Australian Institute of Criminology

Skip to content

Report on performance

Research performance

This year demonstrated once again that the AIC has much to pride itself on in the research produced by the team of dedicated researchers the Institute employs. Research was produced on a wide range of topics and for a variety of stakeholders from both the Commonwealth and states and territories.

Research was undertaken in relation to each of the Institute’s six priority themes—crime prevention, criminal justice responses, substance abuse and crime, transnational, organised and cyber crime, violent crime and vulnerable communities. Where crime prevention research is concerned, the AIC has focused on developing the evidence base on effective crime prevention initiatives through evaluation projects associated with such issues as CCTV and community development and also evaluated a Victorian community crime prevention program. Prevention research also included work on an adolescent family violence program and on a program designed to improve child protection responses.

Research associated with criminal justice responses included police-related projects associated with the development of a framework for police management of intoxicated offenders, work on the development of DNA evidence and research on the use of ballistics information. Work related to the courts included the completion of a study on the costs associated with neighbourhood justice and a review of risk assessment tools for use by the judiciary in family violence matters. A significant body of work was also completed in relation to corrections research, including the development of evaluation frameworks, measuring the cost-benefits of correctional activities and work on risk assessment tools for work with offenders. Work also continued on monitoring deaths in custody.

Substance abuse and crime research has largely focused on continuing to maximise the use of the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia program, while, in relation to alcohol, the AIC produced a report on national alcohol indicators for the Inter-Governmental Committee on Drugs and commenced a project on alcohol-associated crime and disorder in Canberra.

Transnational, organised and cyber crime research focused on a variety of topics including recruitment into organised crime, fraud, unexplained wealth, corruption, child exploitation material, domain name abuse and whistleblowing. The AIC also provided assistance to the Australian Crime Commission in its work on the costs of organised crime and on the National Criminal Target List report.

Where violent crime research is concerned, work was undertaken on a range of issues including family and domestic homicide, child homicide, homicide of Indigenous victims, armed robbery at vulnerable locations and the impacts on victims of violent crime.

This year research related to vulnerable communities was focused on violence against women, Indigenous community safety and young people. A program of research on human trafficking and slavery has continued to highlight particular areas of vulnerability for migrants to Australia.

Importantly, in recognition of the AIC’s role as a national knowledge centre on crime and justice, the Institute has continued to conduct research on issues of national concern to inform policy debate with reliable evidence. During the year, this has included work on such issues as methamphetamine use, child sexual abuse, domestic and family violence and alcohol-fuelled violence. Significant effort has also been invested in research associated with identity crime, cybercrime, fraud and organised crime, all of which adversely affect the Australian public.

Crime prevention and evaluation research

Research directions

The Crime Prevention and Evaluation Research (CPER) team focuses on two major areas of research—high-quality evaluations of strategies to prevent and reduce crime, and research that aims to contribute to the knowledge base on effective crime prevention policy and practice.

In 2014–15, the CPER team completed a significant number of evaluation projects to assess the effectiveness of state and territory-funded programs. This included a meta-evaluation of primary prevention of violence against women projects, the evaluation of a community crime prevention program in Victoria and three projects for Corrections Victoria—the development of a dedicated cost-benefit model for female prisoners and offenders, the development of minimum requirements for the evaluation of prison programs and support to implement these new standards. Several consultancy projects also continued, including an evaluation of an adolescent family violence prevention program and an evaluation of an integrated service response to at-risk young people.

The CPER team delivered a number of research outputs from a large-scale collaborative research program with CrimTrac. This included a whole-of-service logic model to underpin CrimTrac’s future project development, performance measurement and evaluation activities. The first reports from the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) and Australian Ballistic Information Network (ABIN) were also delivered, describing the results of a baseline study of the law enforcement environment prior to the implementation of these national initiatives.

The CPER team also undertook research into the impact of technology on policing, including a project on recent developments in DNA evidence, an international review of police information systems and a project on police detainees’ perceptions of DNA and fingerprint evidence. In addition, a survey of local government use of closed circuit television was published. This has since been followed by two new projects, funded by Criminology Research Grants, that focus on the use of CCTV footage by police in relation to incidents occurring on a major metropolitan rail network.

Two additional areas of focus were alcohol-related violence and crime prevention in social housing estates. In 2014–15, the team completed work on a project to develop national indicators for alcohol-related crime using police data. The team also commenced work on a major study into drug and alcohol-related harm in the Civic entertainment precinct in Canberra, funded by the National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund (NDLERF) and undertaken in partnership with Deakin University and the University of Tasmania. A study of community development in social housing estates and a project examining the effectiveness of a community development model in the ACT were also begun.

Finally, the AIC hosted a major international workshop on public participation in crime prevention at the United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Qatar in April 2015 (see highlight over page).

Highlight: The Australian Institute of Criminology UN Crime Prevention workshop, DOHA, Qatar

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. This event was part of the formal program of the 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice held in Doha, Qatar from 12–19 April 2015. Measures to ensure civil society organisations have the appropriate knowledge to build confidence, ensure transparency and prevent corruption were also discussed.

This workshop was held over three Congress sessions from 16–17 April and looked at issues to do with public contributions to crime prevention as well as experiences and lessons in raising awareness of criminal justice. The event received strong support from the Attorney-General’s Department and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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. A variety of presentations by international experts and experienced practitioners from a range of mostly civil society organisations and academic institutions examined social media and networks, as well as public participation and private sector engagement in crime prevention.

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 of the Congress are summarised in the DOHA declaration on integrating crime prevention and criminal justice into the wider United Nations agenda to address social and economic challenges and to promote the rule of law at the national and international levels, and public participation.

Key program outputs

Program evaluation and economic analysis
Correctional Evaluation Framework Project

During 2014–15, the CPER team finalised work on the development of an overarching program logic, evaluation framework and minimum evaluation standards for the evaluation of prison programs in Victoria, undertaken on behalf of Corrections Victoria as part of a broader review. The CPER team was also engaged to help support the implementation of the framework. This is in addition to the work completed for Corrections Victoria on a cost-benefit model specifically designed for women in prison, which is part of a longer-term study.

Evaluation of police information systems

Two major evaluation reports were delivered as part of the collaborative partnership with CrimTrac. This included the first report from the evaluation of the ACORN, which provided a range of baseline measures for the study.

The AIC also submitted an interim report on the evaluation of the ABIN to CrimTrac. The initial phase of that research examined the impact of automated ballistic matching in NSW, where it has been in place for 14 years, and provided baseline data to measure the impact of the ABIN in NSW, SA and Victoria over the first six months of operation.

Crime prevention research
Preventing Violence Against Women in our Community project evaluation

The CPER team finalised its evaluation of the Preventing Violence Against Women in our Community (PVAWC) project. This research involved working with three local government clusters to test models of good practice, pilot new initiatives and develop resources. The final report on the meta-evaluation highlighted some important outcomes that have been delivered through the PVAWC project.

Evaluation of the Victorian Community Crime Prevention Program

The AIC finalised its evaluation of the Community Crime Prevention Program (CCPP) in Victoria. This included an assessment of the Graffiti Prevention and Removal Initiative, which was an important component of the CCPP.

Research into CCTV use by local councils

Work was completed on the CPER’s national study on the use of CCTV by local councils, with a paper released in the first half of 2015. The survey revealed that two-thirds of all councils now use CCTV in public spaces, a six-fold increase from only a decade ago. There has been significant annual expenditure on CCTV, and increases in the size and sophistication of the systems used. There was also evidence that CCTV footage is frequently requested and used by police to identify offenders. In response to these findings, the CPER commenced work on a new project that involves analysing data provided by Sydney Trains on requests for CCTV footage from the Sydney rail network.

National indicators of alcohol-related crime

The project Towards national measures of alcohol-related crime, commissioned by the Intergovernmental Committee on Drugs (IGCD), was finalised in mid-2015. The report concluded that each state and territory policing agency already collects data relevant to the measurement of alcohol-related crime in Australia, and there have been significant gains in recent years in terms of capturing alcohol-related crime data in police information systems. The report described what steps should be taken to better meet the information needs of the IGCD and to refine current data collections to move closer to national indicators of alcohol-related crime.

