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Communications and information services outcomes

Communications

One of the AIC’s critical functions is the dissemination of new research findings, in recognition that applied criminological research is intended to inform policy, practice and wider community debate on issues of concern. The role of Communications and Information Services is to ensure the AIC’s research is disseminated and widely understood, targeting the audiences who will use the findings and influencing policy and practice.

The AIC website is the Institute’s core communications tool, providing access to approximately 4,000 AIC publications as well as nearly 3,000 conference and seminar papers, 150 video seminars and multiple links to relevant non-AIC databases. This website is used by thousands of researchers, students, media and policymakers on a daily basis. Since 2010–11, sessions on the site have increased significantly.

Publications

The AIC communicates new knowledge developed by both AIC researchers and external authors. The regular AIC publication formats are the foundation of this dissemination. Due to the large volume of publications the AIC produces, they are generally designed, edited and typeset in-house. The Director is the General Editor of all AIC publications.

The AIC produces two peer-reviewed flagship publication series—the Research and Public Policy series and Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice—which are researched and written by AIC and external authors. These publications are funded by core AIC funding, Criminology Research Grants and, most recently, NDLERF funding, as well as other funding sources.

Other AIC publication categories include:

  • Monitoring Reports—regular reports from AIC monitoring programs that capture data across Australia on a range of crime and justice issues;
  • Technical and Background papers—technical reports containing statistical and methodological material produced as part of the AIC research process;
  • Australian Crime: Facts & Figures—an annual compendium providing a statistical overview of the most recent national information on crime in Australia, serving as a ready-reference resource, with a related online tool for testing a variety of datasets;
  • Research in Practice—fact sheets, tip sheets and case studies from evidence-based research for practitioners in the criminal justice field; and
  • special reports—reports relating to specific commissions and consultations, which are often approved by the client for general publication.

Publications published in 2014–15 by the AIC are listed in Table 5.

Table 5: Publications produced in 2014–15
Publication type n
Research and Public Policy series 3
Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice 21
Monitoring Reports 3
Technical and Background papers 3
Australian Crime: Facts & Figures 1
Research in Practice 6
Substantive articles on CrimBrief 7
Special reports 5

In 2014–15, the AIC released 24 peer-reviewed and 80 non-peer reviewed publications (including other academic papers, handbooks and contracted research reports) and met all communication and publication KPIs stipulated by government (see Table 6).

Table 6: Products and KPI targets by year
Product type KPI 2012–13 2013–14 2014–15
Peer-reviewed publications 23 24 23 24
Other publications, including articles in external journals 38 61 63 80
Events—conferences, seminars, workshops, roundtables 10 24 13 10

Peer review and publications process

All submissions are subject to a rigorous review process before they are accepted for publication. Drafts are reviewed by senior research staff and also undergo external review. All publications are then reviewed by the Director and edited to conform to AIC publishing style, promoting clear and understandable research.

The AIC was recognised by the then Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research as an accredited publisher eligible to receive university funding under its higher education research data collections specifications. This accreditation covers the peer-reviewed Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice and Research and Public Policy series. Every year, senior researchers and academics provide their time and expertise to peer review often very technical papers for publication, and the AIC gratefully acknowledges their time and effort in making its research publications more rigorous.

The publications team also prepares reports for NDLERF. The AIC released five monographs and papers this year, as well as two jointly branded NDLERF–AIC Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice papers.

2014–15 signature publications

Counting the costs of crime in Australia: a 2011 estimate (RPP 129)

Counting the costs of crime in Australia: a 2011 estimate is the fifth in an AIC series on the cost of crime to our community.

In 2011, the crimes most costly to the community were:

  • fraud ($6b);
  • drug abuse ($3b);
  • assault ($3b);
  • criminal damage (vandalism and graffiti) ($2.7b); and
  • arson ($2.2b).

The estimated total cost of crime in 2011 was $47.6b, or 3.4 percent of national GDP. This represents a 49 percent increase since 2001, when the total cost of crime was calculated as $31.8b, or 3.8 percent of GDP. However, in terms of percentage of GDP, the overall cost of crime decreased over the period 2001–2011.

Homicide in Australia: 2010–11 to 2011–12 (MR 23)

This National Homicide Monitoring Program (NHMP) report detailed the prevalence and nature of homicide in Australia over the two-year monitoring period. The AIC has monitored trends and patterns in homicide across Australian jurisdictions since 1989. The two key sources of data for the NHMP are offence records derived from each Australian state and territory police service and state coronial records such as toxicology and post-mortem reports. The homicide rate continues to remain at a historic low, at 1.1 victims per 100,000 over the two years. Intimate partner homicides are also at a historic low.

