistently and uniformly. The next survey, for 2010–11, will draw a distinction between fraud and non-compliance. This will allow all agencies to better differentiate between suspected and substantiated cases of fraud and other operational activities that serve to 'check and balance' regulatory compliance activities. This is particularly relevant to the large service provision and revenue-collecting agencies.
For the first time in 2011 the Minister for Home Affairs and Justice released the Fraud against the Commonwealth monitoring report to the public. At the same time the government also released the revised Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines and a Better Practice Guide to help all agencies respond to risks of fraud.
The AIC has started negotiations with Computer Emergency Response Team Australia to undertake survey research of computer security incidents in Australia.
|Transnational organised crime|
|The AIC and the Australian Crime Commission formed a partnership to exchange knowledge and skills as a first step in establishing a research partnership for applied research on serious organised crime in Australia|
|The AIC hosted the first international conference on serious and organised crime in Melbourne from 18–19 October 2010|
|Information sessions around the country on people trafficking|
|The trafficking of children in the Asia–Pacific, Jacqueline Joudo Larsen, April 2011|
|Labour trafficking, Fiona David, November 2010|
|Migration and people trafficking in South-East Asia, Jacqueline Joudo Larsen, November 2010|
|Electronic crime||Submission to the Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety on the safety of children and young people on the internet|
|Submission to the UK Office of Fair Trading e-Consumer protection consultation on 13 October 2010|
|Submission to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Commission briefing on 28 March 2011|
|Cloud computing: Challenges and future directions, Kim-Kwang Raymond Choo, October 2010|
|Cyber threat landscape faced by financial and insurance industry, Kim-Kwang Raymond Choo, February 2011|
|Online survey to assess consumer fraud experiences on behalf of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce (ACFT). Results of the 2008 and 2009 ACFT surveys were published in 2011|
|Fraud against the Commonwealth 2008–09 annual report to government, Jade Lindley & Russell G Smith, April 2011|
Overview and impact
The AIC continued to make important contributions to crime prevention in Australia and overseas in 2010–11.
In 2010 the AIC drafted a National Crime Prevention Framework for the Australia and New Zealand Crime Prevention Senior Officers' Group. The Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency Management—Police Senior Officer's Group—is currently considering this framework.
Outside Australia, the AIC contributed to the programs of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, providing expert input to the development of a regional organised crime threat assessment tool. The AIC also worked with the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction to provide input into the development of a European illicit drugs monitoring framework.
Capacity building in crime prevention
The AIC continued to develop its technical assistance program to support those working in the field of crime prevention, providing technical advice about performance measurement and monitoring to national, state and territory law enforcement agencies. In 2010–11 the AIC further developed its series of applied resources for crime prevention policymakers and practitioners, including its range of Research in Practice publications available on the AIC's website. An extensive national and international literature review on the effectiveness of single person police patrols is currently being drafted to provide guidance to law enforcement agencies.
The AIC also started developing a training series with the University of Sydney Institute of Criminology to assist those involved in crime prevention evaluation, by providing guidance on effective evaluation outcomes and critical steps. The first training sessions began in the first quarter of 2010–11.
Applied cannabis-related resources for criminal justice practitioners
As part of the AIC partnership with the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre, the AIC developed resources for those dealing with cannabis-related crime. These resources are intended to inform criminal justice professionals and the community about the criminal justice dimensions of cannabis use in Australia. In 2010–11 the focus was on developing a series of highly applied Research in Practice publications designed to improve the response of law enforcement to local cannabis problems.
AIC contribution to international crime prevention policy and practice
In 2010 the AIC coordinated the development of a National Crime Prevention Framework through the Australia and New Zealand Crime Prevention Senior Officers' Group, while outside Australia it contributed to the programs of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. In addition, the AIC maintained a close involvement with the International Centre for Crime Prevention, with the Director and a number of staff involved with the Centre's activities over the year
Evaluation of criminal justice programs
The AIC is increasingly undertaking evaluation work for criminal justice and regulatory agencies. In the past year AIC staff completed or commenced evaluating a number of innovative court models. One example is the Queensland Murri Court—a court model established to reduce high rates of reoffending among Indigenous offenders and to provide a more culturally appropriate criminal justice process for Indigenous Australians. Other court-based evaluations undertaken by the AIC include an evaluation of the Queensland Homelessness and Special Circumstances Court Diversion Program and an evaluation of the NSW Children's Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Program.
The AIC also undertook evaluation work for a number of jurisdictions covering the following areas:
- the impact of policing strategies on managing licensed premises and alcohol-related harm
- reforms to victim support services
- police responses to local illicit drug problems
- the road transport regulatory environment.
Evaluating the impact of policing strategies on alcohol-related harms
In early 2011 the AIC completed a 12-month evaluation of the ACT Police response to alcohol-related harms. The final report, which will be published in 2011–12, made a number of recommendations to enhance ACT Police's performance in this area. These included that ACT Police develop a longer-term strategy to address alcohol-related problems, supported by improved communication and collaboration within ACT Police and relevant third parties, improved intelligence gathering and analysis and better performance monitoring and measurement. Although the evaluation was conducted in the ACT, many of the findings from this work are likely to apply in other policing contexts.
The AIC conducted confidential commissioned analyses for federal, state and territory law enforcement and criminal intelligence agencies on the modelling and forecasting of volume crimes such as offences against children, drugs, economic and financial crimes and human trafficking in Australia.
Work was also undertaken on:
- estimating the size of prisoner populations in the next decade
- modelling the optimal performance and resourcing for community policing functions
- developing a predictive model of the location of clandestine drug laboratories based on precursor chemical dumps seized by police
- reviewing the Canadian Department of Justice's research into the economic and financial costs of spousal violence in Canada.
The AIC worked with law enforcement agencies to improve the ability to identify patterns in drug seizures. This information could then be used for operational law enforcement. This project built on the AIC's existing DRUGSMOD statistical model of the inter-relationships between Australian domestic drugs markets.
Much of this forecasting and modelling work was undertaken as consultancies with law enforcement agencies and will not be made public. In addition to producing these confidential reports a number of publications were released through the year. A Trends & Issues paper on 'crime families' (Goodwin & Davis 2011) drew attention to the intergenerational transmission of criminal behaviour in families and received significant media attention. A further Trends & Issues paper on measuring the severity of crime is currently in production and will be released in the next financial year.
|Crime prevention||The AIC drafted a National Crime Prevention Framework for the Australia and New Zealand Crime Prevention Senior Officers' Group|
|The AIC held the Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards 2010, announced on 28 October|
|Capacity building||The AIC developed a series of applied resources for crime prevention policymakers and practitioners, including its range of Research in Practice publications|
|The AIC began development of a training series with the University of Sydney Institute of Criminology for people involved in crime prevention evaluation|
|The AIC and the NSW Department of Attorney General and Justice co-hosted the Meeting the Needs of Victims of Crime conference, 18–19 May 2011|
|Research in Practice publications designed to improve the response of law enforcement to local cannabis problems|
|Criminal justice program evaluation||Evaluation of a number of innovative court models including: |
|Twelve-month evaluation of ACT Police's response to alcohol-related harms|
Crime and the community
Overview and impact
Much of the work in this area focused on Indigenous people, juveniles, human trafficking and women and children as victims of violence. The research is highly regarded because of the mixed methods it uses, its special expertise and its ethically-sensitive approach. The work directly assisted governments to achieve a wide range of outcomes, including ensuring 'community safety, including community confidence in law and order, and the effective and efficient administration of justice' (National Information Development Plan for Crime and Justice Statistics Information paper ABS 2005).
