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Australia to host the 15th International Symposium of World Victimology

Media release

15 June 2015

Leaders in the field of victim services and research will discuss the latest ways to improve the lives of victims at the 15th International Symposium of the World Society of Victimology (WSV), to be held from 5 – 9 July in Perth.

Organised by Victim Support Australia in partnership with angelhands Inc, the Australian Institute of Criminology and the WSV, and generously sponsored by the Western Australian Government, the Symposium is expected to attract more than 450 professionals such as victim’s advocates, researchers, police, child protection workers, lawyers and social workers.

The theme of the Symposium is Victimisation, justice and healing: challenging orthodoxies and a number of international and national speakers will be providing keynote addresses, including:

  • Professor Sandra Walklate, an internationally recognised expert in victimology particularly around criminal victimisation and the fear of crime, who is from the University of Liverpool’s Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology.
  • Professor Eric Stover, a pioneer in empirical research methods to address emerging issues in human rights and international humanitarian law, who will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a victim-centred approach at international criminal courts. He is Faculty Director of the Human Rights Center and Adjunct Professor of Law and Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Commissioner Helen Milroy from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, who will speak about supporting survivors of institutional child sexual abuse: learnings from the Royal Commission.

Mahashini Krishna, Chair of Victim Support Australia and NSW Commissioner of Victims Rights, Victims Services, said the symposium was a unique opportunity for international engagement with victimologists, victim services practitioners, the judiciary, policing, researchers, non-Government organisations and policy makers. 

“Anyone can become a victim of crime. Victims of crime can be traumatised by their experience and struggle with a variety of physical, psychological and financial problems caused by the crime perpetrated against them.

“This Symposium will give us an opportunity to share the most recent international and Australian research into victims’ needs and allow us to forge links to improve our support of victims,” said Ms Krishna.

Ann O’Neill, Founder and Patron of angelhands Inc said angelhands is excited and honoured to be part of the team that brought this exciting and prestigious event to Australia. 

“We at angelhands see this as a coup. The conference will showcase Australia’s great work in responding to crime victims diverse and complex needs, and will also bring the latest research and practices from across the world to the doorsteps of our dedicated and hardworking professionals.  It is a great opportunity for all Australians, as anyone of us may experience crime at any time,” said Dr O’Neill.

Secretary-General of the World Society of Victimology and Commissioner for Victims’ Rights (South Australia) Michael O’Connell said “almost every day, news of victims dominates the media. People draw on these stories to attempt to understand victimisation, its causes and its effects. People’s views differ on victims, on how to help them and so on.

“Victimologists are social scientists who analyse patterns and trends, interpret evidence and seek to build ways to prevent victimisation and effectively respond to victims.  This symposium will bring people together to stimulate dialogue, to explore issues and to confront dilemmas of dealing with victims, now and in the future,”

Topics to be discussed at the Symposium will include

  • New forms of victimisation in the 21st century
  • Working together – improving responses and systemic reform
  • Evidencing and/or facilitating recovery for victims of crime, their families and communities
  • Responding to (and researching) the needs of vulnerable or oppressed populations;
  • Current thinking and approaches toward the prevention and responses to violent victimisation
  • Victims of global and transnational crime.

Media contact: Joanna Woutersz, Victims Services NSW (02) 8688 7248