Deaths in custody Australia: National Deaths in Custody Program 2011–12 and 2012–13 (MR 26)

The Deaths in Custody monitoring report is a regular trend update on frequency of deaths in prison and police custody and provides information on the deceased, including demographic information and cause of death. Long-term trends are also presented.

In 2011–12 and 2012–13, there were 144 deaths in custody—73 in 2011–12 (42 prison custody; 31 police custody and custody-related operations) and 71 in 2012–13 (53 prison custody; 18 police custody and custody-related operations). At June 30 2013 the total prison population in Australia was 30,775 (including 8,430 Indigenous prisoners; 27%). More than two-thirds of deaths in prisons were due to natural causes (n=64), most commonly cancer. Hanging deaths accounted for 19 percent (n=17) of prison custody deaths. The number of police custody deaths in 2012–13 dropped significantly from 2011–12 and is the lowest recorded since the definition of police custody deaths was expanded in 1990.

Historical review of sexual offence and child sexual abuse legislation in Australia: 1788–2013

Special Report 7 September 2014 (Prepared for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse)

Brief review of contemporary sexual offence and child sexual abuse legislation in Australia

Special Report 6 September 2014 (Prepared for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse)

These two special reports for the Royal Commission contextualised the current and historic legislative landscape around both sexual and child abuse offences.

Prior offending among family violence perpetrators: A Tasmanian sample (T&I 493)

The relationship between the frequency of family violence offending and other types of offending has not been fully explored when assessing the risk of family violence recidivism. This study provides a snapshot of the six-year offending histories of a cohort of Tasmanian family violence perpetrators. Various data from Tasmanian justice records shows a clear association between the frequency of family violence incidents and a history of other offending. That is, a group of family violence perpetrators engaged in high levels of family violence offending were identified as having committed a range of other types of violent offences, traffic offences and breaches of violence orders. The findings of this study have implications for policy and practice, including the identification and treatment of family violence perpetrators.

Highlight: Publication of 500 Trends & Issues papers

The first tranche of Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice (T&I) papers were designed as benchmark national snapshots of issues such as firearms violence, corporate crime and Aboriginal deaths in custody. They were often an exercise in statistical benchmarking, or literature reviews bedding down criminological subject matter.

The design was specific—short and easy enough for a politician or policymaker to read on the flight between Sydney and Canberra, with a limited number of figures or tables to prevent ‘clutter’. The series has maintained a basic word length of about 5,000–6,000 words.

The first T&I discussed Uses and abuses of drug law enforcement statistics. Number 10 was Firearms and violence in Australia. Number 18 was a hard-headed review of Alcohol and crime. These subjects and many more have been studied exhaustively, reviewed and examined repeatedly by generations of AIC researchers, building a 30-year picture of crime types and trends and associated subjects. Eminent criminologists who won grants, or started their careers as staff of the AIC and went on to senior positions in academia or government, have contributed greatly to this series.

In the early days, the AIC was quick on the scene to study issues around the gun control debate or to examine the rise of cybercrime (Crime in the Digital Age, 1998; Zombies and botnets, 2007), and produced a significant body of work on both Indigenous and juvenile justice issues.

The first T&I published in the current green livery was number 365, which was loaded onto the website in November 2008. Schizophrenia and offending: area of residence and the impact of social disorganisation and urbanicity is a classic review of findings undertaken through a Criminology Research Council grant project and one that exemplifies the change in focus of the T&I.

In earlier days T&Is focused more broadly on national statistics; but now, rather than being reviews, T&Is are often research project reports or executive summaries in themselves, outlining the results of a focused piece of rigorous research—often from a Criminology Research Grant or NDLERF grant. The Drug Use Monitoring in Australia program has also contributed to this style of reporting, as it allows specific addenda on offender behaviour to be issued to up to 1,000 or more subjects at a time in watch houses around Australia.

AIC researchers like nothing better than examining a problem, designing research and then building the data from a rich source such as the Database of Victimisation Experiences (DoVE), the Tasmanian Family Violence Management System or data from the International Office of Migration in South East Asia. T&Is drawn from all of these data sources were published in 2014–15.

AIC websites

Web use over five years

The Australian Institute of Criminology has been a significant criminal justice publisher since the mid-1970s. Publications cover a range of broad subject areas—arson, corporate crime and fraud, corrections, courts, crime prevention, cybercrime, drugs, organised/transnational crime, policing, property crime, sex crimes, social groups and crime, and violence. There are approximately 4,000 AIC publications on the website, and nearly 3,000 conference and seminar papers.

During 2014–15, AIC publication landing pages were viewed over 1.1 million times, approximately 45 percent of site usage.