Since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody the AIC has monitored deaths in custody. Various Productivity Commission and COAG reports, such as the Report on Government Services 2011 (produced by the Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision), have recognised this as the most reliable Indigenous-specific dataset on equity and effectiveness in the criminal justice system.
The AIC is directly contributing to the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children, endorsed by COAG on 14 February 2011, and undertook a substantial project on intimate partner homicide.
In April 2011 the ACT Human Rights Commission called for submissions for a review of the Bimberi juvenile justice facility. The AIC prepared a report to assist the Bimberi Review team using data provided to the AIC and publicly available data to give an overview of juveniles' contact with police, courts and corrections in the ACT.
As part of a greater focus on crime and justice issues for culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Australia, the AIC has been undertaking research investigating the crime experienced by international students.
In 2010–11, the AIC continued a substantial work program focused on Indigenous crime and justice issues.
Deaths in custody monitoring
The AIC continued to maintain the National Deaths in Custody program and during 2010–11 published an annual report covering data to 31 December 2008. See Highlight 6: Twentieth anniversary of monitoring deaths in custody.
During 2010–11 the AIC commenced an extensive review of the program to ensure data is accurate and relevant, meets the program's and stakeholders aims and needs, reflects ongoing developments in police and correctional practice and leads to more timely outputs. This review will be completed early in 2011–12 and improvements will be implemented throughout that year. The next report is due for release in 2012 and will cover data to 2010.
Highlight 6: Twentieth anniversary of monitoring deaths in custody
On 15 April 2011 the Australian Institute of Criminology marked its 20th year of monitoring and reporting all deaths in custody after the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody recommended a program to examine deaths occurring in prison, police and juvenile justice custody.
In 1992 the AIC released the first Deaths in Custody monitoring report. Annual data has been published regularly since then. The most recent report was released in December 2010 covering data to 2008.
The AIC receives deaths in custody data from all Australian police and corrections agencies and uses available coronial findings where possible.
The main conclusion from the Royal Commission was that Indigenous people are actually not more likely to die in custody than non-Indigenous people. This remains true today.
The problem remains that Indigenous people are significantly over-represented in all forms of custody compared with non-Indigenous Australians. Indigenous people make up less than two and a half percent of the total Australian population yet account for over a quarter of young people in juvenile detention, one-third of people in police custody incidents and more than a quarter of the total prison population.
Efforts to reduce Indigenous deaths in custody must include a focus on reducing the contact of Indigenous people with the criminal justice system.
While any death is of concern, there are some positive trends. Both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous rates of deaths in custody have decreased over the last decade. For example, in 2008 rates of death in prison for both cohorts were some of the lowest ever recorded. There were 1.3 deaths per 1,000 Indigenous prisoners and 2.2 per 1,000 non-Indigenous prisoners.
The nature of deaths in both prison and police custody has changed dramatically since 1991. The most common cause of prison custody death at that time was from self-inflicted injuries, primarily hanging. Since the late 1990s deaths from hanging in prison have declined and in recent years this is one of the least common causes of death in prison, particularly amongst Indigenous prisoners.
The nature of deaths in police custody has also changed over the past 20 years. During the 1990s most deaths in police custody occurred in an institutional setting such as a police cell or during raids. Since 2000, deaths occur most frequently in motor vehicle pursuits and sieges.
The AIC will continue to monitor deaths in all forms of custody and will assist custodial authorities in developing strategies to reduce these incidents.
Monitoring police custody
Ever since the AIC began monitoring Aboriginal deaths in custody it has also conducted the complementary Police Custody Survey program. Under this program, census surveys were conducted covering cell custody incidents in August of the years 1988, 1992, 1995, 2002 and 2007. The program has been undergoing a review to address irregularities in the datasets. The AIC is currently assessing the 2007 data and investigating with state and territory police agencies the potential to replace the survey with an annually-calculated aggregate dataset of all custody incidents.
Indigenous community safety
One AIC project, supported by the ACC, resulted in the development of a community safety survey for Australian Indigenous communities. A review of this survey with service providers in urban, rural and remote communities found that, while respondents felt safe in most situations, they were concerned about their safety at night and about the safety of others in the community, especially girls and young women.
A later project, also completed in 2010–11, involved the AIC re-developing the community safety survey at the request of the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) to make it more suitable for use with Indigenous community members. The questionnaire has since been used by FaHCSIA to conduct surveys on community safety issues in remote Northern Territory communities.
Non-disclosure of violence in Indigenous communities
This project, supported by the ACC, examined the available information on non-disclosure, or under-reporting, of violence in Australian Indigenous communities. It considered ways of increasing levels of disclosure, including through specialised training and culturally appropriate adaptations for police and other service providers, community education and awareness and working with communities to develop community-based responses.
International indicators to measure Indigenous justice outcomes
This short project resulted in a research brief published through the Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse. The brief explored indicators used by international and national bodies to measure differential justice outcomes, particularly for those experiencing disadvantage in the justice system.
Review of Northern Territory Community Safety Planning
This project reviewed a community safety planning program developed and implemented by the Northern Territory Department of Justice. The review identified a range of issues with the program, mainly linked to the complexity and challenges of whole-of-government policy development and implementation, and made recommendations for its future development.
Contribution to the baseline for the Northern Territory Emergency Response
During 2010–11 the AIC provided advice to FaHCSIA on its work on baseline mapping of remote service delivery (RSD) communities. This followed from a substantial body of work undertaken by the AIC for FaHCSIA in 2009–10, during which the AIC collected and analysed criminal justice data and information for 29 communities identified as priorities under the RSD National Partnership Agreement.
Victims of violence, especially women and children
The AIC continued to make a contribution to the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children. The AIC finalised a quantitative and qualitative study of homicides occurring in the Northern Territory between 1989–90 and 2005–06 that involved Indigenous victims or offenders. The study, prepared by an external consultant engaged by the AIC, drew on Northern Territory police case files and data collected through the National Homicide Monitoring Program (see below).
The report showed that most Indigenous homicide victims and offenders were male, typically unemployed, had a criminal history and were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the offence. This report will not be publicly released for ethics and privacy reasons, due to the detailed case studies used, but a summary of the main findings and themes will be included as a chapter in a national report on intimate partner homicide due to be released in 2011–12.
