Criminology research grants
The purpose of the CRG program is to provide funding for criminological research that is relevant to public policy both at the national and state/territory level. The program also seeks to promote the value and use of such research through the publication and dissemination of the findings resulting from the funded work.
The CRG program is managed by the AIC, with funding contributed by the Commonwealth and state and territory governments. Taking into account the recommendations of the Criminology Research Advisory Council, the Director of the AIC approves a number of research grants each year, as well as other funded research projects.
The Criminology Research Advisory Council comprises representatives from Commonwealth Government and each state and territory. In 2013–14, the Advisory Council was chaired by Ms Cheryl Gwilliam, Director General of the Department of the Attorney General, Western Australia. The Criminology Research Advisory Council membership is listed in the Governance and Accountability section of this report. The AIC provides secretariat services for the Criminology Research Advisory Council.
Funding grants and projects
While the AIC allocates the majority of CRG program funding through an annual research grants round, the Criminology Research Advisory Council also considers and makes recommendations to the Director on funding of other research projects in priority research areas that have not been addressed or identified through the annual grants process.
Funding may be allocated for research projects that are undertaken solely by AIC research staff or include AIC staff working in collaboration (partnership) with other agencies, or in support of grant applications. The allocation of funding is undertaken by the Director only upon recommendations made by the Advisory Council.
Any potential conflicts are clearly identified and managed throughout the application and funding allocation processes, particularly where AIC staff may be involved. All CRG applications are assessed by an independent expert assessment panel.
The following criteria are adopted by the Criminology Research Advisory Council in considering research grant applications and other research project options:
- public policy relevance;
- the extent to which the proposed research will have practical application and contribute to the understanding, prevention or correction of criminal behaviour;
- the likelihood of the proposed research making a substantial and original contribution to criminological knowledge;
- the cost-effectiveness of the research;
- the soundness of the design and methodology, and the feasibility of the research;
- the competence of the applicant(s) or principal investigator(s) to undertake the proposed research;
- ethics committee approval, where appropriate;
- availability of data, where required; and
- the extent of funding or in-kind support obtained from relevant agencies.
In the 2013–14 financial year, the AIC contributed $214,660 (2012–13: $214,660) to the CRG program from Commonwealth appropriation for the purposes of making grants. The AIC also contributed $77,222 (2012–13: $68,552) to administer the grants program (see Tables 3 & 4).
State and territory governments collectively made a contribution of $214,250 (2012–13: $214,660) to the AIC for the purposes of making grants. State and territory contributions were calculated on a pro rata population basis as shown in Table 3.
A summary of income and expenditure for the CRG Program in 2013–14 is provided in Table 5.
Grant assessment panel
A panel comprising two independent, expert criminologists reviews applications for general grants each year. The panellists are selected by the Criminology Research Advisory Council from recommendations made by the President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology. The panel for 2013–14 consisted of Emeritus Professor David Brown and Professor Jane Goodman-Delahunty. Each panel member usually serves for two years.
Panel members are required to assess all applications for research funding submitted to the Advisory Council independently of each other and must complete an assessment sheet for each application. Their assessments are discussed at a meeting held with the AIC’s Academic Adviser to the Advisory Council, currently Mr Matthew Willis, who submits final recommendations to the Director and the Advisory Council for consideration at its November meeting.
The Advisory Council has in previous years funded a Research Fellow, who is located within the AIC, to undertake research on projects agreed between the Advisory Council and the Director. Ms Jacqueline Joudo-Larsen was appointed and commenced duty in July 2012 and ceased the position when she ceased employment with the AIC in December 2013. In the absence of a Research Fellow position being funded, the AIC also proposes research that may be funded, or undertakes research on behalf of, or with the support of the Advisory Council.
|New South Wales||68,746|
|Australian Capital Territory||3,551|
|Total income for CRG program||$|
|State and territory funding||214,250|
|Total income for purpose of making grants||428,910|
|Expenditure for CRG program|
|Other research projectsa||51,649|
|Direct administration expenditure||52,567|
a: ‘Other research projects’ covers projects undertaken by AIC research staff as recommended to the Director by the Criminology Research Advisory Council
|Total income for CRG program administration||$|
|Expenditure for CRG administration|
|Total administration expenditure||77,222|
New projects for 2013–14
CRG 02/13–14: Classifying incarcerated violent offenders and their risk of reoffending
Dr Adrian Cherney, Dr Robin Fitzgerald
Associate Professor Michele Haynes
The University of Queensland
Total grant: $31,752
This project aims to develop a cross-sectional typology of violent offenders and examines the trajectory of violent reoffending. This will be based on an analysis of offenders incarcerated for a violent offence as an adult in Queensland. Key objectives are to identify unique subgroups and patterns of change in violence, using latent class and latent class growth analysis, and assess whether socio-demographic and criminogenic factors explain offenders’ membership in observed groups. Outcomes will identify how violent offending unfolds over time and whether there are corresponding changes in the victim–offender relationship.
