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Social media, corruption discussed at high level AIC-United Nations workshop

Social networks and new media, public participation to enhance access to justice and public-private partnerships were all scrutinised through the prism of crime prevention at a UN workshop developed by the AIC. The event was part of the formal program for the 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Doha, Qatar between 12 and 19 April 2015.

Also discussed were measures to ensure that civil society organisations have the appropriate knowledge to build confidence, ensure transparency and prevent corruption.

Workshop 4 was held over three Congress sessions from 16-17 April and looked at issues to do with the public contribution to crime prevention and raising awareness of criminal justice: experiences and lessons. A copy of the program for the workshop can be found here Workshop 4 program.

The UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice is held every five years and the 13th Congress addressed the broad theme of preventing crime to build sustainable development. The major outcomes for the Congress are summarised in the Doha Declaration on integrating crime prevention and criminal justice into the wider UN agenda and to address social and economic challenges and to promote the rule of law at the national and international levels, and public participation.

Workshop 4 was prepared specifically to demonstrate through practical examples that a program of active public participation was not only possible but also desirable for achieving effective and sustainable crime prevention and criminal justice processes in a variety of very diverse communities and settings.

Social media and networks, public participation and private sector engagement in crime prevention were all examined by a variety of presentations by international experts and experienced practitioners from a range of mostly civil society organisations or academic institutions.

Although there were also a small number of government officials they spoke as international experts rather than as official representatives. The workshop panellists were from across the world including Asia, Africa, Europe, and North and South America. Some of the organisations speakers represented included the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of the Armed Forces, the Centre for Law Enforcement and Public Health, Sydney Institute of Criminology, Avocats San Frontières, Soroptimists International, the Quakers, the Latin American Committee for Crime Prevention, the Open Society Justice Initiative, the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum, the International Centre for the Prevention of Crime, the International Anti-Corruption Academy, Caixa Segurado, and the African Commission in Human and People’s Rights. Expert government panellists came from the Japanese Ministry of Justice, the Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Geografia (Mexico), as well as from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services from the Canadian Province of Ontario.

The presenters brought forward innovative ways of thinking about old and new problems and illustrated practical strategies to tackle crime in effective and sustainable ways. The AIC is in the process of preparing a publication that will highlight and describe in more detail the innovative programs and strategies described by the workshop panellists in order to ensure the lessons from the valuable workshop are widely available.

A brief overview of the presentations and the substantive issues discussed will be available via the Report of Committee II: Workshop 4 (A/CONF.222/L.4/Add.1).

The Chair’s conclusions from the workshop are as follows:

  • Rapid developments in media, social networks and new communication technologies bring undeniable potential benefit to society, in particular to law enforcement as means of spreading information, encouraging reporting and cooperation with authorities, building trust, identifying community risks and providing safety tips. Exchanges among states and sharing of best practices are important for addressing common challenges that emerge from these new developments, such as new forms of crime and victimisation and negative impact of the media; and for building national and local capacity to generate and analyse relevant data. 
  • Public participation can widen and strengthen efforts to prevent crime and deliver criminal justice services. To be effective, inclusive, evidence-based and sustainable, multi-sectorial approaches to public participation should be developed, in line with national laws and circumstances. Top-down approaches to fostering public participation should be combined with a bottom-up approach in order to ensure that community concerns are appropriately reflected.
  • Public participation in enhancing access to justice is useful in raising awareness, extending outreach, and empowering members of the community, in particular those members of society recognized as vulnerable, as well as women and children. Members of the community, in line with national law and as appropriate, can play an important role in national criminal justice systems, for example in victim support, restorative justice programs, legal aid, probation and reintegration of offenders into society.
  • Public-private partnerships in crime prevention and criminal justice have potential benefits, for example in the area of preventing corruption and in empowering local communities to become involved in crime prevention initiatives that aim to improve the well-being of the community as a whole.
  • An appropriate regulatory and institutional framework based on clear and targeted policies provides a framework for public participation, and may be complemented by measures to ensure that civil society organisations have the appropriate skills and knowledge, as well as measures to build confidence, ensure transparency and prevent corruption.

Workshop 4 was organised by Peter Homel, Principal Criminologist – Crime Prevention, with assistance from AIC Deputy Director – Research Dr Rick Brown, in cooperation with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

The workshop was moderated by AIC Director Dr Adam Tomison, and was chaired by Matti Joutsen, Director, Ministry of Justice, Finland.

Links to the video stream for the actual workshop via UN Web TV.

By AIC Principal Criminologist (Crime Prevention) Peter Homel

Posted: 7 May 2015 | | | | | |

Intimate Partner Homicide


Over this 4 year period, the general homicide rate has continued to decline.

For the most recent year of data (2011–12), the rate was 1.1 incidents per 100,000. This is the lowest homicide rate since the NHMP data collection began in 1989–90.

Since 1989-90 there has been an overall decrease of approximately 21 percent (n=307 cf 243) in the number of homicide incidents.