Young people and crime
The AIC has a long involvement with monitoring and research on juvenile justice issues and has regularly published the Juveniles in Detention monitoring report and related data since 1999. In 2010 the AIC produced the monitoring report, Juveniles in Detention 1981–2008, which analysed the numbers and rates of juveniles in detention in Australia by sex, age, Indigenous and legal status. Following the release of this last report, the monitoring program ceased as juvenile justice reporting by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Australian Bureau of Statistics now comprehensively covers this.
However, the AIC will continue to focus on primary juvenile justice research. During 2010–11, it undertook work measuring the extent of juvenile recidivism in Australia, a project funded by the Australian Juvenile Justice Administrators (AJJA). This research was the first attempt in Australia to develop counting rules that were comparable across jurisdictions and that could accurately report on juvenile recidivism. Papers were also produced on interventions to reduce offending by Indigenous juveniles, police-referred restorative justice and children's exposure to domestic violence. In 2011–12, the AIC will conduct research into juvenile bail and remand.
Currently, the AIC is assisting the Victorian Department of Justice to develop the business and operational rules needed for an integrated recidivism measurement system. The aim is to monitor longitudinal recidivism outcomes and trends for separate birth cohorts. Longer-term recidivism research such as this is needed to provide context and clarity to key performance indicators used in the Report on Government Services.
The AIC is expecting to undertake a consultancy with the Victorian Parliamentary Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee in 2011–12 to conduct a longitudinal birth cohort study of Victorian youth, examining contact with the criminal justice system and identifying implications for interventions with high-volume young offenders. This followed earlier work on the recidivism outcomes of the Queensland Drug Court, the National Police Drug Diversion Initiative and the Victorian Youth Justice System.
|Indigenous justice||Development of a community safety survey for Australian Indigenous communities|
|Review of community safety planning in the Northern Territory|
|Deaths in custody in Australia: National Deaths in Custody Program 2008, Mathew Lyneham, Jacqueline Joudo Larsen & Laura Beacroft, December 2010|
|Study of homicides in the Northern Territory between 1989–90 and 2005–06 involving Indigenous victims or offenders|
|Police Custody Survey program|
|National deaths in custody monitoring program|
|Young people and crime||Juveniles in detention in Australia, 1981–2008, Kelly Richards & Mathew Lyneham, December 2010|
|Young People, Risks and Resilience conference—co-hosted by the AIC and the Victorian Safe Communities Network|
Overview and impact
This area incorporates one of the AIC's largest and longest running programs—the National Homicide Monitoring Program (NHMP). One other major area of investigation in 2010–11 was the victimisation of international students.
The study on victimisation of international students was conducted with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) and state and territory police services. It sought ways to quantify the nature and extent to which Indian students were the victims of crime compared with other international student groups and the Australian population after a spate of attacks on Australian based Indian students. This work will be released in 2011–12.
The NHMP, which began in 1989, has grown into one of the world's most comprehensive homicide databases. It is made up of more than 70 variables for over 6,000 homicides, including detailed information about both the victims and offenders of homicide. The NHMP operates by combining three sources of data—police reports, media reports and coronial/court records. The AIC is committed to reporting the data biennially as well as producing a range of other AIC publications. The NHMP data is frequently requested by government agencies and included in major government reports including the Productivity Commission's Report on Government Services and Indigenous Supplement.
Recently the AIC experienced difficulties in maintaining cooperation and commitment from some state and territory police agencies in providing NHMP data. This resulted in delays in finalising the annual data and the annual reporting schedule. A move to biennial reporting should help ease the pressure on state and territory police. A longer-term goal, however, will be to redesign NHMP data collection procedures to further minimise burden while maximising the quality and timeliness of data provision.
International student victimisation
The investigation into victimisation of international students was a vital part of the Australian Government's response to growing concerns about the safety of international students following a series of media reports in 2009 of attacks on Indian international students and the subsequent death of Nitin Garg (an Indian student in Melbourne) in 2010.
The project was considered critical since the international education sector has become the third largest export industry in Australia, generating approximately $15.5 billion and attracting more than 300,000 international students each year. The sector plays a crucial role in fostering stronger international links and developing diverse skills in Australia and overseas. Student safety is an important part of what makes Australia an attractive international education destination.
The AIC's final report, expected to be released in August 2011, represents the culmination of the AIC's research into crimes against international students using administrative and pre-existing survey data sources. It provides detailed findings from what is the most comprehensive victimisation study conducted to date using DIAC international student visa records for more than 400,000 students, matched with police crime victimisation records. Supplementary analysis of the AIC's NHMP database and the Australian component of the 2004 International Crime Victimisation Survey has provided additional context to the AIC's investigation.
The AIC is currently seeking funding to conduct a large-scale victimisation survey of migrant communities in Australia, which will include temporary residents, such as students.
Domestic and family violence remains a key policy priority for both federal and state and territory governments. This year the AIC, together with the Criminology Research Council (CRC), undertook a number of research projects that contributed greatly to the research and evidence base. This included:
- a comprehensive literature review commissioned by the CRC to investigate research gaps and priorities in domestic violence research
- analysis of intimate partner homicides and risk assessment tools for preventing serious or fatal family violence
- an evaluation of the Family Violence Intervention Program in the ACT.
The CRC commissioned the AIC to conduct research that profiles domestic violence offenders using one of Australia's most comprehensive domestic violence data collection systems—the Tasmanian Safe at Home Program. Currently in progress, the project will provide new insights into the typologies of domestic violence behaviour and have implications for victim and perpetrator intervention programs.
National Armed Robbery Monitoring
In February 2011 the AIC hosted the National Armed Robbery Roundtable as part of its National Armed Robbery Monitoring Program. The roundtable, comprised of business and law enforcement representatives, provided a forum for examining recent trends in armed robbery and exploring current thinking on good practice. The roundtable was convened to explore recent experiences of armed robbery in various industry sectors and to discuss crime prevention techniques recently implemented or under consideration. In June 2011, the latest National Armed Robbery Monitoring Report was released.
|Victimisation of international students||Study on victimisation of international students initiated and being finalised for release in 2011–12|
|Domestic violence||Literature review investigating research gaps and priorities in domestic violence research|
|An evaluation of the Family Violence Intervention Program in the ACT|
|Integrated responses to domestic violence: Legally mandated intervention programs for male perpetrators, Andrew Day, Donna Chung, Patrick O'Leary, Donna Justo, Susan Moore, Ed Carson & Adam Gerace, December 2010 (CRC-funded research)|
|Children's exposure to domestic violence in Australia, Kelly Richards, June 2011|
|Armed robbery||The AIC held the National Armed Robbery Roundtable in February 2011|
|Armed robbery in Australia: 2008 National Armed Robbery Monitoring Program annual report, Lance Smith, Kym Dossetor & Maria Borzycki, June 2011|
|Homicide||Homicide in Australia: 2007–08 National Homicide Monitoring Program annual report, Marie Virueda & Jason Payne, December 2010|
|Analysis of intimate partner homicides and risk assessment tools for preventing serious or fatal family violence|
Drugs and alcohol
Overview and impact
Although the AIC continues to carry out alcohol and illicit drugs research, the flagship of the program is the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program, now Australia's largest, most frequent and longest running survey of police detainees. Unlike other national drug monitoring programs, DUMA has the capacity to provide an early warning of changes in the availability and use of illicit drugs.