Research influence

Through its evaluation and technical assistance functions, the CPER team performs an important role in directly influencing both policy and practice. The AIC’s partnership with CrimTrac is an excellent example of this work. In addition to conducting major evaluation projects, the CPER team produced a model that, for the first time, attempted to conceptualise the full range of benefits realised by CrimTrac information systems. This model will provide the foundation for future business cases and for performance measurement and evaluation work. It has since been used as the basis for a program logic model and evaluation framework for the National Domestic Violence Order Information Sharing System.

The AIC’s work with Corrections Victoria will also deliver important benefits. The evaluation standards designed by the AIC have led to improvements in the way prison programs in Victoria are being evaluated, while the evaluation training delivered by the CPER team aimed to help promote an evaluation culture within the organisation.

Finally, Peter Homel and Rick Brown met with the Parliamentary Secretary for Justice in Victoria to provide advice on best practice in crime prevention policy and practice. Alongside the AIC’s evaluation report, this has helped to shape the approach to crime prevention in Victoria, which is currently under development. This is in addition to evaluation training sessions for practitioners and a number of presentations to policy forums promoting the AIC’s evaluation work and rigorous approaches to evaluating crime and justice initiatives.

Stakeholder relationships

A key feature of the CPER team’s approach to evaluation and crime prevention research is the emphasis placed on working in partnership with other Commonwealth, state and territory and local government agencies and other researchers. Highlights from 2014–15 include the collaborative partnership with CrimTrac and state and territory police agencies, as part of the evaluation of CrimTrac information systems for its police partner agencies.

The AIC’s relationship with Corrections Victoria has spanned multiple projects over several years; the Institute has also partnered with Deakin University and the University of Tasmania as part of the Drug and Alcohol Intoxication and Subsequent Harm in Night-Time Entertainment Districts (DASHED) project funded by the NDLERF.

The AIC’s work with Sydney Trains has provided unprecedented access to data on CCTV footage requests by police officers and on security incidents on a major metropolitan rail network. The Institute has developed an ongoing partnership with the City of Sydney to develop a performance framework for their new Safe City Strategy.

The AIC is also involved in a growing number of projects involving working in partnership with the ACT Department of Justice and Community Safety. The Institute partnered with the UNODC, members of the UN’s Network of Program Institutes and agencies within the Attorney General’s portfolio to present a successful AIC-led workshop on public participation in crime prevention at the UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Qatar in early 2015.

Criminal justice monitoring and analysis

Research directions

During 2014–15 the Criminal Justice Monitoring and Analysis (CJMA) team has actively contributed to an understanding of the impacts of methamphetamine and the efforts of governments to deal with its harms. As detailed below, information generated through the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program has given law enforcement agencies a better understanding of illicit drug use patterns, the state of methamphetamine and other illicit drug markets and intelligence information on new synthetic drugs distributed in Australia.

Through the CJMA team, the AIC has maintained a key research focus on justice issues for Indigenous Australians. Researchers completed an examination of the validity of tools and processes used by the Northern Territory Department of Corrective Services in assessing the risk and service needs of Indigenous community-based offenders. The AIC also completed work on an evaluation of the Cross Border Indigenous Family Violence Program, a joint initiative of the Northern Territory, South Australian and Western Australian governments. Further information on these projects is provided below.

CJMA’s work in relation to the operations of the criminal justice system was reflected in 2014–15 through its contribution to a performance audit of the ACT’s adult correctional facility, the development of an evaluation framework for the ACT’s strategic youth justice plan and the completion of an evaluation of reforms to the administration of community-based corrections in Victoria.

Key program outputs

Drug Use Monitoring in Australia

The CJMA team has continued the AIC’s work on the core-funded DUMA program during 2014–15, maintaining existing data collection while undertaking a program of continuous improvement and targeted research outputs. During 2014–15, data collection was undertaken at police watch houses in East Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney. A substantial focus of the DUMA program during this year was the consolidation of working arrangements with contracted data collectors and with police. To more closely meet the needs of police, the AIC has begun issuing regular in-confidence reports to selected police representatives.

National Deaths in Custody Program

The National Deaths in Custody Program (NDICP) continues the AIC’s work in this important area of criminal justice monitoring, which was commenced in 1992 following recommendations of the Royal Commission Into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. While data on deaths in custody continues to be collected on an ongoing basis throughout the year, the NDICP monitoring report has become a biennial publication following a review in 2011. A report covering all deaths occurring during 2012–13 and 2013–14 was released in June 2015. The most common cause of death in prison custody was natural causes, as has been the case each year since 2000.

National Police Custody Survey

The AIC is finalising the collection and analysis of police custody data as the first phase of a newly implemented monitoring program. This program replaces a former census-based survey and will provide an ongoing source of data. It will provide for the first time a clear understanding of the numbers of people being held in police custody, reflecting seasonal variations and changes in police and crime activity.

Management of Intoxicated Offenders

In 2013, the AIC was funded by NDLERF to undertake research examining the response to and management of intoxicated offenders in police custody. This research aimed to develop a best practice framework for the identification and management of intoxicated offenders in a range of scenarios regularly encountered by operational police and enhance understanding of the range of responses used by the police and frontline service workers to effectively manage intoxicated offenders in each jurisdiction. The research also aimed to identify what services, delivered by other frontline service personnel, may be required to better support the police in their response to intoxicated offenders, and to develop a model for the effective transfer of policies, procedures and strategies adopted by police in each jurisdiction to deal with intoxicated offenders. The report of this research was in the final stages of stakeholder review at the end of 2014–15.

The AIC undertook a small related project involving a roundtable meeting to discuss issues concerning the management of intoxicated and aggressive airline passengers. This brought together key stakeholders in the civil aviation sector to discuss issues of concern.

Highlight: Drug Use Monitoring in Australia program

The importance of the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program was emphasised in 2014–15 through its contribution to the national discourse on methamphetamine. The Commonwealth Government’s investment in a national illicit drug monitoring program was rewarded with timely, detailed data which assisted in the formulation of evidence-based policy. This was a realisation of the foresight displayed in 1999 when DUMA was created to provide an early warning system for changes in the Australian illicit drug market.

The DUMA program differs from other data sources in that it is a quarterly data collection, uses an objective measure of illicit drug use (urinalysis) and samples persons in contact with the criminal justice system—police detainees—likely to have had recent and close contact with the illicit drug market. Since data collection began 52,859 police detainees have been interviewed and 37,775 urine samples collected (urine is not requested in all quarters). This has resulted in an unprecedented depth and breadth of data on both offending and alcohol and other drug use among Australian police detainees.

DUMA data are collected from police detainees through an interviewer-assisted survey and the provision of a urine sample. Both participation in the survey and provision of a urine sample are voluntary and confidential. The survey collects data on demographic information, alcohol and other drug use, and patterns of offending. In 2014 the AIC informed government that this data provided evidence that the price of methamphetamine is decreasing, despite its continuing ready availability and high quality. This evidence, coupled with police detainee reports of an ever-increasing number of sellers entering the market, may indicate competition in the methamphetamine market.

All urine samples collected are analysed to detect cannabis, amphetamines, heroin, cocaine and benzodiazepines, providing an objective measure of illicit drug use among the police detainee population which can be monitored over time to detect changes in use. In 2014, 37 percent of police detainees who provided a urine sample tested positive to methamphetamine (see Figure 2). This is up six percentage points from 2009, which had the lowest recorded rate of use in the 2002 to 2014 period.

In 2014–15, addenda were administered each quarter to collect additional data on emerging issues such as drug and drink-driving, steroid use, levels and predictors of intoxication in police custody, illegal and unconventional income sources, and fingerprint and DNA evidence. In addition, the DUMA program has extended its collection of data on recidivism, particularly concerning offending while on bail or court orders. A substantial proportion of the DUMA sample were identified as recidivist offenders: 47 percent of detainees reported they had been charged on another occasion in the past 12 months, although the outcome of those charges was not reported; 21 percent reported they had been released from prison in the last 12 months; seven percent reported they had been released from prison in the last one to two years; and 17 percent reported they were on parole at the time of their current police detention.