CRG 18/13–14: Who are the perpetrators of child maltreatment?
Professor Anna Stewart, Dr Carleen Thompson, Dr Troy Allard, April Chrzanowski
Total grant: $43,982
Interventions aimed at preventing child maltreatment are generally targeted at the perpetrators of maltreatment and/or the family of the maltreated child. Despite this, there is limited research both nationally and internationally examining who child maltreatment perpetrators are. The research proposed in this study aims to answer six research questions:
- What is the profile of a population of Queensland child maltreatment perpetrators?
- Are there differences in the maltreatment perpetrated by male and female child maltreatment perpetrators?
- How many child maltreatment perpetrators are recidivists?
- What is the offending history of child maltreatment perpetrators?
- How many child maltreatment perpetrators were maltreated as children?
- Are there differences between perpetrators who were maltreated as a child and perpetrators who have no history of maltreatment?
- The answers to these questions will inform intervention and prevention strategies targeted at child maltreatment perpetrators.
CRG 23/13–14: Preventing victimisation of whistleblowers
Dr Inez Dussuyer, Dr Kumi Heenetigal, Professor Anona Armstrong, Dr Russell G Smith
Total funding: $45,000 in grant funding comprising $28,425 to Victoria University and $16,575 allocated to the AIC.
This research on the victimisation of whistleblowers aims to:
- identify the nature and extent of retaliation experiences of whistleblowers who have reported (or tried to report) wrongdoing in their workplace;
- to determine what factors are associated with retaliation; and
- what elements are protective against retaliation when blowing the whistle, through exploring the experiences of a sample of whistleblowers who have either reported wrongdoing or tried to do so in their workplace and via a sample of organisations who deal with whistleblowers.
CRG 24/13–14: Realist synthesis of CCTV research to address alcohol-related assault in the night-time economy
Mr Edward Shane Boris Pointing
James Cook University
Total grant: $16,431
This project will conduct a Realist Synthesis of 44 published studies and evaluations analysing the effectiveness of open-space urban CCTV systems. It will examine and isolate the reported crime reduction outcomes, contexts in which those outcomes were found and the mechanisms that were attributed to any reduction. These will then be compared with original evaluation research conducted by the researchers through a case study approach. The aim is to extract, synthesise and hypothesise theoretical and operational underpinnings for open-space CCTV effectiveness and to report on these in a way that translates into policy and practice. The study will be conducted under the RAMESES publication protocols for Realist Syntheses.
CRG 26/13–14: Improving transitional experiences for ex-prisoners with intellectual disability
Dr Kate Van Dooren, Dr Fernanda Claudio, Mr Jesse Young, Professor Nick Lennox
The University of Queensland
Total grant: $31,003
This study will qualitatively explore the post-release needs of adults with intellectual disability leaving prisons across Queensland and Western Australia. The aim is to:
- understand transition experiences from the perspective of professionals in the criminal justice, health and disability sectors;
- understand transition experiences from the perspective of individuals with intellectual disability, particularly in relation to factors influences reoffending outcomes (housing, employment, social support and substance use); and
- compare and contrast health professional and individual experiences to determine where system gaps lie and which specific steps can be taken to address unmet need.
CRG 29/13–14: Improving responses to online fraud victims: An examination of reporting and support
Dr Cassandra Cross, Dr Kelly Richards, Dr Russell G Smith
Queensland University of Technology
Total funding: $57,619 comprising $36,599 in grant funding to QUT and $21,020 allocated to the AIC.
Currently, there is no research on what motivates victims of online fraud to report their victimisation to authorities. This project addresses this gap through face-to-face interviews with victims of online fraud across Australia who have reported financial losses of $10,000.00 or more, in order to ascertain the motivation for their decision to report, as well as what support they both needed and obtained. The results of this research will enable strategies to be developed to increase the reporting of online fraud, as well as understanding the support services that victims require.
CRG 30/13–14: A comparison of individual, situational and ecological factors associated with adolescence-onset and adult-onset sexual offences against children
Dr Nadine McKillop, Professor Stephen Smallbone, Ms Susan Rayment-McHugh
Total grant: $48,718
The project examines the specific circumstances in which child sexual abuse first occurs in adolescence and adulthood. It aims to:
- identify common and unique developmental, situational and ecological risk factors associated with adolescent-onset and adult-onset sexual abuse offending; and
- determine what responses are therefore required to effectively reduce and prevent its occurrence during these two life stages.
An additional 100–150 adult offenders will be surveyed to increase the sample size and breadth of information contained within current databases, enabling robust comparisons to be made. Findings will guide policy, including the design and implementation of onset-specific and general prevention initiatives.