In 2010–11 other areas of interest under this theme involved some short-term studies, including a study of the policing of Indigenous substance misuse in metropolitan areas, funded through the National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund.
Drug use monitoring in Australia
Originally established at four sites in 1999, DUMA has since expanded to nine sites across the country, with at least one collection location in each mainland capital city except Canberra.
In 2010–11 the AIC undertook a comprehensive review of the DUMA program, including a stakeholder review of the DUMA survey. It is proposed that the program move to biennial reporting (with the 2009–10 report anticipated in August 2011), freeing up staff resources to produce more detailed and policy-relevant publications throughout the two-year cycle.
The AIC also revised the DUMA survey to improve the quantity and quality of information collected on alcohol consumption and drug market participation. This new data has been extremely valuable in generating new publications and informing strategic intelligence gathering networks in both federal and state law enforcement agencies.
Highlight 7: Drug use monitoring in Australia
Two Research in Practice papers on alcohol and crime were published under the DUMA program in 2010–11. One paper looked at people detained because of assault offences, the other examined offenders detained for disorderly behaviour on Friday and Saturday nights.
Although not necessarily violent, these latter offenders contribute significantly to the alcohol-related workload of police as well as creating costs for the community through the misuse of alcohol.
The research was released to coincide with the May 2011 Operation Unite, which is the regular Australian and New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency (ANZPAA) targeted strategy against alcohol related crime. The data from this report reinforced the need for such policing activity.
The AIC reports received significant media coverage, including citations from Police Commissioners in various jurisdictions. They also provided important information supporting complementary strategies such as regulatory controls including licensing restrictions and provisions for the responsible service of alcohol.
The report found that those charged with disorder on Friday and Saturday nights were more likely than those charged at other times to have consumed alcohol in the past 48 hours. It was also found that those detainees were also nearly twice as likely as those charged at other times to have been mixing drinks. This was particularly the case for males aged 26 to 35 years. The median number of drinks consumed for disorder offenders in the lead-up to their arrest was 15. Further, of those who had been drinking alcohol, 40 percent of all disorder offenders consumed their drink at a licensed premise.
Knowing the profile of disorderly conduct offenders, the amount of alcohol they have consumed and where they consumed their last drink provides a more detailed picture than previously available on the populations targeted by law enforcement agencies.
Alcohol and crime
A highlight for DUMA in 2010–11 was the development and production of two Research in Practice publications on alcohol and crime. These reports use information collected as part of the new DUMA survey to examine the quantity and type of alcohol consumed by police detainees arrested and detained for assault or disorderly conduct offences on Friday and Saturday nights. The research was released to coincide with the nationally organised Operation Unite—an Australasian policing operation raising awareness of the consequences of alcohol abuse and misuse.
The AIC released results from DUMA's new and emerging drugs survey, with a specific focus on Mephedrone (otherwise known as 'Meow Meow'). The study examined the prevalence of Mephedrone use and the extent of knowledge among detainees about the availability of Mephedrone in each jurisdiction. More recently, the AIC included a number of new questions in the DUMA survey on synthetic cannabinoids (otherwise known as 'Kronic'), the results of which will be released shortly.
Changes and improvements
The DUMA program will refocus its attention on outputs to ensure the continued production of high-quality policy-relevant publications. The AIC is also currently in discussion with Edith Cowan University and WA Police about the possible regional expansion of the DUMA program in WA. Other jurisdictions have also shown an interest in the DUMA program being expanded to regional locations.
Other drug and alcohol-related research
As well as DUMA, the AIC has undertaken other drug and alcohol related research, including:
- a consultancy with the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General to evaluate the north and south Queensland Drug Court
- a consultancy with the National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund (NDLERF) to examine Indigenous substance use in metropolitan locations and implications for policing
- a collaboration with the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre to develop a number of new publications and criminal justice relevant information resources relating to cannabis (see above)
- a consultancy with the Victorian Parliamentary Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee examining alcohol-related assaults in the Melbourne CBD.
Future opportunities evaluating the criminal justice outcomes of Indigenous drug and alcohol programs in regional locations will result in the continued expansion of work in the drug and alcohol field.
|Drug Use Monitoring in Australia||The AIC reviewed the DUMA program and revised the DUMA survey to improve the quantity and quality of information|
|Two Research in Practice publications on alcohol and crime:|
|Alcohol and assault on Friday and Saturday nights, Josh Sweeney & Jason Payne, May 2011|
|Alcohol and disorderly conduct on Friday and Saturday nights, Josh Sweeney & Jason Payne, May 2011|
|Release of results from DUMA new and emerging drugs survey|
|Other drug and alcohol-related research||Development of a predictive model of the location of clandestine drug laboratories based on precursor chemical dumps seized by police (confidential)|
|Patterns of mephedrone, GHB, Ketamine and Rohypnol use among police detainees, Alex Ness & Jason Payne, May 2011|
|Submission to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Commission briefing submitted on 28 March 2011|
Overview and impact
The AIC has a long history in researching property crime. In recent years the focus has been on bushfire arson, firearms theft and firearms trafficking. The final report of a four-year National Firearms Theft monitoring program was in production in 2010–11 and is expected to be released in late 2011.
The AIC has undertaken bushfire arson research since 2005, funded by the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre (Bushfire CRC). The staff involved in the research program were relocated to the Geospatial team in 2010. The AIC's bushfire arson research has been pivotal in informing governments, fire agencies and the law enforcement sector about the nature of bushfire arson, particularly preceding and following the Black Saturday fires in Victoria in early 2009. The Bushfire CRC-funded arson research was completed in 2010. The AIC developed a number of new proposals to undertake further arson research but as these did not attract funding the arson program is now considered complete.
Although funding ceased, the AIC remained active in the arson area throughout 2010 in response to the Attorney-General's significant interest in a national bushfire arson prevention strategy. The AIC played a major role in helping the Attorney-General's Department develop a wildfire arson investigators course. This course was designed to provide Australia with a critical mass of experienced bushfire arson investigators. It ran successfully for the first time in late 2010.
Disseminating research findings
The AIC provides information that supports a broad range of stakeholders. Through publications, the web, social media, the library, media releases, conferences, seminars and roundtables, the AIC disseminates information about the nature and extent of crime, emerging trends and effective responses to promote justice and reduce crime.
The AIC communicates new knowledge both internally and externally and the regular AIC publication stream is the foundation of this dissemination.
There are two peer-reviewed publications categories—the Research and Public Policy series and Trend & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, researched and written by both AIC researchers and external authors.
Other publication categories in the AIC program include:
- Monitoring reports—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 and figures—an annual publication providing a statistical overview of the most recent national information on crime in Australia, serving as a ready reference resource. The publication presents statistics on the numbers and types of recorded crime, where they occur, victim details, data on offenders, responses of criminal justice agencies and government resources for dealing with crime and corrections
- Research in Practice (RIP)—short research papers, fact sheets, tip sheets and case studies from evidence-based research for practitioners in the criminal justice field
- Brief—the AIC's stakeholder newsletter, published in-house and distributed electronically to provide an informative summary of recent AIC research and activities.