In 2014–15, the DUMA program influenced government policy, assisted the development of intelligence-led policing strategies and contributed to academic debate through the publication of Research in Practice papers, in-confidence reports, police journal articles, quarterly new and emerging illicit drug lists, and biannual illicit drug prevalence charts. DUMA data were also presented at academic conferences and forums and provided to parliamentary inquiries.

Figure 2: Adult detainees who tested positive to methamphetamine, five long-term sites, by year (%)

Adult detainees who tested positive to methamphetamine, five long-term sites

Research influence

Methamphetamines and DUMA

The AIC has contributed to national efforts to deal with methamphetamine use. AIC staff, including members of the CJMA team, provided a substantial amount of information to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Supply and Use of Methamphetamine in Victoria, tabled in September 2014.

The AIC also contributed to the methamphetamine evidence base through the DUMA program. The quarterly DUMA surveys provide a timely source of information for police agencies and government policymakers about the prevalence and frequency of methamphetamine use both on its own and within patterns of polydrug use. The information gained through the DUMA program has provided timely insights into changes in the price and availability of methamphetamines and other illicit drugs.

Indigenous justice

In late 2014 the CJMA team completed an evaluation of the Cross Border Indigenous Family Violence Program (CBIFVP). Delivered through cooperative arrangements between the Northern Territory, South Australia–and Western Australia–governments, the CBIFVP is a group work-based program delivered in remote Indigenous communities in the cross-border region where the three jurisdictions meet. This region is the homelands of the Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara, Ngaanyatjarra, Pintupi and Pintupi-Luritja language groups. Working closely with the cross border team, and in collaboration with an anthropologist from the Australian National University, the AIC found the program an effective way of engaging remote-living Indigenous men on this sensitive and challenging topic.

On behalf of the Northern Territory Department of Corrective Services the AIC, through the CJMA team, undertook a research project examining risk and needs assessment tools for Indigenous offenders on community-based orders. Consultations highlighted the challenges faced by Indigenous offenders and the community corrections staff who work with them, providing insights that will assist the department in continuing to develop its procedures and professional development.

Youth Justice

During 2014–15, the AIC was engaged by the ACT Community Services Directorate to develop an evaluation framework for the ACT Youth Justice Blueprint 2012–2022. The blueprint provides strategic directions for the ACT’s work with children and young people engaged in, or at risk of engaging with, the criminal justice system and their families. The blueprint represents a whole-of-government response to issues around youth offending and working effectively with vulnerable children and young people.

Stakeholder relationships

The CJMA team has engaged with a broad group of Commonwealth and state and territory stakeholders throughout 2014–15. The team has maintained and further developed relationships with Commonwealth law enforcement through activities such as providing information to the Australian Government’s National Ice Taskforce and conducting a roundtable meeting examining issues associated with the management of intoxicated and aggressive passengers on commercial aircraft.

The CJMA team has continued to build strong and cooperative relationships with state and territory stakeholders through the commission of contracted work and contributions to significant strategic directions. Team members have worked with the ACT Justice and the Community Safety and Community Services directorates on projects such as the evaluation framework for the Youth Justice Blueprint, supporting the establishment of the ACT’s pilot Justice Reinvestment Strategy. The AIC also provided expert advice for the ACT Auditor-General’s performance review of detainee rehabilitation services at the Alexander Maconochie Centre. Team members have also worked on projects for the Victorian Government on methamphetamines and community corrections, and for the Northern Territory on risk assessment for Indigenous offenders.

During 2014–15 the DUMA Program Manager and staff met regularly with police and external data collectors involved with the program and disseminated DUMA findings through presentations. DUMA outputs have also helped support the work of Australian Government agencies including the ACC, which includes DUMA data in its annual Illicit Drug Data Report, and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), which includes DUMA data in various research products.

The AIC, through the CJMA team, provided secretariat services to the NDLERF throughout 2014–15. AIC staff have liaised closely with members of the NDLERF board on matters such as the commencement and management of funded research projects and in clarifying issues associated with NDLERF funding.

Violence and exploitation

Research directions

The V&E team’s work program for 2014–15 comprised core research activities on homicide, crime and criminal justice statistics and human trafficking and slavery, developing new areas of armed robbery and victimisation research and contributing to contracted studies on domestic violence and child welfare issues.

The team’s monitoring functions included the publication of the Homicide in Australia 2010–11 to 2011–12 monitoring report and finalisation of Facts & Figures 2014, a compendium of statistics on violent and property crime victimisation, adult and juvenile offending, court processes, corrections and criminal justice resources. Homicide data, collated through the AIC’s National Homicide Monitoring Program, was also used to publish updated analyses of domestic and Indigenous homicide.

A previous monitoring function—the National Armed Robbery Monitoring Program—was replaced in 2014–15 by the National Armed Robbery Research Program. This change in scope was intended to strengthen the capacity to develop projects that addressed genuine knowledge gaps, respond to stakeholder needs and facilitate formal collaboration with industry and law enforcement. It was further intended to improve focus on crime prevention strategies adopted or recommended for implementation by businesses affected by armed robbery.

The intention to better respond to stakeholder needs also influenced a change in focus for the Human Trafficking and Slavery Research Program. Previous research focused on vulnerabilities to trafficking and exploitation associated with specific industries or population groups; research developed in 2014–15 undertook a more applied examination of issues related to prevention, criminal justice responses and the provision of victim support.

Studies on the incidence and experience of violent crime victimisation continued into 2014–15 using data from the Database of Victimisation Experiences (DoVE) and the DUMA program. DoVE research described the impact of physical assault and armed robbery on primary victims, and of child sexual assault on secondary victims (ie parents). Addendum data from DUMA contributed to the national focus on domestic and family violence by examining the reported experiences (as victims and perpetrators) and attitudes of police detainees towards domestic violence. It also assessed whether violence-supportive attitudes and certain sociodemographic factors were associated with involvement in domestic violence.

The team also contributed to contracted projects funded by the Victims of Crime Commissioner Western Australia and the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG). The former involved a review of specialised domestic and family violence risk assessment tools and their utility for and applicability to a court-based setting. The latter project examined the published evidence relating to risk of harm to children from adult offenders—specifically how sexual offending against adults translates to risk of offending against children, recidivism rates for sexual/violent offending over a lifetime, factors that suggest a risk of future offending and the effectiveness of treatment programs. The findings from the study were intended to be used by the OCG to inform risk assessment decisions on applicants for child-related work with offence histories.

Highlight: 25 years of the National Homicide Monitoring Program

The year 2014–15 marks 25 years of homicide monitoring by the AIC. The National Homicide Monitoring Program (NHMP) was established in 1990 following a recommendation from the National Committee on Violence for a national homicide monitoring system to be administered by the Australian Institute of Criminology. The NHMP collates data on all homicides (murder and manslaughter) recorded by Australian state and territory police, supplemented by information from the National Coronial Information System, court transcripts and media reports. At 30 June 2015 the NHMP had collated 23 years of data spanning the period 1989–90 to 2011–12, with the collation of 2012–13 to 2013–14 data close to finalisation.

The contribution of the NHMP is its content and longevity. The database holds information on 77 variables relating to the homicide incident, victims and offenders. This wealth of data allows the AIC to produce reliable trend data, published in biennial monitoring reports, on homicide characteristics such as the location and apparent motive for the homicide, the cause of death, alcohol and substance use by the victim(s) and offender(s) at the time of the homicide, the mental health status of the offender(s) and the relationship between victim(s) and offender(s). Since 1989–90 homicides have declined by 21 percent with a homicide rate, at 2011–12, of 1.1 incidents per 100,000 population. Males continue to be overrepresented as both offenders and victims of homicide except in intimate partner homicides, where females are overrepresented as victims. The majority of victims die from a knife wound and most homicides occur in the private residence of the victim or the offender.

Equally valuable is the use of NHMP data to further examine specific homicide scenarios. In recent years this examination has included papers published by the AIC (eg on arson homicide, domestic homicide and Indigenous homicide) or data it has provided, at the request of government, academia and the media, on similar topics. NHMP data makes an important contribution to national discussions on violence such as alcohol-related crime, firearm violence and, particularly in 2014–15, domestic and family violence.