CRG 32/13–14: The relationship between mental illness and offending among Australian young offenders
Professor James Ogloff, Dr Stefan Luebbers, Mr Stephane Shepherd
Swinburne University of Technology
Total grant: $61,178
The research aims to provide an understanding of the prevalence of mental illness and the relationship between mental illness and offending among Youth Justice clients in custody. Using a data linkage design, this study will obtain mental health contact information, criminal histories and post-release outcomes. The project will explore the prevalence of mental illness among Youth Justice clients across gender and ethnicity, and their mental health admissions and criminal histories pre and post-release from custody. This will determine whether Youth Justice clients with a history of mental illness are at an increased risk of offending and whether contact with mental health services following discharge from Youth Justice lowers rates of reoffending.
CRG 43/13–14: Investigating serious violent crime: What works, what doesn’t and for what crime types?
Dr Angela Higginson, Professor Lorraine Mazerolle
The University of Queensland, St Lucia
Total grant: $49,626
Investigating serious violent crime is core police business. The proposed project will examine the relative effectiveness of different investigative techniques police use to investigate serious violent crime. Using systematic review techniques, we will collect and synthesise existing policing research from across the world to assess the relative effectiveness of different types of serious crime investigative techniques on a range of outcomes. We will answer the following research questions:
- How effective are serious violent crime investigative techniques for identifying offenders, eliciting confessions, making arrests, clearing cases or securing convictions?
- Does the effectiveness vary across types of technique or types of crime?
CRG 48/13–14: Law enforcement role in controlling misuse of pharmaceuticals: Assessing the impact of ProjectSTOP on crime
Mr Jason Ferris, Dr Madonna Devaney, Professor Lorraine Mazerolle
The University of Queensland
Total grant: $49,952
ProjectSTOP is a real time recording system designed to reduce the diversion of pseudoephedrine-based products used in the production of methamphetamine. We are the only researchers in Australia to be given access to the ProjectSTOP transaction data by GuildLink. Our study aims to assess whether the real time recording system, ProjectSTOP, has reduced the diversion of pseudoephedrine-based products into illicit drug manufacture in Queensland. To quantify the impact of ProjectSTOP, we will analyse pseudoephedrine sales data and data from Queensland Police (offences related to the possession, production, or supply of methamphetamine as well as clandestine laboratory detections).
CRG 51/13–14: Negotiating guilty pleas: An empirical analysis
Dr Asher Flynn, Emeritus Professor Arie Freiberg
Total grant: $69,794
This project addresses a significant gap in an under-researched area of criminal justice policy by documenting current practices and evaluating the need for legal reform of the negotiated resolution process in Victoria. Using a mixed qualitative–quantitative approach, we will analyse 24 months (2010–12) of Victoria Legal Aid indictable case files, conduct 50 interviews (legal counsel, judicial officers) in five locations (city/rural/regional—Melbourne, Ballarat, Shepparton, Morwell, Geelong) and evaluate national/international best practice. This project provides the first dataset of negotiated resolutions in any Australian state/territory and will produce tangible outcomes that inform current debates, law reform and legal practice nationwide.
Continuing projects for 2013–14
CRG 13/12–13: A cybercrime observatory for Australia: A pilot database of criminal activity on the internet
Professor Roderic Broadhurst, Dr Mamoun Alazab
The Australian National University
Total grant: $75,022
The research will assess the feasibility of creating a cybercrime observatory based on data shared by the Australian Communications and Media Authority and CERT Australia, and other select non-profit organisations. We will be the first to examine and analyse the large datasets provided by these frontline agencies. The aim is to measure the prevalence, severity and mode of online criminal activity affecting Australian cyberspace. The research will also help identify attack and victim patterns, and provide the basis for further development of crime prevention strategies for cyberspace. Innovative statistical and data-mining methods will be used to explore the technical and textual data acquired.
CRG 23/12–13: The effect of post-release supervision on risk of reoffending
Dr Don Weatherburn, Dr Suzanne Poynton, Mr Simon Corben, Mr Simon Eyland
NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research
Total grant: $46,200
The aim of the research is to examine the cost effectiveness of parole supervision in reducing risk of reoffending, frequency of reoffending, seriousness of reoffending, time to reoffend and risk of re-imprisonment. This will be achieved by comparing matched samples of prisoners released without a supervision requirement (fixed-term sentences) with prisoners released under supervision. If supervision reduces the risk of further offending, it is expected that the supervised group will exhibit better outcomes post release than the non-supervised group.
CRG 31/12–13: Prosecuting workplace violence: The utility and policy implications of criminalisation
Dr Emily Schindeler, A/Professor Janet Ransley
Total grant: $39,956
This project draws on white collar crime and regulatory approaches to establish:
- the prevalence, types and outcomes of workplace violence prosecutions in Australia; and
- the utility and limits of criminalisation as a response to this problem.