Classifying Homicide incidents

For the vast majority of homicide incidents that involve a single victim/single offender, classifying the principal relationship is relatively straightforward. However, for multiple victim and/or multiple offender homicide incidents, this process is complicated by the presence of two or more different relationships (1 for each unique victim and offender pair).

Where an incident involves two or more relationship types, the principal relationship is taken to be the closest known relationship shared between any one victim and offender pair. Where an incident involves two victims (and 2 relationships) within the same category, the closest relationship is chosen for classification.

For example, incidents involving the death of an intimate partner and one or more children will be classified as an intimate partner homicide incident for the purposes of this report.

2008-10 Homicide monitoring report

Of the 510 homicide incidents recorded throughout 2008–09 and 2009–10, a total of 191 (37%) were classified as acquaintance homicides, 185 (36%) as domestic homicides and 66 (13%) as stranger homicides. The remaining 68 incidents (13%) could not be classified because at the time of reporting, the offender–victim relationship was not known.

Homicide incidents by classification, 2008–10 (%)

Note: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding

Source: AIC NHMP 2008–10 [computer file]

Of the 185 domestic homicides throughout the 2008–10 period, 122 (66%) were sub-classified as intimate partner homicides, 22 (12%) as filicides (7 of which involved an infanticide; that is, the death of a child under 1 year of age), 20 (11%) as parricides and four (2%) as siblicide. The remaining 17 (9%) were classified as ‘other’ family homicides.

Domestic homicide incidents by sub-classification, 2008–10 (%)

Source: AIC NHMP 2008–10 [computer file]

Because this classification takes into account only the principal relationship in each incident, it is worth noting that four of the 122 intimate partner homicides also involved the death of a child, while three involved the death of an acquaintance within the same incident.

Compared with recent years, the number of domestic homicides has fallen. In 2007–08, domestic homicides comprised 52 percent of all homicides, but comprised only 36 percent of all recorded homicides in 2008–09 and 2009–10.

Further, the number of domestic homicides in 2008–09 was the lowest recorded in more than 20 years of NHMP data collection (n=85; 34%). For other homicide types, the results in 2008–09 and 2009–10 were relatively stable when compared with previous years.

The representation of male and female homicide victims varies depending on the type of homicide. Throughout 2008–09 and 2009–10, 194 victims were killed by an offender with whom they shared a principal domestic relationship, of which close to two in five (n=75; 39%) of these victims were male, while approximately three in five (n=116; 61%) were female.

Overall, 61 percent of all female homicide victims (n=116) killed throughout 2008–09 and 2009–10 were killed by an offender with whom they shared a domestic relationship, while a greater number of male homicide victims were killed by a friend or an acquaintance (n=173; 86%) than by someone with whom they shared a domestic relationship (n=75; 39%).

Type of homicide by sex of victims, 2008–10
n % n %
Intimate partner 33 27 89 73
Filicide 13 48 14 52
Parricide 11 55 9 45
Siblicide 3 60 2 40
Other family homicide 15 88 2 12
Subtotal 75 39a 116 61a
Acquaintance homicide 173 86 28 14
Stranger homicide 56 78 16 22
Unclassified 62 81 15 19

a: Percentages calculated from subtotal and associated n total value

Note: Percentages are calculated for the sex differences within in each incident type (row percent)

Source: AIC NHMP 2008–10 [computer file]


Of the 479 homicide incidents in 2010–11 and 2011–12, 187 were classified as domestic homicides involving 196 victims.

This is a slight increase in domestic homicides between the 2010–12 and 2008–10 reporting periods (39% cf 36% respectively).

One-hundred and seventy-five incidents (36%) were classified as acquaintance homicides involving 191 victims and 51 (11%) as stranger homicides with 52 victims. For the remaining 66 homicide incidents (14%), a victim–offender relationship could not be classified.

Of the 187 domestic homicides recorded throughout 2010–11 and 2011–12, the majority were classified as intimate partner (n=109; 58%). There were also 34 incidents classified as filicide (18%) with 42 individual victims, 22 as parricides (12%) with 23 victims and six of siblicide (3%).

Type of homicide by sex of victims, 2010–12
Male (n=328) Female (n=182)
n % n %
Intimate partner 26 24 83 76
Filicide 21 50 21 50
Parricide 11 48 12 52
Siblicide 5 83 1 17
Other family homicide 12 75 4 25
Subtotal Domestic 75 38 121 62
Acquaintance homicide 154 81 37 19
Stranger homicide 44 85 8 15
Unclassified 55 77 16 23
Total 328 64 182 36

Note: One victim’s sex was unknown. Percentages calculated from subtotal and associated n total value

Source: AIC NHMP 2010–12 [computer file]

Posted: 6 February 2015 | | | | | |

Counting the costs of crime - 2011

The AIC has produced an update estimate on the costs of crime in Australia for 2011, the fifth in a series over a 24 year period.

Here are the highlights:

Download pdf version

Text version of image: COUNTING THE COSTS OF CRIME

And here’s the 2011 cost to the taxpayer for police, courts and justice agencies:

Download pdf version

Text version of image: Justice and victim support

The report can be found here:

Posted: 26 November 2014 | | | | | |