The release of the Research in Practice paper Domestic/family homicide in Australia (Cussen & Bryant 2015) received widespread interest and presented the only national trend data currently available in Australia on family violence. Between 2002–03 and 2011–12, domestic homicides made up 41 percent (n=1,088) of all homicides recorded in this ten-year period, of which 60 percent (n=654) were intimate partner homicides. Three-quarters (n=488) of the victims of intimate partner homicide were female, and in 44 percent of incidents there was a known history of domestic violence. These and further analyses were able to show, despite some annual fluctuation, that all types of domestic homicide—including intimate partner homicide—decreased in the 23 years since 1989–90. The collation of homicide data also clarified recent trends in intimate partner homicide and the circumstances of filicide, which will be incorporated into the National Children’s Commissioner’s forthcoming report examining the effects of family violence on children.

NHMP 25th birthday cake

Key program outputs

National Homicide Monitoring Program

The 2010–11 and 2011–12 National Homicide Monitoring Program (NHMP) report was published in February 2015, with 2012–14 data collection almost complete. Two additional reports were published in March 2015, updating findings on domestic and family homicide and comparing the characteristics of Indigenous and non-Indigenous homicide. Additional studies on young homicide offenders and male-on-male homicides were undertaken. It is anticipated that these and the 2012–14 monitoring report will be published in 2015–16.

Human Trafficking and Slavery Research Program

Five reports on human trafficking and slavery matters were published or finalised. These included papers on: the return and reintegration experiences of Indonesian victims of human trafficking; migrant sex workers; labour exploitation in the Australian construction industry; the nature of and responses to forced marriage in Australia and New Zealand; and the framework and logistics of establishing a monitoring program on human trafficking and slavery.

Three new projects commenced in this field in 2014–15: an examination of the factors that contribute to the progression or attrition of human trafficking and slavery cases through the Australian criminal justice system; the mapping of activities implemented in Australia to prevent human trafficking and how these relate or could be enhanced with reference to crime prevention frameworks; and the conceptualisation of migration brokerage typologies to illustrate exploitation risks to temporary migrants. A fourth project evaluating the Support for Trafficked People Program was approved for commencement in 2015–16.

National Armed Robbery Research Program

The AIC hosted a National Armed Robbery Research Forum in November 2014 which brought together stakeholders from law enforcement, other government and private industry to discuss proposed changes to the AIC’s armed robbery research program and identify with stakeholders projects of mutual benefit. Among the options proposed was an examination of the characteristics that make individual businesses vulnerable (or not) to armed robbery. Subsequently, another program was developed, with assistance from the Australian Newsagents’ Federation, to assess store, street and neighbourhood characteristics of newsagents that had and had not been the target of an armed robbery, to identify the differences between businesses that may account for differing levels of armed robbery risk.

Database of Victimisation Experiences

Three papers using data from the DoVE were prepared in 2014–15. These were examinations of: physical assault victimisation; secondary victims (ie parents) of child sexual abuse; and the return-to-work capacity of victims of armed robbery. Each study examined the articulated experiences of victims, the effect of victimisation on their physical, psychological and occupational functioning and the availability of appropriate support. The findings from two of the studies were presented to the 14th Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect and the 15th International Symposium of the World Society of Victimology in March and June 2015 respectively.

Research influence

Human trafficking and slavery

The AIC’s human trafficking and slavery research program is one of the few research resources on human trafficking and slavery cases affecting Australia. The research outputs continue to be used by a wide group of government, non-government and media stakeholders, and research staff regularly receive invitations to present on individual areas of work or the program more broadly. Due to its expertise in monitoring and long involvement in human trafficking research, the AIC was nominated in the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and Slavery 2015–19 to develop and administer an enhanced monitoring program on human trafficking and slavery. A pilot study with data providers is to take place in 2015–16.

Homicides in Australia

NHMP data on domestic homicide was an important contributor to the national focus in 2014–15 on domestic and family violence. Published and unpublished NHMP data were reproduced to describe the incidence of domestic homicide and, in particular, intimate partner homicide. These data represent the only national, consistently recorded data on domestic violence and provide context for government and non-government agencies in their understanding of current trends.

Firearms

In 2014 the Senate inquiry into the ability of Australian law enforcement authorities to eliminate gun-related violence in the community recognised the important contribution of AIC research on firearm trafficking, firearm theft and firearm violence. The AIC’s firearms research was cited in many submissions to the inquiry as one of the few open-source, reliable resources on firearms data, and the AIC was invited to appear before the inquiry to give evidence. Recommendations 1 and 2 of the committee’s final report referred to the continuation of the AIC’s role in monitoring firearm matters and leading a review of current firearm data collections.

Stakeholder relationships

The Violence and Exploitation team has a close working relationship with representatives from government and non-government agencies including representatives of police services, portfolio agencies and service providers. Through these relationships the AIC obtains data for its monitoring and other research functions and assistance in the review of publications prior to release.

Members of the team are also long-term representatives on forums such as the Firearms and Weapons Policy Working Group and the Interdepartmental Committee on Human Trafficking and Slavery. These engagements provide the AIC with opportunities to promote and identify research projects of direct relevance to stakeholders as well as maintaining an informed link to operational, policy and related activities undertaken by committee members.

Transnational, organised and cyber crime

Research directions

During 2014–15, research into financial crime, corruption, consumer fraud, identity crime and cybercrime continued, with an emphasis on the transnational and organised crime aspects of these. The general objectives of this research have been to gather new data through survey research in areas such as consumer fraud, identity crime and public sector fraud, as well as to conduct risk and threat assessments of new topics such as how organised crime recruitment takes place, the extent to which organised crime is involved in the manufacture and distribution of illicit substances, and the risks of fraud to Australia’s overseas aid program. Other research has considered a number of cybercrime risks that arise through the use of cloud computing, the domain name registry system and online child exploitation. The aim of this research is to understand how these technical and regulatory systems operate, the opportunities for crime and misuse that they create and how these could best be minimised.

Key program outputs

Organised crime

In 2014–15, the Institute finalised a research consultancy for the Victorian Parliament’s Law Reform, Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee inquiry into the supply and use of methamphetamine, particularly ice, in Victoria, and two volumes of the report, approaching 1,000 pages, were released. The committee invited the AIC to assist in conducting research and writing sections of the report dealing with specified aspects of the terms of reference that fell within the Institute’s research expertise—particularly the prevalence of the problem in Victoria and the role of organised crime groups, particularly outlaw motorcycle gangs, in the manufacture, importation and distribution of ice. The AIC also assisted the committee by holding public hearings at its building in Canberra, which included video conferences with a number of academics in Europe.

The AIC also funded research for a Trends & Issues paper that involved an analysis based on international open-source material of how those involved in organised crime go about recruiting new people to become involved in serious criminality of this kind. A framework of typologies was created and used to identify appropriate ways of intervening in recruitment processes to prevent future organised crime. The results of the study were presented at a number of conferences.

The AIC’s Principal Criminologist, Dr Russell Smith, was appointed as an advisor to the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s inquiry into the use of regulatory regimes to help prevent organised crime and criminal organisations entering into or operating through lawful occupations and industries. This inquiry investigated the topic by considering some of the AIC’s previous research into the risks of financial crime present in the professional sectors relevant to the anti money-laundering regulatory regime.

Fraud

This year saw the publication of the Fraud against the Commonwealth monitoring report with data presented for the three years 2010–11 to 2012–13. This allowed the presentation of trend information on the nature, extent and cost of fraud alleged against Commonwealth public servants and contractors, and fraud targeting Commonwealth resources alleged against members of the public. Preparatory work on revising the data collection questionnaire for use in 2016 has commenced. This will include some new data collection fields as well as a more concise instrument that should be less time-consuming for entities to complete.

Corruption

The AIC undertook consultancy research to identify best-practice initiatives to prevent corruption in the public sector from around the world. A paper in the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission Victoria (IBAC) Insights series entitled Spotting a typical fraudster was prepared and released in conjunction with an IBAC podcast on the same topic in July 2015. An earlier IBAC podcast on Organised Crime and Public Sector Corruption was also released.