The project will construct a database of all prosecutions in Australia since 2004 involving injury from interpersonal or systemic workplace bullying. A typology will differentiate cases on key themes including the nature of the legal response and whether offenders were individuals or corporations. Conclusions will be drawn on barriers to prosecution, the utility of criminalisation and the appropriate nexus between criminal and workplace safety law.
CRG 33/12–13: Welfare and recidivism outcomes of in-prison education and training
Dr Margaret Giles
Edith Cowan University
Total grant: $70,000
The proposed study will evaluate, using a unique linked longitudinal database, the contribution of in-prison study to ex-prisoner welfare dependence and recidivism. It will test different measures of recidivism, welfare dependence and in-prison study. Then using multivariate regression techniques, the relative impacts of factors, including in-prison study, on the recidivism and welfare dependence of ex-prisoners will be estimated. The study will provide best practice guidelines for correctional education authorities and welfare agencies regarding the specific in-prison study classes that yield the best outcomes in terms of reduced recidivism and welfare dependence.
CRG 58/12–13: Exploring the relationship between the use of online child exploitation materials, the use of internet-enabled technologies to procure children and contact sexual offending against children
A/Professor Tony Krone, Dr Russell Smith, Dr Adam Tomison, Ms Alice Hutchings, Ms Sarah Macgregor
University of Canberra and Australian Institute of Criminology
Total funding: $93,722 comprising $39,177 grant funding to University of Canberra and $54,545 allocated to the AIC.
This project aims to explore the relationship between use of online child exploitation material, use of internet-enabled technologies to procure children and actual sexual assault. By analysing a large database of offender data with offender debriefing interviews, we aim to develop a novel typology of offenders and provide an understanding of the forensic indicators of offending typologies, the role of networking in the development of offending, the identification of possible pathways towards escalating seriousness of image-based offending and identification of relationships between image-based offending, grooming and the physical sexual abuse of children, thus informing future police procedure and policy.
CRG 31/11–12: Reporting victimisation to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) police liaison services: A mixed methods study across two Australian states
Dr Angela Dwyer, Dr Matthew Ball, Dr Christine Bond, Dr Murray Lee, Associate Professor Thomas Crofts
Queensland University of Technology
Total grant: $16,332.75
Relations between vulnerable lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) communities and police impact how, or even if, LGBTI victims report to police liaison services. This study will be the first to ask police and LGBTI communities about LGBTI police liaison services in Queensland and New South Wales. This is vital to better understand the gap between increasing awareness of LGBTI police liaison services and low rates of access of these services, and to create stronger engagement between police and LGBTI victims. To do this, the study develops and deploys a survey with LGBTI communities aged 15–65 years and qualitative interviews with LGBTI police liaison services.
CRG 09/11–12: Understanding the extent nature and causes of adult-onset offending: Implications for the effective and efficient use of criminal justice and crime reduction resources
Dr Carleen Thompson, Prof Anna Stewart, Dr Troy Allard, Ms April Chrzanowski
Total grant: $15,141.50
This project will investigate the nature, causes and costs of adult-onset offending and assess the potential for targeting crime prevention interventions for adult-onset offenders. This will be examined using a longitudinal birth cohort of individuals born in 1983–84 who had contact with the Queensland criminal justice system to age 27 (n=54,598). It is anticipated that offending profiles and explanatory factors will differ between more and less serious adult-onset offenders, and between earlier onset and adult-onset offenders. Findings will support targeting diversionary criminal justice programs to less serious adult onset offenders and reserving costly interventions for those at risk of developing serious offending patterns.
CRG 30/11–12: Preventing the onset of youth offending: The impact of the pathways to prevention project on developmental pathways through the primary years
Prof Ross Homel AO, Dr Kate Freiberg, Dr Sara Branch
Total grant: $60,092
This project will conduct multivariate statistical analyses of a subset of 899 children from the Pathways to Prevention longitudinal child database to evaluate the impact of Pathways interventions on antisocial behaviour, adjustment to school and seven dimensions of positive development in late Grade 7/early Grade 8, straddling the transition to high school; a critical period for the onset of youth crime involvement.
The Pathways database is unique in combining detailed data across the primary years on patterns and intensity of child or parent involvement in Pathways interventions, with data on educational achievement (including NAPLAN), behaviour, social–emotional wellbeing and family context.