During 2009–10 the AIC published a significant range of high-quality in-house publications including:
- Australian crime: Facts & figures 2010
- 31 peer-reviewed research publications (Research and Public Policy, Trends & Issues)
- Six monitoring reports
- 31 other publications (TBPs, RiPs, fact sheets, newsletters and confidential reports)
- the 2009–10 annual reports of the AIC and the CRC.
In 2010–11 peer-reviewed publications increased by 10 percent over 2009–10, an increase of 34 percent over the AIC's publication target.
The AIC's most popular publication is Australian crime: Facts and figures. This can also be viewed more dynamically using the 'Facts and Figures Online' data tool.
A full list of AIC publications is provided in Appendix 1. AIC staff also produced 24 articles and papers published by other agencies; these are listed in Appendix 2.
|Team||Publications—external and internal||Papers presented|
|Global, Economic and Electronic Crime||14||26|
|Crime Reduction and Review||12||7|
|Crime and Populations||22||21|
|Violent and Serious Crime Monitoring||21||23|
Review and publication process
All publication submissions are subject to a rigorous review process before they are accepted for publication. Drafts are reviewed by AIC staff, senior research staff and finally the Director, and are also subject to external review. All publications are edited to conform to the AIC publishing style guide.
The AIC has been accepted by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research as an accredited publisher to receive university funding under its higher education research data collections specifications. This accreditation covers the peer-reviewed and commercially published Trends & Issues papers and the Research and Public Policy series. The AIC gratefully acknowledges the contribution of those who have taken part in the peer-review process during the year.
A large number of events including three major conferences, occasional seminars, forums and roundtables were held throughout the year to inform and engage with a range of AIC stakeholders. Details on each of these are available in Appendixes 4 and 5.
As well as appearing before public inquiries on topics including cybercrime, money laundering and people trafficking, staff also made more than 55 presentations on the AIC's work to meetings and conferences of criminal justice practitioners, government agencies, academics, politicians and other interested parties in Australia and overseas. These are listed in Appendix 3.
The AIC hosted three significant conferences during the year:
- The first ever International Serious and Organised Crime Conference was held in Melbourne from 18–19 October 2010 and attended by around 300 delegates.
- The Young People, Risks and Resilience conference was co-hosted by the AIC and the Victorian Safe Communities Network and attracted 230 registrations.
- The international conference Meeting the Needs of Victims of Crime, co-sponsored by the AIC and Victims Services, NSW Department of Attorney General and Justice was held in Sydney on 18–19 May with 200 people in attendance.
Experts, stakeholders and practitioners attend AIC roundtable discussions to explore issues of public policy and those related to managing and maintaining the monitoring report programs. The AIC organises these discussions to develop and maintain a common, current knowledge base on significant issues and to encourage strategic information sharing between policy and program agencies and practitioners.
Ten roundtable discussions and forums were held in 2010–11. These are listed in Appendix 6.
Occasional seminars are held throughout the year at the AIC. This year speakers presented on a wide range of topics including international fraud, crime prevention in Northern Australia and juvenile rehabilitation programs in Canada. Members of the criminology and policy community were invited along with AIC staff. Forthcoming seminars are promoted on the AIC's website and via email. Appendix 4 lists the 10 public seminars hosted by the AIC during 2010–11.
The AIC also held a number of in-house seminars during the year at which staff members presented findings from their research for peer review.
Highlight 8: 2010–11 Conferences
International Serious and Organised Crime Conference
The AIC hosted this first ever international conference on serious and organised crime in Melbourne from 18–19 October 2010.
The cost of organised crime in Australia is more than $10 billion a year—a massive burden on society of lost revenue and costs to criminal justice, social, health and welfare systems. The AIC chose this topic as it is an issue faced by law enforcement agencies around the world.
Sponsored by Victoria Police, the Australian Crime Commission, Australian Federal Police and CrimTrac, the conference brought together renowned experts from around Australia and overseas including:
- Simon Overland, Chief Commissioner, Victoria Police
- John Lawler, CEO, Australian Crime Commission
- William Hughes, former Director General of the UK Serious and Organised Crime Agency
- Gary Lewis, Regional Representative for the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime
- Steve Martinez, Assistant Director in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Brigadier General Dr Saud Usman Nasution, Indonesian National Police
- Professor Ernesto Savona, Universitá Cattolica, Milan
- Dr Paula Miraglia, International Centre for the Prevention of Crime, Canada
- Professor Andrew Hughes, former Australian UN police chief now with the University of Wollongong Centre for Transnational Crime Prevention.
AIC Director, Dr Adam Tomison said, 'The Institute has felt for some time that it was crucial that law enforcement and criminal justice experts were provided with an opportunity to discuss the key issues facing us all in combating serious and organised crime'.
Over the course of the two-day conference more than 280 delegates from organisations and law enforcement agencies around the world shared their knowledge and experiences in investigating and targeting organised crime. Academics, government agencies and industry had the opportunity to collaborate on best practice and analyse local and international trends.
The conference covered more than 40 topics in both plenary and concurrent sessions including expert analyses of organised crime groups such as:
- the Italian and Russian mafias, Colombian cartels and Chinese triads
- cybercrime, fraud and identity theft
- people smuggling and people trafficking
- the nexus between organised crime and terrorism.
Other major themes included the importance of intelligence sharing and partnerships, strengthening integrity and fighting corruption, innovation, performance measurement and crime prevention strategies.
Image: William Hughes, former Director General of the UK Serious and Organised Crime Agency Speaking at the International Serious and Organised Crime Conference
Young People, Risks and Resilience Conference
This conference was co-hosted by the AIC and the Victorian Safe Communities Network and attracted 230 registrations.
This was an important and timely conference as crime statistics are dropping for almost all demographics except for juvenile crime where there has been a worrying increase over the past few years.
Many teenagers are attracted to risky behaviours—binge drinking, drug use and dangerous driving. Most indulge a few times and then remove themselves from these behaviours. Others continue to offend and end up in the criminal justice system.
This conference explored those who put themselves at risk and keep getting drawn to criminal behaviours—what motivates them and what we can do to intervene.
Most young people are naturally resilient but society must also provide support and therapeutic interventions for young people to build on that resilience.
Keynote speakers included:
- Adam Tomison, Director, AIC
- Andrew Scipione, NSW Police Commissioner
- David Chalke, Director of Quantum Research
- Professor Jan Copeland, Assistant Director, National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre
- John Fitzgerald, Executive Manager, Knowledge & Environments for Health, VicHealth
- Keiran Walshe, Victorian Deputy Commissioner of Police.
The Minister for Home Affairs and Justice opened the second day of proceedings.
Andrew Scipione, NSW Police Commisioner speaking at Young People, Risks and Resilience Conference
Meeting the Needs of Victims of Crime Conference
The AIC and Victims Services, NSW Department of Attorney General and Justice co-hosted this international conference in Sydney from 18–19 May with 200 attendees.