Cybercrime

In his capacity as President of the Asia-Pacific Association of Technology and Society (APATAS), Dr Russell Smith edited a book with colleagues in Hong Kong which included 17 chapters dealing with the forms of cybercrime most recently affecting developed countries, titled Cybercrime Risks and Responses: Eastern and Western Perspectives (Palgrave Macmillan 2015). A small consultancy examining the risks of, and potential solutions to, domain name system misuse was also funded by the auDA Foundation.

Cost of crime

AIC staff finalised an updated assessment of the cost of crime and criminal justice in Australia in 2011, the latest year for which data are available. This provided the most recent estimation of how much crime costs the economy in Australia, in terms of individual crime types and prevention and response costs.

Dr Smith also acted as a consultant advisor to the ACC’s project on estimating the costs of serious and organised crime in Australia, using the AIC’s previous costing work as a basis for further investigation into the proportion of crime costs attributable to serious and organised criminal activity.

CRG-funded research

Four CRG-funded projects were undertaken during the year, the reports of which are nearing finalisation.

  • The first involved a collaborative study with Victoria University into the effects of whistleblowing on a sample of individuals who have reported crime in Victoria in the public interest. Preliminary findings were presented at the 15th International Symposium of the World Society of Victimology in Perth.
  • The second collaboration, with the Queensland University of Technology, examined the experiences of victims of online consumer fraud through in-depth interviews with a sample of victims from across Australia. A background to this study has already been published in a Trends & Issues paper.
  • The third project is being carried out in collaboration with the ACCC and looks at the victimisation experiences of a sample of individuals in Australia who have sent funds to overseas countries. The results from this sample of victims are being compared with an independent, matched sample of non-victims.
  • The fourth CRG-funded project examined the procedural and evidentiary barriers to the use of unexplained wealth laws in various jurisdictions in Australia. These legal proceedings aim to recover proceeds of crime from individuals who display wealth apparently in excess of their legitimate sources of income. In addition to speaking with law enforcement personnel and prosecutors with experience in such proceedings, research was conducted to identify best-practice models for this relatively new way of confiscating the proceeds of crime, by considering similar schemes operating overseas. The results of this research will be presented at the Thirty-third International Symposium on Economic Crime at Jesus College, Cambridge. Prior work on assets recovery in Australia was also published in the book Dirty Assets: Emerging Issues in the Regulation of Criminal and Terrorist Assets, published by Ashgate Publishing.

Research influence

AIC staff continued to receive many invitations to speak at national and international conferences and events. During the year, 18 presentations were given at conferences in Australia as well as in diverse locations such as Cambridge, Prague, Glasgow, Hong Kong, Macau and Auckland.

A plenary keynote address on understanding the drivers of fraud and the motivations of offenders was delivered at the Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand Fraud and Forensic Accounting Conference in Auckland in May 2015, and a range of other invited addresses on various financial crime and cybercrime topics were given at the 32nd International Symposium on Economic Crime at Jesus College, Cambridge; the 7th Annual Conference of the Asian Criminological Society in Hong Kong; the 3rd International Conference on Cyber Crime and Computer Forensics in Macau; the 14th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology in Prague; and the European Consortium for Political Research General Conference in Glasgow.

Presentations were also delivered at a number of public and private-sector forums in Australia including the Australian Financial Crime Summit, the 4th Annual Fraud Prevention and Detection Summit, IBAC’s Protected Disclosure Coordinator Annual Forum, the Institute of Public Administration Australia’s 10th National Investigations Symposium and the Corruption Prevention Network meeting in Sydney.

Stakeholder relationships

During the year, meetings were held with external agencies and organisations to discuss economic crime, cybercrime, corruption and organised crime. Advice was provided to and discussions held with Commonwealth entities based in Canberra, state and territory law enforcement bodies, IBAC and a number of private sector consultancy organisations.

Formal submissions were also prepared in response to requests from the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory Select Committee inquiry into the prevalence, impacts and government responses to illicit use of the drug colloquially known as ice in the Northern Territory, and the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement initiated an inquiry into crystal methamphetamine.

Research Grants programs

Criminology research grants

The purpose of the Criminology Research Grant (CRG) program is to provide funding for criminological research that is relevant to public policy at both the national and state or territory level. The program promotes the value and usefulness of such research through the publication and dissemination of the findings resulting from the funded work.

The CRG program is managed by the AIC and funded by the Commonwealth and state and territory governments. Taking into account the recommendations of the Criminology Research Advisory Council (CRAC), the Director of the AIC approves a number of research grants and other funded research projects each year.

CRAC membership is listed in the Governance and Accountability section of this report. The AIC provides secretariat services for the CRAC.

Funding grants and projects

While the AIC allocates the majority of CRG program funding through an annual research grants round, the CRAC also considers and makes recommendations to the Director on funding for other research projects in priority research areas that have not been addressed or identified in the annual grants process.

Funding may be allocated for research projects undertaken solely by AIC research staff, projects where AIC staff work in collaboration with other agencies, or projects in support of grant applications. The Director allocates funding at the recommendation of the Advisory Council.

Any potential conflicts of interest 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 Criminology Research Advisory Council considers the following criteria when approving 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.

2014–15 funding

In the 2014–15 financial year, the AIC contributed $218,232 (2013–14: $214,660) from the Commonwealth appropriation to the CRG program for the purposes of making grants. The AIC also contributed $77,729 (2013–14: $77,877) to administer the grants program (see Tables 2 & 3).

State and territory governments collectively made a contribution of $218,232 (2013–14: $214,250) to the AIC for the purpose of making grants. State and territory contributions were calculated on a pro rata population basis as shown in Table 2.

A summary of income and expenditure for the CRG Program in 2014–15 is provided in Table 4.

Grant assessment panel

A panel comprising two independent expert criminologists reviews applications for general grants each year. The panelists 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 2014–15 consisted of Emeritus Professor David Brown and Associate Professor David Indermaur. 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.

Table 2: State and territory contributions to the Criminology Research Grants program for 2014–15
State/territory $
New South Wales 69,874.35
Victoria 54,201.63
Queensland 43,905.10
Western Australia 23,875.50
South Australia 15,698.91
Tasmania 4,810.85
Australian Capital Territory 3,595.03
Northern Territory 2,270.63
Total 218,232.00
Table 3: Criminology Research Grants program financial data 2014–15
Total income for CRG program $
Commonwealth funding 218,232
State and territory funding 218,232
Total income for purpose of making grants 436,464
Expenditure for CRG program
Grants 324,009
Other research projectsa 123,001
Direct administration expenditure 73,182
Total expenditure 520,192

a: ‘Other research projects’ covers projects undertaken by AIC research staff as recommended to the Director by the Criminology Research Advisory Council

Table 4: Criminology Research Grants program indirect administration financial data 2014–15
Total income for CRG program administration $
Commonwealth funding 77,729
Total income 77,729
Expenditure for CRG administration
Administration expenditure 77,729
Total administration expenditure 77,729

New projects for 2014–15

CRG 09/14–15: Aboriginal prisoners with cognitive impairment—Is this the highest risk group?

Professor James RP Ogloff , Dr Stephane M Shepherd, Professor Yin Paradies, Associate Professor Jeffrey Pfeifer

This research aims to assess the cognitive functioning of youth and adult Aboriginal prisoners, their associated mental health needs and their relationship with recidivism. Using a data linkage design, the study will obtain information on the cognitive impairment, social and emotional wellbeing, mental illness, client needs and criminal histories of 122 adult offenders and 42 young offenders in custody. The project will explore: the prevalence of cognitive impairment among young and adult Aboriginal prisoners in custody; identify the therapeutic and cultural needs of Aboriginal offenders with cognitive impairment; and identify whether having a cognitive disability impacts their wellbeing and risk of offending.

CRG 13/14–15: Understanding delinquency during the teenage years: Developmental pathways of antisocial decision-making among disadvantaged youth

Dr Kathryn L Modecki, Professor Bonnie L Barber, Professor Wayne Osgood

In order to effectively prevent adolescents from engaging in delinquency, it must first be established why and how youth make antisocial decisions that negate their long-term interest. This study fills a critical gap in understanding and informs treatment and prevention of youth delinquency and violence in Australia. It will use longitudinal and hierarchical linear modelling to explicate how emotion and anticipated rewards drive antisocial decision-making among disadvantaged youth. Critical information from our studies will be exchanged with juvenile justice personnel to clarify for whom developmentally-informed programming is likely to be effective and provide scientific knowledge to inform juvenile justice policy.