CRG 53/11–12: Sexting and young people: Perceptions, practices, policy and law
Dr Murray Lee, A/Prof Thomas Crofts, Dr Alyce McGovern, Dr Michael Salter, Dr Sanja Milivojevic
Sydney Institute of Criminology, University of Sydney
Total grant: $55,812
This project is an interdisciplinary and multi-methods investigation of ‘sexting’ by young people. Three research aims link to specific methods—a quantitative online survey and qualitative interviews will be used to understand the perceptions and practices of young people in regard to ‘sexting’. A media and policy analysis will evaluate broader community perceptions about young people and ‘sexting’. A legal analysis will review the legal frameworks in relation to such behaviours. The project will facilitate an understanding of how young people perceive and practise ‘sexting’ and assess the appropriateness of existing law and policy in this area.
CRG 20/10–11: Determining the impact of opioid substitution therapy upon mortality and recidivism among prisoners: A 22 year data linkage study
Prof Louisa Degenhardt, Dr Lucy Burns, Dr Don Weatherburn, A/Prof Tony Butler, Dr Amy Gibson, Dr Jo Kimber, Prof Richard Mattick, A/Prof Christopher Doran, Dr Devon Indig, Dr Tim Slade, Deborah Zador
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre University of New South Wales
Total grant: $100,000
This study will quantify the impact of opioid substitution therapy (OST; methadone or buprenorphine) on two important outcomes for opioid-dependent prisoners—mortality, particularly in the post-release period and subsequent criminal activity. Using linked data, the study will have almost 600,000 person-years of follow-up over 22 years, allowing fine-grained analyses of disadvantaged subpopulations. This evidence cannot be obtained with accuracy from small studies or randomised controlled trials. This study will specifically examine:
- the impact of OST provision in prison and following release on prisoner mortality;
- the extent to which OST reduces incidence and time of re-offence among opioid dependent persons, stratified by crime type;
- potential differences in the impacts of buprenorphine and methadone upon the extent and timing of re-incarceration;
- differences in duration of OST and its impact on crime and mortality among vulnerable subgroups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and women;
- estimated years of life lost to prison in the cohort and potential impact of OST in reducing years of life lost; and
- cost-benefits of OST in reducing crime and imprisonment among this group.
Study results will have clear implications for the health and welfare of this population, and will provide evidence of potential health and crime reduction gains, and the cost savings that might result.
CRG 47/10–11: Homicide and the night-time economy
Prof Stephen Tomsen, Dr Jason Payne
University of Western Sydney
Total funding of $52,798 comprising $27,456 to University of Western Sydney and $25,342 allocated to the AIC.
Australian national homicide monitoring is comprehensive. Nevertheless, key aspects of this crime are not fully understood, including the uneven long-term decline between offences occurring within distinct locations and social relations between parties. This study comprises a unique analysis of homicide, producing new quantitative and qualitative information about the full prevalence, trends and locations of killing related to aspects of the expanding night-time economy. It will advance knowledge of the range of related public and private/domestic offending to inform official strategies with more specific knowledge about levels of higher risk and the possibilities of prevention in key social settings and communities.
CRG 50/10–11: Classifying domestic violence perpetrators: Identifying opportunities for Intervention and prevention
Dr Jason Payne, Mr Josh Sweeney, Ms Sarah MacGregor.
Australian Institute of Criminology
The Advisory Council recommended allocation of funding of $106,000 to the AIC for this project.
This project seeks to identify a typology of domestic violence perpetration by triangulating officially recorded incidents of domestic violence from the Safe at Home program with descriptions of incidents and consultations with stakeholders.
The two primary concerns of the research are to determine whether groups of domestic violence offenders are identifiable in Australia and whether such typologies are relevant for practitioners in the field. This is because typological undertakings in the area of domestic violence have been limited in Australia and it cannot be assumed that international typologies will relate to the Australian experience for a range of factors such as differences in the structures of criminal justice systems, related data practices and evolving ideas about what constitutes domestic violence. Similarly, it is unclear how typologies translate into practice or policy. For example, is it practical for a practitioner to apply a typology in their work and how can researchers assist in developing typologies that are more beneficial for the context of service delivery and policy?
Reports of completed research
CRG 02/11–12: Bonds, suspended sentences and reoffending: Does the length of the order matter?
Dr Don Weatherburn, Dr Suzane Poynton
NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research
Total grant: $25,238
The aim of this study was to further understand whether, in what circumstances and by how much the duration of a bond or suspended sentence reduces the risk of reoffending. The research addressed whether the length of a suspended sentence or bond influenced the risk of reoffending and whether long suspended sentences or long bonds were more effective than prison in reducing reoffending? It further explored whether long bonds were more effective than long suspended sentences in reducing reoffending.
CRG 26/08–09: Developing successful diversionary schemes for youth from remote Aboriginal communities
Dr Kate Senior, Dr Richard Chenhall, Mr William Ivory and Dr Tricia Nagel
Menzies School of Health Research
Total grant: $186,208
This study aimed to investigate youth gangs in a remote NT Indigenous community. Diversionary schemes for Indigenous youth need to be based on an evidence base for gang membership’s negative effects (substance misuse, crime and violence) and positive effects (high self-esteem, low rates of self-harm and suicide). This three year longitudinal project, utilising mixed method methodologies, gained an in-depth understanding of youth gang membership and more broadly the aspirations and life goals of the youth involved. In close association with an Indigenous run diversion project, the most appropriate diversionary activities for Indigenous youth were investigated.