Proceedings were opened by the NSW Attorney General and Minister for Justice, the Hon. Greg Smith, MP. The Federal Minister for Home Affairs and Justice, the Hon. Brendan O'Connor, MP, opened the second day of the conference.
Issues canvassed included victims' rights and human rights, assisting victims through the criminal justice process and the experiences and support needs of victims of crime, including those who have experienced domestic violence, child abuse and fraud.
Victims and their representatives rightly insist more and more on greater participation in the justice system and receiving proper recognition and redress.
Plenary speakers included:
- Dr Jonathan Doak, Nottingham Trent University—victims' rights in the context of international human rights
- David Levine, former Supreme Court justice, Chairperson of the Serious Offenders Review Council—victims within court settings
- Dr Ann O'Neill, Director of angelhands, a support centre for victims of serious crimes—experiences as a researcher, practitioner and victim
- Professor Jane Ursel, Director of Research and Education for Solutions to Violence and Abuse (RESOLVE), Canada.
There were presentations from a number of victims support groups such as Bravehearts and the Enough is Enough Anti Violence Movement Inc. The Scarlet Alliance presented on the experiences and vulnerabilities of sex workers.
As with all AIC conferences since 2010, the key speeches, sessions and conference papers were posted on Criminology TV and the AIC website.
Image: Dr Ann O'Neil, Director of Angelhands, a support centre for victims of serious crime
Submissions to government inquiries
The AIC made formal submissions to eight inquiries during the year and appeared before four national inquiries. See Appendix 5 for details.
The media continue to consult the AIC on a wide range of criminological issues seeking comment on AIC work, other research findings and general background information and statistics on crime within Australia. Highlight 9 shows the extent of this consultation for 2010–11.
The three conferences and the AIC's innovative research allowed significant positive media coverage of the AIC in the past year, with media enquiries resulting in 81 media interviews with AIC authors and researchers.
The Minister for Home Affairs and Justice's decision to publicly release, for the first time, the Fraud Against the Commonwealth report attracted a great deal of interest. Previously the report was confidential to government.
Other major releases included Research and Public Policy papers on environmental crime in October 2010 and labour trafficking in November 2010.
New AIC research on knife crime in Australia, Indigenous justice and juvenile justice all received extensive media coverage, as did the annual reports of the firearms theft and DUMA monitoring programs. There was also intense media interest on the intergenerational transmission of criminal behaviour, and specifically, the criminogenic effect of criminal mothers on their children's subsequent behaviour.
Highlight 9: Media releases issued 2010–11
|31 August 2010||Restorative justice measures for juvenile offenders not having intended impact|
|29 October 2010||National anti-crime award winners announced|
|9 November 2010||Exposing the hidden crime of labour trafficking (Minister's release)|
|12 November 2010||Human trafficking from SE Asia under-reported (Minister's release)|
|15 December 2010||Natural causes responsible for many deaths in custody|
|17 December 2010||Australia's homicide rates remain stable|
|19 January 2011||Complex barriers prevent disclosure of violence by Indigenous victims|
|4 February 2011||Measuring the effectiveness of drug law enforcement|
|10 February 2011||Study of jurors shows judges get it right on criminal sentencing (Minister's Release)|
|21 February 2011||Cyber threats to the financial and insurance industry|
|23 February 2011||The challenges of juvenile crime|
|25 February 2011||Antisocial behaviour: an examination of individual, family, and neighbourhood factors|
|10 May 2011||AIC Trafficking forum held in Kalgoorlie|
|7 March 2011||Youth Risk and Resilience Conference in Melbourne|
|8 March 2011||Lotteries and 'work from home' scams hit Aussies|
|15 April 2011||20 years of monitoring deaths in custody|
|4 May 2011||Study finds that alcohol leads to weekend assaults (Minister)|
|9 May 2011||Criminal mothers strongly influence crime in children|
|17 May 2011||Victims Conference opens in Sydney|
|18 May 2011||Knife crime in Australia|
|19 May 2011||'Meeting the needs of victims of crime' conference, speech, Sydney (Minister—launch of Facts and Figures 2010)|
|20 May 2011||High-risk prisoners receiving better rehabilitation programs|
|26 May 2011||AIC Trafficking forum held in Mildura|
|31 May 2011||GHB and Ketamine well-known in eastern states—Meow meow better known in west|
|17 June 2011||New study finds Centrelink leads the way to stop fraud (Minister)|
|27 June 2011||Exposure to domestic violence a form of child abuse (Minister)|
Highlight 10: Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards 2010
For almost 20 years, the Commonwealth Heads of Government and the Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency Management Police have contributed funds annually to reward and showcase examples of good practice in community-based crime and violence prevention projects and programs though the Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards (ACVPAs). Each year a board of state and territory representatives, chaired by the Director of the AIC, meet to select award-winning projects from the general community and police agencies.
Minister for Home Affairs and Justice, the Hon. Brendan O'Connor, MP, presented the 2010 awards at Parliament House on 28 October. Five national awards were made for projects from Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland that addressed young offender rehabilitation, affordable housing communities, public housing tenants, victims of intimate partner violence and at-risk youth.
The 2010 national ACVPA winners were:
- Operation New Start Victoria (Vic)—a referral program for Victorian state secondary colleges providing academic and vocational support to youth at risk of offending
- The Bridge Project (Vic)—a program that provides support, training and employment opportunities to young offenders trapped in a recurring cycle of poverty, crime and imprisonment
- Bsafe Pilot Project (Vic)—an initiative combining a personal alarm system with risk management strategies to reduce incidents of domestic violence
- Dubbo Tranformation Strategy (NSW)—a project involving the relocation of public housing tenants in Dubbo to new locations, resulting in reduced crime and truancy in the area
- Project Patch, Kelvin Grove Urban Village (Qld)—this National Police Award category winner fosters police and community cooperation to reduce the incidence of domestic violence and other crimes in this community of approximately 15,000 people.
The AIC's website (www.aic.gov.au) is the principal means of ensuring the wide dissemination of research results. As well as providing information about the AIC and its work, it acts as a gateway to important information on crime and criminal justice in Australia. Print copies of major AIC publications are available for purchase and electronic versions of all publications are available free of charge from the AIC website. Two AIC datasets can also be accessed via a data tool on the website—the Facts and Figures Online dataset and the Drugs and Offending data which is based on DUMA research data.
During April–June 2011, the AIC developed and published five In-Focus web pages on areas of current research interest to stakeholders, the media and the public—trafficking, cybercrime, Indigenous justice, juvenile justice and crime prevention.
The pages are designed not only to explain why these areas of research are important, and the reasons behind developing research, but also to flag current research programs being undertaken by the AIC with links to publications in these areas.
The AIC website has more than 70 subject pages, providing links to hundreds of other websites and resources.
Website use increased during 2010–11 as follows:
- Visits: 634,116 (up 34 percent)
- Page views: 2,033,487 (up 15 percent).
May 2011 was the busiest month during the year with 256,197 page views.