CRG 18/14–15: Prevent crime and save money: Application of return-on-investment models in the Australian context

Professor Sheryl Hemphill, Dr Jess Heerde, Professor John Toumbourou, Professor Todd Herrenkohl, Ms Ha Le, Professor Richard Catalano

The aims and expected outcomes of the current project are to:

  • report population rates in the Victorian context of different forms of antisocial outcomes at different points in the life-course;
  • estimate effect sizes for modifiable risk factors; and
  • estimate what return on investment a $150 million investment (20% of the planned prison budget) would produce in a mix of five evidence-based strategies.

The three aims, explicitly designed to inform government policy, will be addressed by analysing data from an ongoing longitudinal study of antisocial behaviour in Victorian young people which began in 2002.

CRG 19/14–15: The intergenerational transmission of criminal offending behaviours

Dr Alessandra Raudino, Professor Vaughan Carr, Associate Professor Kimberlie Dean, Dr Kristin Laurens, Associate Professor Melissa Green

Within an already-established novel prospective longitudinal sample of 87,026 Australian children, this project will examine the prevalence and correlates of behavioural problems among children born to parents with and without criminal offending histories. This study will identify potential mechanisms through which parental offending history might be associated with behavioural problems in their children at ages five and 11, with particular consideration of gender-specific patterns of intergenerational risk transmission. This study is intended to inform policymakers and the development of new intervention programs focused on preventing future offending and contact with the criminal justice system by young people.

CRG 20/14–15: Knowledges of ‘intoxication’ and Australian criminal law: Implications for addressing alcohol and other drug-related harms and risks

Dr Julia Quilter, Dr Kate Seear, Professor Luke McNamara, Professor Robin Room

This project will produce and comparatively analyse three typologies of knowledge regarding the relationship between intoxication, antisocial behaviour and violence, and criminal responsibility, being knowledges: embedded in criminal legislation; deployed in courtroom adjudication; and featuring in expert literatures. It will: identify areas of overlap, inconsistency, under-definition and lacunae; investigate how statutorily embedded assumptions about this relationship are operationalised in courtrooms; compare assumptions from law and practice with expert knowledges on intoxication-violence. Finally, it will identify opportunities for strengthening the criminal law’s capacity to meet community needs with respect to the attribution of criminal responsibility for alcohol-related problems.

CRG 31/14–15: Surveillance technologies and crime control; understanding offenders’ perspectives on police body-worn video (BWV) cameras and CCTV

Dr Emmeline Taylor, Dr Murray Lee, Matthew Willis, Alexandra Gannoni

The research aims to explore the perspectives of police detainees on the use of two televisual technologies: CCTV and police body-worn video (BWV) cameras.

The methodology utilises the DUMA program of interviews with police detainees. In partnership with the AIC an addendum will be added to the DUMA survey for two quarters in 2015.

Key outcomes will be a report, a Trends & Issues paper and scholarly journal papers. Against a backdrop of significant investment and the rollout of BWV cameras and CCTV, the findings will be of great value to police and state and federal policymakers.

CRG 35/14–15: Developing diversionary pathways for Indigenous youth with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD): A three community study in Western Australia

Professor Harry Blagg, Dr Tamara Tulich

This research examines justice interventions for young people suspected of having FASD and related disorders. It responds to specific concerns of community members and justice professionals in the West Kimberley that increasing numbers of Aboriginal youth are displaying symptoms of FASD and becoming enmeshed in the criminal justice system. This study will explore and map out diversionary alternatives and law reform options that will equip courts and multi-agency teams, partnered with community-owned and managed services, to construct alternative pathways into treatment and support. The research will be conducted in three locations in remote Western Australia: Broome, Derby and Fitzroy Crossing.

CRG 47/14–15: Violating parole? Exploring trends in returning to custody in Australia

Dr William R Wood, Dr Christine Bond, Dr Samantha Jeffries

Annual reports of Australian parole boards suggest that there have been marked increases in returns to custody for parole violations over the last 10 to 15 years. In addition, a number of states have also seen the discretion of parole officers around parole violations significantly reduced. Thus, the proposed research will explore the trends in parole violations and returns to custody through a comparative analysis of state legislation and data on parole violations and interviews with staff of parole boards. This will be combined with a statistical analysis of parole board outcomes.

CRG 50/14–15: Exploring the causes and consequences of the Australian crime decline: A comparative analysis of the criminal trajectories of two NSW birth cohorts

Dr Jason Payne, Dr Rick Brown, Professor Rod Broadhurst

Using the Semi-Parametric Group Based Trajectory method, this study will conduct a comparative analysis of the emerging criminal trajectories of two NSW birth cohorts (1984 and 1995). These specific cohorts have been selected to represent two developmentally and contextually distinct periods. Born in 1984, the first cohort are members of Generation Y. They are a cohort of young people who transitioned through adolescence at a time of year-on-year growth in the incidence of drug, property and violent crimes in NSW. The second cohort are members of Generation Z who, unlike their predecessors, transitioned through adolescence at a time when heroin was scarce, when crime rates were falling, and when both federal and state government investment in early intervention and diversion schemes was in rapid expansion. The purpose of this study is to identify whether, in these vastly different contexts, there has been a fundamental shift in the size (proportion of population), shape (age of onset, speed of escalation) and nature (offence types, signal crimes, specialisation) of the early antisocial and criminal trajectories of young people in NSW.

CRG 52/14–15: Filicide in Australia 2000–2012: A National Report

Professor Thea Brown, Dr Danielle Tyson, Dr Adam Tomison, Dr Samantha Bricknell, Ms Willow Bryant

This study will produce the first national report on filicide in Australia, extending over the period 2000 to 2012. It will:

  • identify the national, and state by state, incidence of filicide deaths of two groups of children (young children 0–17) and adult children (17+), who have been killed by a parent or parent equivalent, such as a step-parent or grandparent;
  • determine trends regarding the incidence of types of filicide events, of the victims, perpetrators and their families, and the factors associated with the victims, perpetrators and the deaths; and
  • identify areas for policy and program development.

The study will use data from the National Homicide Monitoring Data Base (NHMP) supplemented by data from the Monash Filicide Research Project and, where necessary, the National Coronial Information Service (NCIS) state coroner’s offices and police files.

Continuing projects for 2014–15

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 sociodemographic 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
Griffith University
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
Victoria University
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;
  • determine what factors are associated with retaliation; and
  • determine 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 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 adolescent-onset and adult-onset sexual offences against children

Dr Nadine McKillop, Professor Stephen Smallbone, Ms Susan Rayment-McHugh
Griffith University
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 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 Project STOP on crime

Mr Jason Ferris, Dr Madonna Devaney, Professor Lorraine Mazerolle
The University of Queensland
Total grant: $49,952

Project STOP 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 Project STOP transaction data by GuildLink. Our study aims to assess whether the real-time recording system, Project STOP, has reduced the diversion of pseudoephedrine-based products into illicit drug manufacture in Queensland. To quantify the impact of Project STOP, 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
Monash University
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.

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 31/12–13: Prosecuting workplace violence: The utility and policy implications of criminalisation

Dr Emily Schindeler, Associate Professor Janet Ransley
Griffith University
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

Associate 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 53/11–12: Sexting and young people: Perceptions, practices, policy and law

Dr Murray Lee, Associate Professor 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 47/10–11: Homicide and the night-time economy

Professor 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 20/10–11: Determining the impact of opioid substitution therapy upon mortality and recidivism among prisoners: A 22 year data linkage study

Professor Louisa Degenhardt, Dr Lucy Burns, Dr Don Weatherburn, Associate Professor Tony Butler, Dr Amy Gibson, Dr Jo Kimber, Professor Richard Mattick, Associate Professor 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 30/11–12: Preventing the onset of youth offending: The impact of the pathways to prevention project on developmental pathways through the primary years

Professor Ross Homel AO, Dr Kate Freiberg, Dr Sara Branch
Griffith University
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 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, Professor Anna Stewart, Dr Troy Allard, Ms April Chrzanowski
Griffith University
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 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 unsupervised group.