CRG 48/10–11: Community variations in hoax calls and suspicious fires: Geographic, temporal and socio-economic dimensions and trajectories
Dr Jonathan James Corcoran, Dr Michael Townsley, Dr Rebecca Leigh Wickes, Dr Tara Renae McGee
The University of Queensland
Total grant: $45,015
Malicious hoax calls for service and suspicious fires are a significant burden to the community, financially and in the potential danger they present, yet little is known about the dynamic associated with their prevalence. This research comprehensively examined these offences using unit-level location data supplied by the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service.
The aim of this research was to identify the temporal and spatial patterning of malicious hoax calls for service and suspicious fires. Analysis used advanced methods of geographic visualisation and spatially based temporal modelling. Understanding the patterning of these offences provided the foundation for future crime prevention activities.
CRG 44/10–11: Reoffence risk in intrafamilial child sex offenders
Professor Jane Goodman-Delahunty, Professor Stephen C Wong
Charles Sturt University
Total grant: $26,233
The Violence Risk Scale—Sexual Offender version includes dynamic and static factors. It has the potential to contribute significantly to recidivism risk assessment by predicting sexual violence, identifying treatment targets and evaluating treatment change. This study tested the validity and reliability of the Violence Risk Scale—Sexual Offender, previously validated on incarcerated Canadian extrafamilial sex offenders, in an Australian sample of 214 intrafamilial sex offenders in a community-based setting.
Findings have implications for practice (use of the instrument for this population), theory (increased knowledge about sex offender typologies) and policy (viability of legislated pre-trial diversion program for biological/non-biological parents who commit child sex offences).
CRG 35/11–12: Using evidence to evaluate Australian drug trafficking thresholds: Proportionate, equitable and just?
Dr Caitlin Hughes, A/Prof Alison Ritter, Mr Nicholas Cowdery AM QC
University of New South Wales
Total grant: $49,423
One of the key measures in Australia for distinguishing drug users from traffickers and for determining the seriousness of drug trafficking offences is the quantity of drug involved. New research by two of the Principal Investigators demonstrates that, assessed against evidence of Australian drug markets, current Australian Capital Territory drug offence thresholds pose risks of unjustifiable or inequitable convictions. In this study, drug trafficking thresholds throughout Australian states and territories were evaluated, taking into account interstate differences in legal thresholds and drug markets. This identified whether consistent with ACT findings, legislative problems beset all Australian drug trafficking thresholds.
CRG 29/11–12: Crime in high rise buildings: Planning for vertical community safety
Dr Michael Townsley, Dr Sacha Reid, Dr Danielle Reynald, Dr John Rynne
Total grant: $54,900.34
The aim of this research was to inform housing and planning policy development by exploring the variation in types and volumes of crime in a range of existing high-density communities. The methodological approach was multi-method, comprising quantitative analysis, in-depth interviews, a systematic observational instrument and resident surveys. By analysing actual rates and types of crime, building management styles and perceptions of fear of crime, the research revealed how policing and high-rise building management styles coalesced to create safer vertical communities.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund
Management and outcomes
NDLERF is funded by the Commonwealth Government Department of Health as part of its commitment to the National Drug Strategy. In June 2010, the AIC was awarded a four year contract by Department of Health to manage and administer the NDLERF grants program. In June 2014, the AIC signed an extension to the funding arrangement for until 30 June 2015.
NDLERF contributes to the prevention and reduction of the harmful effects of licit and illicit drug use in Australian society by:
- enabling research that leads to high-quality, evidence-based drug law enforcement practice;
- facilitating experimentation and innovation; and
- enhancing strategic alliances and linkages between law enforcement personnel, human services providers and research agencies.
The NDLERF Advisory Board of Management sets the strategic priorities for funding and allocating funds for research projects that offers a practical contribution to operational or policy-level drug law enforcement activities in Australia. The Advisory Board also reviews and approves the progress and finalisation of funded research.
In 2013–14, a total of four new research grants were awarded at a total value of $0.542m. The program continued to fund a further 12 projects from previous years and two contracts, with total expenditure of $0.898m.