From July 2010 the percentage of traffic from referring sites remained steady at approximately 16.5 percent, while stakeholders and followers who engage more and more with the AIC's social networking sites increased traffic from 2009–10 to:
- Facebook: 3,352 (up 391.5 percent)
- Twitter: 362 (up 402.78 percent)
- Wikipedia: 1,520 (up 147.15 percent)
The top 10 search engine keywords remain similar to last year, with 'domestic violence statistics' and 'violence in sport' the top subject-based referrers with over 1,100 click-throughs each.
The publications section remains the most popular part of the AIC's website, followed by the criminal justice system, statistics and crime in the community sections.
Other key websites:
- Facts & figures online: 37 percent increase in visits
- Drugs & offending online: 17 percent increase in visits
- Criminology Research Council: 9 percent increase in visits.
Highlight 11: In-Focus website page
Highlight 12: Internet and social media
The AIC showed great foresight in developing its social media platforms two years ago. This has extended the communication and dissemination of crime and criminal justice research and ideas. Social media sites are widely used by criminology students and the broader public and provide a means of alerting subscribers to new AIC products.
Content is what makes this communications strategy successful. Information placed on the website has to be high quality and this is the responsibility of the research staff. While the main AIC website has been a repository of criminology research since the 1980s, a combination of RSS alerts, library alerts, Facebook posts, the use of Twitter and Criminology TV has lifted the AIC's profile even further.
Between 2009–10 and 2010–11 there has been a 16 percent increase in webpage views—from 1,848,248 to 2,140,734 with over a quarter of a million views in May 2011.
The AIC's Facebook page has more than 1000 national and international users and receives between 300 and 500 visits a week depending on the dissemination of research and reports. Some posts engender lively discussion between Facebook users.
Since its inception Criminology TV, hosted on YouTube, has had 11,608 views and 78 subscribers. There are 72 presentations on Criminology TV with Alan Borowski's 'Evaluating the Children's Koori Court of Victoria' receiving the highest number of views at 813.
The AIC twitter site has 435 followers and is the growth area for social media reach. ScamWatch and South Australia Police re-tweet AIC announcements to their lists. This site also tends to engender media enquiries.
The AIC website has been refreshed with new, linked introductory material on landing pages and five 'In-Focus' pages outlining key areas of interest—juvenile justice, crime prevention, human trafficking, Indigenous justice and cybercrime.
The AIC's JV Barry Library is a key part of the AIC's role as a national knowledge centre on crime and criminal justice. Library services are provided to stakeholders in the sector, including academics, practitioners and policymakers and the general public, in addition to the fundamental support provided to AIC researchers, who estimate that they are 10 to 20 percent more productive due to the specialist information-gathering support they can access through the library staff's anticipation of research requirements and the pro-active sourcing of new and authoritative material.
In January 2011, Janet Smith, who had been Manager of Information Services since June 2003, sadly passed away. Her professional leadership of the AIC's JV Barry library and her innovative development of the AIC's information services was greatly valued.
Services for stakeholders
The library maintains and promotes a significant specialist criminology information collection for the nation.
The library's services which inform the sector include:
- maintaining and developing the CINCH database of Australasian literature on crime and criminal justice
- providing links to new external information sources, through the AIC website
- alerting subscribers by RSS feed and email to developments in their personally identified subject areas of—alcohol and violence, crime prevention, cybercrime, drugs and crime, evaluation, financial crime, homicide, trafficking in persons, Indigenous justice, juvenile justice, recidivism and desistance, serious and organised crime, and victims of crime
- responding to enquiries from an array of law enforcement and justice personnel, researchers, other practitioners, students and the public on crime and criminal justice matters. Collation of the requests for support by user provides an analysis of sectoral use of the AIC's information advice and support services. The main sources of external enquiries were:
- law enforcement agencies 35%
- Department of Justice 25%
- Community/Public Health 20%
- Universities/students/research 15%
- providing hard copy materials, such as books and journals from its specialist collection, as well as through the national inter-library loan scheme, where the AIC continues to lend considerably more than is borrowed, indicating the value of its collection
- actively participating in collaborative library and information service networks.
CINCH is an invaluable and popular index with almost 60,000 abstracts of Australian literature in crime and criminal justice, including material about crime and criminal justice in Australasia—books, reports, journal articles, websites, conference proceedings and papers—with high-quality subject indexing and abstracts, developed over a period of 35 years.
The online criminology index is part of the suite of Australian databases provided by Informit and has a steady subscriber base, for which the AIC is paid royalties.
Crime and justice awareness alerts
Contemporary evidence-based information is disseminated to thousands of practitioners and policy makers across a range of sectors whose interests span the crime and justice sector, via the crime and justice information service alerts (as shown in Figure 4). This is a free service provided to subscribers with interest in the sector.
As a result of greater marketing of the service during the year, there was an increase of 30 percent in the number of individual subscribers across Australia and overseas. A new Victims of Crime alert was piloted at the Meeting the Needs of Victims of Crime Conference in May, immediately achieving a high level of interest. There are now over 1,800 individual subscribers, many of whom distribute the alerts further through their agencies, such as the Australian Institute of Police Management (distributes alerts to a further 400 stakeholders and staff), Victoria Police (1,369) and South Australian Police (1,900).
Networking across the sectors
In 2010–11 over 1,000 items were sought from the AIC's specialised library from agencies in the law enforcement, university, government, health and community sectors, via the interlibrary loans service, minimising duplication of resources and maximising 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. Contributions, including notice of new AIC publications and events, Indigenous affairs, Australian policy and international crime prevention are also made to a range of other e-discussion lists. Further, through the World Criminal Justice Libraries Network, news of AIC events and outputs reaches academic and policy organisations throughout the world.
The library also maintains a strong relationship with the emergency management sector through involvement with the Australasian Libraries in the Emergency Sector group. One of the benefits of this membership is consortium pricing for external databases. This enables the AIC to subscribe to a suite of Ebsco and Informit services at substantially reduced prices.
The other major network the library belongs to is the Australian Government Libraries Information Network. The group promotes the work of libraries and information services in government and offers practical assistance through training, reciprocal document delivery and consortium arrangements for purchases.
As well as providing avenues to promote AIC research, membership of these networks enables the library to seek assistance from colleagues around the world to meet the needs of external stakeholders and AIC researchers. The AIC also sends records to Libraries Australia for addition to the national database. This year records for 311 items were contributed. While this is down from a bumper number of 658 records in 2009–10, it still represents a 20 percent increase over the average of previous years.
Stakeholder and public enquiries
The library is the first point of call for telephone and email enquiries which range from the simple to requests for literature searching and some analysis, for example:
- Interpol Minsk seeking the Australian experience of compulsory in-prison drug treatment
- an update of the research on whistleblowing for the Victorian Ombudsman
- data on hate crime and racial discrimination reporting and cases for the Attorney-Generals' department
- information on Indigenous feuding for the West Australian Department of Justice.
Over 500 external enquiries were responded to during the year. A new reference request monitoring module was incorporated into the library management system during this year, which will provide for better reporting and management of different stakeholder requests.