Over the past five years the utility of the AIC website has increased, with a 75 percent increase in new users of the site and a similar increase in sessions. This may be explained by the boost in social media alerts. The AIC now has more than 20,000 subscribers across three platforms—subscriber alert emails, Facebook and Twitter—who are sent a direct link to publication titles or pages that may interest them, thereby expanding the number of users but reducing their need to access a number of pages to reach their search target.

Table 9 illustrates the amount of web traffic directed to specific publications and pages, and indicate which pages are most accessed across the 2.3 million page views. Publications constituted just over 45 percent of web usage.

As a resource, items on the AIC website are widely linked. There are 76,645 links back to the AIC site—72,225 links to www.aic.gov.au and 4,420 links to aic.gov.au. These figures may not include links within other organisations’ library catalogues and private intranets, or where they have requested to download or reprint material.

Graphic 1: Referals to AIC website from social media by sessions (n)

Graphic 2: Devices used to access AIC website by sessions

After the home page, the next most linked page is currently T&I 407 Public judgement on sentencing: Final results from the Tasmanian Jury Sentencing Study, authored by the current Governor of Tasmania, with 3,692 links.

Google has indexed 10,617 URLS from the AIC website. Google webmaster tools report the following number of publicly accessible links spread across the source domains in column 3. Privately run or more secure websites such as library catalogues, while inaccessible to Google’s crawlers, may contain many more links to AIC publications. The most linked items contain several influential chapters and presentations from much earlier AIC publications and events.

Table 7: Web sessions and page views, 2010–11 and 2014–15 comparison
Sessions Users Pageviews
2010–11 671,475 429,023 2,140,734
2014–15 1,072,327 754,771 2,361,706
Table 8: AIC publications performance 2014–15
Title Pageviews
Australian crime: Facts & Figures: 2013 70,753
What makes juvenile offenders different from adult offenders? (T&I 409, 2011) 30,235
Key issues in domestic violence (RIP 7, 2009) 28,489
Misperceptions about child sex offenders (T&I 429, 2011) 26,003
Effective crime prevention interventions for implementation by local government (RPP 120, 2012) 38,988
Key issues in alcohol-related violence (RIP 4, 2009) 22056
Australian threshold quantities for ‘drug trafficking’: Are they placing drug users at risk of unjustified sanction? (T&I 467, 2014) 16,601
Australian crime: Facts & figures 2012 15,979
The societal costs of alcohol misuse in Australia (T&I 454, 2013) 13,622
Children’s exposure to domestic violence in Australia (T&I 419, 2011) 26,921
Table 9: AIC most-linked content
Pages Links Source domains
aic.gov.au 17,641 1,760
Public judgement on sentencing: Final results from the Tasmanian Jury Sentencing Study (T&I 407, 2011) 3,692 21
Labour trafficking (RPP 108, 2010) 2,641 12
ACT Family Violence Intervention Program review (TBP 52, 2012) 2,249 7
Indigenous perpetrators of violence: Prevalence and risk factors for offending (RPP 105, 2010) 2,015 34
Non-disclosure of violence in Australian Indigenous communities (T&I 405, 2011) 1,945 30
Homicide statistics page 1,879 386
Key issues in alcohol related violence (RIP 4, 2009) 1,036 84
Working girls: Prostitutes, their life and social control—Chapter 1, Sex workers or scarlet women.html (1991) 870 5
Children and crime: Victims and offenders conference proceedings page (1999) 799 5
Wayward governance: Illegality and its control in the public sector—Chapter 2, Abuse of prisoners (1989) 694 31
Violent crime statistics page 631 197
Restoration for victims of crime conference proceedings—Victims of Bullying and post traumatic stress disorder (1999) 606 13
Trends & Issues publications landing page 476 59
Weapons in homicide statistics page 440 127
Homicide in Australia 2008–2010 (MR 21, 2015) 322 26
Misperceptions about child sex offenders (T&I 429, 2012) 303 102

Media

The AIC’s media engagement is both proactive, triggered by publications and events, and reactive, when journalists request information or interviews on general criminal justice topics. Fewer media contacts occurred in the 2014–15 period than in previous years, which may be attributed to one less major conference during this time, and some delays in the publication of AIC products during March and April. Over the year there were 262 media contacts with 72 interviews.

Graphic 3: AIC in the news

Social media

The AIC embraced Web 2.0 policy quickly after it was promulgated by government, and has been at the forefront of the public sector in developing a vibrant social media network to better disseminate its work, information collection and events.

Other Australian and international research agencies have requested briefings on the AIC’s social media footprint to assist them in developing their own systems. As of June 2015 the AIC has an online subscriber network of over 20,000 people as follows:

  • 12,100 Facebook followers;
  • 3,573 Twitter followers;
  • 3,928 Email Alert subscribers; and
  • 780 CriminologyTV YouTube subscribers.