The functions performed for this program by the AIC include:
- administration and delegation for the allocation of grants money;
- coordination of open funding application rounds;
- monitoring of the progress of individual research projects through the establishment of project reference groups;
- editorial support and publication of reports detailing outcomes of NDLERF-funded research;
- administration and support of the NDLERF Advisory Board through the services of a Research Officer and an NDLERF Scientific Advisor; and
- facilitation and coordination of Advisory Board activities and communication.
|The prevention of trauma reactions in police officers—Decreasing reliance on drugs and alcohol. Associate Professor Grant James Devilly and Dr Tracey Varker. Monograph series 47.|
|Alcohol, assault and licensed premises in inner-city areas. Alan R Clough, Charmaine S Hayes-Jonkers and Edward S Pointing. Monograph series 45.|
|Policing alcohol and illicit substance misuse among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in metropolitan environments. Tracy Cussen, Jason Payne and David Marks. Monograph series 48.|
|Targeting the profits of illicit drug trafficking through Proceeds of Crime action. Michael McFadden, Martin O’Flaherty, Paul Boreham and Michele Haynes. Monograph series 52.|
|Innovative solutions for enhanced illicit drugs profiling using comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography and mass spectrometry technologies. Philip Marriot and Blagoj Mitrevski. Monograph series 50.|
|Mobile device forensics: A snapshot. Christopher Tassone, Ben Martini, Kim-Kwang Raymond Choo and Jill Slay. Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice no. 460.|
Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards 2013
The AIC manages the annual ACVPA every year, with Director, Dr Adam Tomison, chairing the Selection Board.
On 19 November 2013, nine ground-breaking projects that substantially reduced local crime rates were honoured at an award ceremony at Parliament House, Canberra.
The Hon Michael Keenan MP, Minister for Justice, announced the winners and presented two awards totalling $30,000 to outstanding community-based projects that prevent or reduce crime. Four projects were awarded non-financial awards from the community sector and three non-financial awards were provided to police-led crime prevention programs.
The award-winning projects focused on addressing drug and alcohol-related crimes, environmental design, offender management and prisoner reintegration, crime in Indigenous communities and family violence.
The two National community-led projects provided with a certificate and a financial award of $15,000 each came from Victoria and Tasmania.
Rumbalara Football and Netball Club‘s ‘Street Safe’, Victoria
The program operates as a community-based intervention, which is culturally sensitive and positively manages the behaviours of disaffected Indigenous youth in Shepparton and surrounds. It also facilitates prosocial behaviours by involving youth in sport (with police involvement), with Indigenous community and peers acting as positive role models to keep the whole of the community safe. The result is the lowest offending rate for Indigenous youth in Victoria.
The partnership delivers elements of both situational and social crime prevention by using sport and a whole-of-community approach to preventing crime, rather than individual measures. This works due to active participation by the Shepparton Police as an integral part of the service delivery model. The police actively implement cultural-sensitivity training for all their staff and they honour a statement of cooperation with agreed outcomes, which has been operational since 2005 and formalised in 2008.
Supporting Young People on Bail, Southern Tasmania
Supporting Young People on Bail is a voluntary, strengths-based, solutions-focused, diversionary youth justice program. It aims to reduce youth crime and the number of young people held on remand and detention in Tasmania, by supporting young people aged 12–17 years in the southern region to reengage with educational, vocational/employment and recreational opportunities. Youth workers work one on one with young people, designing individual Bail Support Plans that are presented to the Magistrate. Practical, therapeutic, mentoring support is provided to the young person during their bail period to help them meet the goals in their plan. The young person’s willingness to work towards their goals is reflected in their sentencing. Sixty-one percent of the 62 young people who we have worked with over the past two years have not reoffended; this figure could be as high as 80 percent because not all have been sentenced. The project is primarily funded by Save the Children.
Four National community-led (government-funded) winning projects from New South Wales, Northern Territory, Western Australia and Australian Capital Territory were each awarded a certificate:
Connections Program, New South Wales
The Connections Program is funded through the NSW Ministry of Health and is operational statewide across New South Wales, assisting prisoners with drug dependence problems in preparation for release from custody and reintegration into the community. This is achieved through assertive linkage with relevant health and welfare services, playing a strong advocacy role and ensuring participants have access to support services. To date, Connections has worked with 4,681 participants in the community. The program has a strong commitment to social inclusion principles. Connections has developed important relationships with a range of services, government departments and stakeholders to facilitate the transition process to the community. Its goals are to reduce mortality and morbidity rates, and reduce recidivism of participants released from Adult Correctional Centres in New South Wales. The impact of this approach to transitional work has resulted in better general and mental health, social functioning and re-incarceration rates with associated positive outcomes for families, carers, the community and government agencies.
Alice Springs Domestic and Family Violence Outreach Service, Northern Territory
This project provides targeted outreach support to women living in Alice Springs and the surrounding town camps who are experiencing domestic and family violence. The program also runs support and education groups for women in town camps. The long-term goal is to provide an early-intervention model to support women to live safely in their community without fear of violence. A majority of the women supported by this project are Aboriginal. Funding is from the Alice Springs Transformation Plan, an initiative between the Commonwealth and Northern Territory Governments. A consultant recently evaluated the project. Outcomes included:
- 100 percent of the women recently interviewed reported that their safety improved with the support of the program.