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 have been compiled for stakeholder use. The AIC provides all library support services for the clearinghouse, including adding material to the database, hosting the website, and also advises on research papers and work programs for the collection. During the year the AIC participated in a review of the content and usability of the clearinghouse.
AIC's international 'reach'
The AIC's dissemination strategy and reputation has ensured the AIC's research and services are used around the globe, as is demonstrated in Figure 5, which shows countries who use any or all of the AIC information services.
The JV Barry Library responds to public and general enquiries, guiding people to the AIC website, publications and services such as the CINCH database wherever possible.
This map illustrates the international outreach of the AIC—where staff have presented, research requests have emanated from and locations of subscribers to alerts, twitter, and Facebook.
Deliverables and key performance indicators
This section summarises the AIC's performance during the year against the 2010–11 Portfolio Budget Statement's deliverables and key performance indicators (KPIs). It can sometimes be difficult to identify and quantify the impact of research work, particularly in the same year the research has been undertaken. Generally it takes time for outcomes to become apparent.
Research information is valuable not only for the particular study it is derived from but it can often be re-analysed to provide information on different issues or to identify trends in crime or criminal justice. Monitoring trends requires a major long-term investment both from those involved in collecting the data and those who analyse and interpret the data so it can be translated to contribute to both practice and policy development.
The AIC assesses client satisfaction at the end of each commissioned project and monitors public and media interest in its work. References in the media, literature and parliament to the AIC's work and publications are noted and a watching brief is kept on legislative reforms. It can, however, be difficult to discern if legislative change is the direct result of research; more often it is a combination of several influences including relevant research.
Undertaking impartial and policy-relevant research of the highest standard on crime and criminal justice
The relevance and quality of the AIC's research is demonstrated in several ways including:
- the use of data from monitoring programs
- references to AIC research in parliamentary proceedings and inquiries and authoritative professional journals
- the use of findings to improve policy and procedures
- external peer review.
During 2010–11, the latest reports from ongoing monitoring programs continued to be used by government at all levels to inform reporting on the crime and justice sector and by state and territory agencies when developing and implementing programs, allocating funds and identifying trends across jurisdictions. Australian and international agencies rely on the AIC's monitoring of people trafficking for evidence on the nature of this crime and its trends.
The annual Fraud against the Commonwealth online survey provides important information on trends in fraud across all agencies.
Various Productivity Commission and COAG reports, such as the Report on Government Services 2011, have recognised the AIC's monitoring of deaths in custody as the most reliable Indigenous-specific dataset on equity and effectiveness in the criminal justice system.
The Productivity Commission uses various AIC datasets in several of its key reports, for example, the Report on Government Services and the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage series. The Commonwealth Grants Commission uses various AIC datasets in its considerations about the allocation of funding to states and territories. COAG and The Attorney-General's Department have used data for funding purposes and in Indigenous programs to measure progress in implementation of the Closing the Gap in Indigenous Disadvantage national strategy.
This year, several parliamentary reports made considerable use of material from AIC submissions and evidence, notably the House of Representatives inquiries into Australian Parliament's Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety, 2011, High-Wire Act: Cyber-Safety and the Young and the landmark Doing Time Time for Doing—Indigenous youth in the criminal justice system report of the Australian Parliament's House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs 2011
Publications from the Trafficking in Persons continued to be used by authorities investigating the crime of trafficking.
The AIC completed a consultancy with the Victorian Parliamentary Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee examining alcohol related assaults in the Melbourne CBD.
The AIC undertook a consultancy with the Victorian Parliamentary Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee to conduct a longitudinal birth cohort study of Victorian youth, examining contact with the criminal justice system and identifying implications for interventions with high-volume young offenders.
As a further indicator of the quality of AIC research, all Trends and Issues papers and Research Public Policy series reports are double-blind peer reviewed. This is the highest level of peer review for academic publication. Finally, all monitoring reports are cleared by contributing agencies before publication.
Working cooperatively with the Attorney-General's Department and portfolio agencies in its role as the Australian Government's national research centre on crime and justice
During the year, particular mention was made of the AIC's preliminary investigation into the victimisation of international students. Other projects undertaken for the department included research and publication of Community night patrols in the Northern Territory: Toward an improved performance and reporting framework. The AIC also drafted a National Crime Prevention Framework for the Australia and New Zealand Crime Prevention Senior Officers' Group. The AIC continued to work with the department bedding down the new Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines, and the implementation of an AIC research coordination role across the portfolio.
The AIC and the Australian Crime Commission formed a partnership to exchange knowledge and skills as a first step in establishing a research partnership for applied research on serious organised crime in Australia
The AIC hosted the first international conference on serious and organised crime in Melbourne from 18–19 October 2010.
The study of Data from DUMA contributes to Australian Customs and Border Control activities to restrict imports of illicit drugs.
Indirectly, assistance given to Australian professional associations on the risks they face from money laundering and the financing of terrorism and to the Australian Taxation Office on alternative criminal justice approaches to dealing with revenue fraud and non-compliance will help to strengthen the federal law responses to these offences.
Actively disseminating research findings to policymakers, practitioners and the general public across Australia and internationally in a timely manner
Apart from advice and reports to commissioning agencies, the Institute actively disseminated the findings of its research (and other research where appropriate) throughout Australia and internationally as follows:
- 31 peer reviewed research reports and papers;
- 18 other publications;
- six Monitoring reports;
- Australian crime : Facts and figures;
- 13 specific purpose reports to agencies;
- Three conferences;
- 10 Occasional Seminars
- 10 roundtables;
- 25 media releases;
- 209 media requests for information
- 81 media interviews;
- submissions or evidence to eight inquiries;
- 77 papers presented at conferences
- 1,000+ interlibrary loans
- 1,800 crime awareness alert subscriptions
- 311 records added to Libraries Australia
- notification of publications, events and news to Australian Policy Online, the national criminology research listserv, Crimnet and the World Criminal Justice Libraries Network, among others.
Key performance indicators
|1.||100% of Trends & Issues papers and Research and Public Policy papers are peer-reviewed. This ensures the quality of the research outputs by the AIC||Met—All 31 T&Is and RPPs were peer reviewed|
|2.||Volume of research and its appropriateness as determined by the Board||Met|
|3.||Attorney-General’s Department and key stakeholders are satisfied with the AIC’s responsiveness to requests for assistance in priority areas||Met—For example, the AIC’s proposal to develop innovative research in response to concerns regarding the victimisation of international students|
|4.||Research activities under the national research priorities are reported in the annual report||Met|
|5.||Quantity of publications, roundtables and conferences as agreed by the Minister||Met—34% increase in peer-reviewed papers, 6 annual monitoring reports, 50+ other publications, 20 roundtables and other forums|
|6.||All publications are placed on the AIC’s website within 24 hours of release and 90 percent of routine alerting to subscribers and listservs complete within two days of publication release||Met|
|7.||Implementation of Gov 2.0 measures||Met—social media, data online and web enhancement|