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. The AIC has been managing the administration of the NDLERF program since June 2010. The AIC was advised in April 2014 that Department of Health funding for the NDLERF program would cease as of 30 June 2015. In September 2014, the AIC signed a variation to the current funding agreement to extend the expiry date by 12 months, to 30 June 2016, in order to complete the operational and administrative functions of the program. While an alternative funding source is being sought for the program, no funding has yet been secured for 2015–16.

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 offer practical contributions 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 2014–15, the NDLERF board agreed not to undertake the traditional open grants round due to the program not having sufficient funding to conduct a round, and the current agreement termination on 30 June 2015. The board agreed that the most efficient way of allocating the remaining funds would be through a targeted grant round, inviting applications from researchers for quality projects to determine the costs of policing alcohol-related matters, specifically within the Victorian law enforcement context. A research proposal was awarded to undertake this research, at a value of $0.149m.

The program continued to fund a further 15 projects from previous years and two contracts, with a total expenditure of $0.706m. These active projects are all scheduled for completion prior to the contract completion date of 30 June 2016.

The functions the AIC performs for the NDLERF program include:

  • administration of 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 the 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.

Box 2: Publications released under the NDLERF program in 2014–15

Prohibiting public drinking in an urban area: Determining the impacts on police, the community and marginalised groups. Amy Pennay, Elizabeth Manton, Michael Savic, Michael Livingston, Sharon Matthews, Belinda Lloyd. Monograph series 49.

Supply-side reduction policy and drug-related harm.Wai-Yin Wan, Don Weatherburn, Grant Wardlaw, Vasilis Sarafidis, Grant Sara. Monograph series 53.

Interventions for reducing alcohol supply, alcohol demand and alcohol-related harm. Peter Miller, Tanya Chikritzhs, John Toumbourou. Monograph series 57.

Off-site outlets and alcohol-related harm. William Gilmore, Wenbin Liang, Paul Catalano, Richard Pascal, Annabel Broyd, Eveline Lensvelt, Garry Kirby, Tanya Chikritzhs. Monograph series 56.

An empirical basis for the ratio of crowd controllers to patrons. Robert Harris, Deborah Edwards, Peter Homel, Georgina Fuller. Monograph series 54.

Understanding and describing Australian illicit drug markets. Nick Scott, Jonathan P Caulkins, Alison Ritter, Paul Dietze. Monograph series 58.

Development of a drink driving program for regional and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Michelle S Fitts, Gavan R Palk. Monograph series 55.

Supply-side reduction policy and drug-related harm. Wai-Yin Wan, Don Weatherburn, Grant Wardlaw, Vasilis Sarafidis, Grant Sara. Trends & Issues series 486.

How patterns of injecting drug use evolve in a cohort of people who inject drugs. Nick Scott, Jonathan P Caulkins, Alison Ritter, Paul Dietze. Trends & Issues series 502.

Drink driving among Indigenous Australians in outer regional and remote communities and development of a drink driving program: A summary of findings and recommendations. Michelle S Fitts, Gavan R Palk. Research Bulletin no 2.

Hair drug testing—Hair drug analysis to identify cases of drug facilitated sexual assault. Gregory Dayman, Lyndall Young, Peter Stockham, Danielle Butzbach, Chris Kostakis, Elizabeth Gebler-Hughes, Scott Janes. Reports and Discussions papers.

Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards 2013

The AIC manages the annual Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards (ACVPA) every year, with Director Dr Adam Tomison chairing the selection board. On 26 November 2014, two groundbreaking projects that substantially reduced local crime rates were honoured at an award ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra.

The Hon Michael Keenan, Minister for Justice, announced the winners. Non-financial awards were presented to one community sector project and one police-led crime-prevention program. The award-winning projects focused on providing specialised counselling services to young sex offenders, building capacity in local communities for preventing and responding to future incidents of sexual violence and abuse and providing community crime prevention services to the elderly, the disabled and other vulnerable members of the community.

The national community-led project awarded a certificate originated in Queensland, and the national police-led project awarded a Meritorious Police Award originated in South Australia:

Griffith Youth Forensic Service

Griffith Youth Forensic Service (GYFS) provides specialised statewide assessment and treatment (therapeutic and risk management) services for court-referred youth sex offenders in Queensland. GYFS aims to provide referred youth and their families with equitable access to high-quality services, regardless of circumstances and location; prevent reoffending and improve life outcomes for referred youth; build capacity in local communities for preventing or responding to future incidents of sexual violence and abuse; and conduct and disseminate research into the causes and prevention of sexual violence and abuse.

GYFS has achieved very positive results working with the highest-risk youth sex offenders in Queensland. Studies of reoffending among its clients show very low rates of further offending, particularly among those receiving treatment through the current practice model, which was introduced in 2007. The program is funded through the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General.

South Australia Police Home Assist Program

The South Australia Police (SAPOL) Home Assist Program delivers outstanding service as a key provider of community crime prevention. Home security audits are conducted to prevent Home and Community Care service users becoming victims, or repeat victims, of crime. The program delivers presentations that increase the community’s knowledge of personal safety and home security and decrease fear of crime. The program aims to leave people feeling safe to stay in their own homes and participate in the community with confidence. Funding is provided by the state and Commonwealth Governments, with SAPOL in-kind support. The program provides a comprehensive, coordinated and integrated service.

In 2013–14 the SAPOL Home Assist Program delivered more than 250 security audits and made contact with nearly 800 victims of crime, as well as more than 150 presentations, community forums, community promotions and media engagements to increase community knowledge and reduce fear of crime.

Thirteen other awards were presented to grass-roots organisation and projects across the nation. Two of these projects received $5,000 and Certificates of Merit:

Man-Up: A free risk prevention-mentoring program that uses dance to empower young men aged 12–17 years

The Man-Up program uses popular youth culture—hip-hop and breakdance—to connect young people back to schools and their community, with groups of 12 to 16 participants. It helps young males at risk of perpetrating, or becoming the victim of, violence or property crime. The Man-Up framework comprises three elements:

  • skill development. Each week, participants receive training from Kulture Break Dance mentors. The outcome is promotion of physical activity, teamwork, resilience, increased confidence and self-esteem;
  • performance. Man-Up participants produce and present dances throughout the year. The outcome is to inspire and demonstrate to all participants and audiences that dance is a positive prosocial outlet that promotes positive engagement for young males; and
  • community giving. Participants contribute to projects that help those less fortunate people in the community such as the terminally ill, sole parents, elderly and marginalised individuals. Past activities have included mowing lawns and enhancing playgrounds. The outcomes are improved social awareness, community contribution and responsibility. The program also provides a creative avenue to engage at-risk and vulnerable young males through the appealing and popular medium of dance, and divert them from anti-social behaviour and negative contact with the justice system.

The long-term plan is to increase the number of participating schools and individuals by expanding the program to Canberra’s northside and introducing a girl’s program called Ladies First.

Safety Net Australia

Safety Net Australia was established by WESNET under the guidance and mentorship of the US Safety Net Project run by the US National Network to End Domestic Violence. The project provides engaging interactive training, resources and policy assistance in ways both tech-savvy and non-tech-savvy audiences can understand. Safety Net Australia:

  • works with communities and agencies to address how technology impacts the safety, privacy and accessibility rights of victims/survivors of violence;
  • educates a wide range of community agencies who work with women experiencing all forms of violence on ways to use technology strategically to help find safety and prevent or escape violence; and
  • advocates for strong local, state and national policies that ensure the safety, privacy and rights of all victims/survivors of gender-based violence.

Safety Net Australia provides education and training in the safe use of technologies, particularly to women and young people, and makes them aware of how offenders use technology as a tool to control, stalk, abuse and find victims. They have also provided agencies dealing with victims of crime and violence with education to enhance their understanding of the potential dangers of technology and prevention strategies.

Six projects received Certificates of Merit:

Assessment and Referral Court List, Magistrates’ Court of Victoria

The Assessment and Referral Court (ARC) List is a pioneering approach to addressing the needs of accused persons who have a mental illness and/or cognitive impairment in Victoria. Operating as a specialist list at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, the focus of the program is to assess the needs of participants and assist in linking them with appropriate community services in order to reduce further offending.