- Women’s return rates to emergency accommodation decreased significantly, with only 42 percent of the women interviewed using the emergency accommodation.
- 16 percent said that their safety improved without ever using the emergency accommodation.
Constable Care Child Safety Foundations Theatre-In-Education Harm Prevention and Citizenship Program, Western Australia
The program aims to effectively communicate violence, crime prevention and citizenship messages to children aged three to 13 years of age through puppet theatre and interactive drama.
In July 2011 and in conjunction with local government partners, a number of safety priorities were identified. These were community crime prevention, violence and harm prevention, graffiti prevention, cyberbullying and internet safety, and online protective behaviours.
Across the school year, approximately 160,000 children under the age of 14 years will see a Constable Care show. Constable Care’s engaging ‘theatre-in-education’ model has been shown to be an effective tool for driving attitude and knowledge change in children and young people.
The High Density Housing Safety and Security Project, Australian Capital Territory
The project involves four inter-linked elements—crime prevention and reduction, community safety and security, community development and access to services.
All four elements involve working through Reclink Australia’s on-the-ground Project Manager with a range of government and community agencies to address safety and security issues with the residents of the Ainslie Avenue high-density housing sites.
Reclink Australia works with broad range of high and complex-needs residents including:
- residents who have previously been, are currently or are at risk of becoming involved in the criminal justice system;
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
- children and youth; and
- socially disengaged or isolated people.
Reclink Australia offers a range of structured and informal programs and activities, and promotes ongoing participation opportunities that prevent or reduce opportunities for crime. It also promotes community safety and security through the development of prosocial and law-abiding community engagement and facilitates access to services that are related to justice, health, mental health, education and employment.
This year, the three National Police award-winning projects all came from Queensland:
SupportLink E-referral Management System in Queensland—The Queensland Police Service (QPS) implemented SupportLink statewide as its main community policing program for all ‘persons at risk’ or ‘vulnerable persons’ in the community.
Officers across the state are now aware that a criminal justice approach is not the only option available to police; if officers are not able to provide the appropriate social assistance to the individual, then they can offer a referral to a welfare or support agency to assist in addressing the client’s needs.
SupportLink IT provides QPS with the electronic referral service platform. A key aspect of the QPS-based SupportLink is the funding it has from Xstrata Coal for $5.008m to implement the referral system.
SupportLink provides a secure web-based e-referral system to connect clients with local, state and national support service agencies. Police access to the system is facilitated through the QPS computer network via a portal to the e-referral system.
Over 250 welfare agencies have signed MOUs to be part of the SupportLink network. Police are able to refer on a wide range of issues including domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, crime prevention, elder abuse and neglect, victim support and counselling, road and other trauma support, and suicide prevention and support following suicide.
The program’s key objectives of reducing offending behaviour, reducing police calls for service, improving early intervention and providing diversion outcomes have all been achieved.
The Multicultures Project, Queensland
The Multicultures Project is a suite of crime prevention programs and initiatives that effectively respond to the needs of a school-wide community. Targeting both victims and potential victims of crime, the project provides opportunities for schools to engage in activities promoting positive social behaviours and improving cross-cultural relationships.
The project has worked directly with almost 600 students, along with dozens of school’s leadership and teaching staff across several schools, as well as numerous community organisations.
The long-term goal of the project is to foster an improved culture within participating schools of cross-cultural collaboration and harmonious relationships, with a measurable reduction in local crime including violent crime.
Since 2012, the project has been funded under the AGD via Crime Prevention Funding, with in-kind contributions from project partners.
Banbaji Student Services, Queensland
On Mornington Island, minor conflicts between students can escalate into major community violence and unrest. The Banbaji Student Service manages the conflicts between students in a timely and culturally appropriate manner and further, provides targeted activities and education to students, which assists in preventing violence in the community. The key strategies of the Banbaji Student Service are:
- Mediation service to assist disputing students and their families.
- ‘We’re all Family’ community-wide anti-violence promotion.
- Resilience building activities for students.
- Social media monitoring.
- Traditional role education for Indigenous youth.
Operating in the Mornington Island community since January 2012, the program has been formally accredited with:
- improving student attendance by creating a safe and supportive school environment; and
- reducing community violence arising from student disputes.
The program is funded through the Department of Justice & Attorney General.
Highlight 5: 2013 ACVPA ceremony
Clockwise from top left: The Hon Michael Keenan MP with Acting Inspector Mark Edwards, Queensland Police Service. The Hon Michael Keenan MP. Mr Paul Briggs, Rumbalara Football and Netball Club. The ACVPA winners 2013.