The program targets reoffending through the identification and referral of accused persons with an underlying mental illness and/or cognitive impairment. The court aims to work closely with these clients to help them access the services they need to address the causes of antisocial behaviour.

CALD Communities Leading the Way to Respectful Relationships: A community engagement initiative to prevent family violence in Victoria

This project addressed the currently unmet needs of disadvantaged populations who, due to language or cultural practices, are isolated from family violence education programs. The Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria’s inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence developed a model of building community capacity via consultation, meaningful engagement and fostering ownership that was effective in breaking the silence around violence against women.

Working with four cultural groups (Croatian, Indian, Sudanese and Vietnamese) through community-based taskforce committees, the project reached over 20,000 community members through 29 awareness raising activities over a period of two years. Eighty percent of the participants reported an increase in knowledge. The program has been an effective way of raising awareness of gender equality and the unacceptability of family violence among the four culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Yuendumu Mediation and Justice Committee, as supported by the Yuendumu Mediation and Family Safety Program

The Yuendumu Mediation and Justice Committee draws upon both traditional Aboriginal ways and non-Aboriginal ways of managing conflict in the community. This has included community leaders training as mediators and integrating this practice with more traditional conflict-resolution practices to achieve ‘mala mala’ or proper sorry.

In doing so, the Yuendumu Mediation and Justice Committee has developed a method that has not only proved invaluable in building a peaceful existence in the community, but one that will serve as a model for future generations.

The Yuendumu community has developed a crime and violence prevention initiative that has had a positive impact on addressing conflict within an Indigenous community in significant disarray. In a short period the program has been successful in achieving various positive results, including an extended period without violence or disruption in the community.

Youthbeat

Youthbeat provides seven-day-a-week engagement, prevention and case management for at-risk young people in the Perth metropolitan area. These young people can be both the victims and perpetrators of antisocial/criminal behaviour. Services include street-level outreach (foot patrols and a mobile van, including on Thursday to Saturday nights), practical assistance (eg food, bedding, clothing, transport vouchers and showering facilities), diversion (eg art workshops, youth camps), life skills and harm minimisation training, case management to address underlying causes of at-risk behaviour (eg being homeless, family and domestic violence, alcohol and other drug misuse or mental illness) and targeted referral to other services (eg accommodation and mental health services). In a recent 12-month period, 2,704 young people were engaged, 636 participated in recreational or life skills programs and 756 referrals were made, including 324 to Youth Drug and Alcohol Services.

Youthbeat is a good example of a crime prevention initiative focusing on at-risk young people and providing practical assistance, mentoring, alcohol and other drug education, life skills training and case management.

Monash Milk Bar Network Exchange to prevent and minimise harm from crime

The Monash Milk Bar Network Exchange was established in response to comprehensive community consultation that Monash City Council undertook with 44 local milk bars between 2012 and 2014. This consultation identified local milk bar businesses as subject to repeat crime, theft, armed robbery and mental health impacts as a result of fear sustained through the experience of crime. Milk bars are considered soft targets for criminal offenders as they are often isolated, open late into the evening, minimally staffed, operated by new Chinese migrants with limited English skills and may hold large amounts of cash on the premises. Continuous consultation with milk bars in Monash identified that operators were reluctant to report crime to police due to fear of retaliation, cultural perceptions of police and limited English skills.

The Monash Milk Bar Network Exchange six-month project ran from late October 2013 to May 2014 and invited 44 milk bar operators to participate in three network exchange meetings, where they received small business crime prevention and safety information from Victoria Police, council and community services. All verbal and written communication was translated into Mandarin by an interpreting service. The Monash Milk Bar Network Exchange attracted widespread media attention and is now being replicated by other local government areas as a model for community crime-prevention initiatives.

The Monash Milk Bar Network Exchange is a valuable initiative targeted at responding to the needs of a vulnerable business group in the community. By working closely with small business operators it has increased the reporting of crime and adds an important element to the range of services available to prevent crime and to support victims.

Summer of Respect

Summer of Respect (SoR) is an innovative summer-long, anti sexual violence campaign developed by the Women’s Centre for Health Matters and the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre. The campaign runs from October until March annually.

The long-term goals of the campaign are:

  • to challenge rape-supportive attitudes or misperceptions about sexual violence, among men specifically and in the community more generally;
  • to raise awareness about sexual violence and provide practical information;
  • to demonstrate what respectful behaviour looks like; and
  • to emphasise men’s responsibility for their behaviour.

The activities of SoR change each year. For example, the target audience for SoR 2013–14 was young people, including potential victims and potential perpetrators/bystanders.

SoR 2013–14 was particularly well received. The output measures indicated that many young people in the ACT viewed or received the resources provided by the campaign.

SoR is a unique initiative targeted at raising awareness about sexual violence among young people. It demonstrates an impressive capacity to deliver a range of messages that can help protect a wide range of potentially vulnerable young people from sexual violence.

Four projects received Meritorious Police Certificates:

Project Booyah

Project Booyah, an initiative of the Queensland Police Service, is an integrated whole-of-government program delivering real change for young people at risk in Queensland. This is achieved by promoting seamless service delivery across whole of government and establishing effective strategic and operational partnerships with private enterprises that have the capacity to extend and sustain change for these young people. Aligned with evidence-based best practice, it aspires to holistically address a young person’s disengagement from their family, their community and education, to ultimately reduce and prevent their involvement in antisocial behaviour, substance misuse, self-harm and/or crime and the criminal justice system. In order to achieve this, Project Booyah incorporates adventure-based learning principles, social development training, community interventions, mentoring, case management, education and vocational scholarships to support young people and their families to build careers and vocational pathways.

Project Booyah delivers important services to at-risk young people, helping reduce their risk through re-engagement with education and employment. It is a good example of the success that can be achieved through the collaborative efforts of government and the private sector.

Circle of Respect

The Circle of Respect is aimed at building resilience and developing coping strategies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who are at risk of disengaging from school. Areas associated with youth crime that are addressed include boredom, apathy and disconnection from culture/community, low resilience and self-esteem, loss of self-image, peer pressure and family conflict.

Circle of Respect is a very promising early intervention initiative that engages with at-risk and vulnerable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to divert them from becoming negatively involved with the criminal justice system. The program’s work contributes to the achievement of key outcomes through higher school attendance rates, decreases in the number of young people entering the juvenile justice system, and children successfully transitioning to secondary education.

Youth Cultural Hot Spot Patrols

Youth Cultural Hot Spot Patrols consist of first-response police officers, Police Liaison Officers and a culturally specific youth worker from Micah Projects. They commenced in June 2012 and were tasked with seeking out at-risk youth at peak times in locations where youth sleep rough in the city. Their challenge was to connect, divert and engage otherwise highly service-resistant young people. Contact occurred in trouble spots, often late at night and in the darker corners of the CBD, and continues to be successful, with connection made through culture as a basis for effective diversion.

This is an effective initiative where police engage with at-risk youth by following a targeted approach. Indications are that the initiative has contributed to reductions in youth-related crime.

Boss of My Body

Boss of My Body is an intensive protective-behaviours program implemented after an increase in sexualised behaviour among children was identified in local communities. Richard Wells recognised the need for a culturally identifiable medium for the children to learn through and created the DVD project. Funding to engage a songwriter and producer to work with the children was sourced through various agencies. The result was a DVD that showcased what the children had learned in the protective-behaviours program. As a result, local children began talking about abuse, and the children’s confidence and self-worth increased. Community members began to prioritise child safety through singing the song and playing the DVD. Children who struggled with learning were able to articulate the protective behaviours they had learned. The project helped children who were abused or who perpetrated abuse, teaching them that they are the boss of their body and everybody has the right to feel safe.

The program can be easily adapted to address a range of antisocial issues in Indigenous communities; the learning program taps into the way Indigenous children learn about culture and history. Boss of My Body is a good example of a targeted approach which uses culturally and age-appropriate material to open the lines of communication on uncomfortable subjects and to educate children in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities about sexualised behaviours, substance abuse and antisocial behaviours.