There are over 260 AIC video files—lectures and seminars, keynote conference presentations, seminars and ACVPA awards—publically available on CriminologyTV to both subscribers and non-subscribers worldwide, expanding accessibility to AIC products substantially.

Graphic 4: Most viewed Flickr albums 2014–15

flickr views

15th International Symposium of the World Society of Victimology 2015: 335 views

14th Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect 2015: 287 views

Graphic 5: Top five tweets 2014–15

10,016 impressions 5,771 impressions

5,595 impressions 5,207 impressions 4,715 impressions

Graphic 6: Followers by year

LinkedIn
2013*: 0, 2014: 224, 2015: 702
213% increase 2014–15
*LinkedIn established November 2013

Twitter followers
2013: 2111, 2014: 2963, 2015: 3573
21% increase 2014–15

Facebook followers
2013: 3221, 2014: 6691, 2015: 12250
83% increase 2014–15

Email subscibers
2013: 3454*, 2014: 3773*, 2015: 3928
4% increase 2014–15
*Data corrected from previous report to reflect library subscribers move to Koha email system

YouTube followers
2013: 370, 2014: 616, 2015: 780
27% increase 2014–15

Graphic 7: Top YouTube videos 2014–15

Hayley Boxall: 592 views, Tony Krone: 288 views, Don Weatherburn: 282 views

Occasional seminars

Arresting Indigenous imprisonment—past failures and future solutions

Dr Don Weatherburn, Director, NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research—Thursday 10 July 2014

The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody blamed the high death rate of Indigenous Australians in custody on the fact that Aboriginal imprisonment rates were much higher than non-Aboriginal imprisonment rates. The commission made 339 recommendations to reduce this disparity. State and federal governments accepted all but one of the recommendations, and the Keating Government set aside $400 million ($672 million) to put them into effect.

The reforms were an abject failure. In 1992, the Indigenous imprisonment rate stood at 1,438 per 100,000 people. By 2013, it had climbed to 2,335 per 100,000 people, an increase of 62 per cent. The gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous imprisonment rates also widened. At the time of the Royal Commission, Indigenous Australians were about 14 times more likely to end up in prison than non-Indigenous Australians. By the end of 2013, they were 18 times more likely to end up in prison. Dr Weatherburn examined why efforts to reduce Indigenous imprisonment failed and what might be done in future to reduce the rate of Indigenous imprisonment.

Sport and corruption in Australia: a case of home-grown talent?

Dr Samantha Bricknell, Research Manager (Acting), Violence and Exploitation, Australian Institute of Criminology—8 August 2014

The association between sport and corruption has a long history, affecting a broad spectrum of sporting codes and involving a range of offenders who may work in tandem. Australian sport is not immune, and in recent years there have been a number of serious allegations of match-fixing, doping and the use of inside information to determine betting patterns.

This presentation examined some of these incidents to describe the nature of the corruption, the environment which engendered the corrupt behaviour and the extent to which these incidents were local events involving local actors. It also outlined some Australian legislative and policy responses to corruption in sport, and where situational crime prevention techniques may be further applied.

Criminology and history at the interface of research and teaching at ANU

Dr Carolyn Strange, Senior Fellow and Graduate Director, School of History, ANU—5 September 2014

ANU’s new Bachelor of Criminology Program advertises that it ‘addresses the causes, politics and management of criminality from a range of disciplinary perspectives’. Dr Carolyn Strange’s contribution to the program (Crime and justice: Historical dilemmas) uses a question-based approach. Rather than being a course on the history of criminology, it highlights the challenges faced by historical as well as contemporary criminal justice policy actors. What counts as crime? What is just punishment? Learning that the answers to such questions have varied significantly over time is one of the course’s prime objectives; the other is to encourage students to appreciate how understanding of the past can and ought to inform policymaking today. The presentation at the AIC illustrated these aims by focusing on one of the course topics: the history of parole.

The National Security and Preparedness Survey: Understanding how Australians see threat, perceived risk, and prepare for potential disaster in a post 9/11 environment

Dr Suzanna Fay-Ramirez, The University of QLD School of Social Science and Institute for Social Science Research—28 October 2014

The post 9/11 era has brought the anti-terrorism debate to domestic policy, and countries like the US, the UK and Australia, all with recent experiences of terrorism, have appealed to citizens to report suspicious behaviour to authorities. The expansion of what is a potential threat to a community is now linked to who we perceive to be a terrorist, how we estimate our own risk of being affected by a terrorism event and how we respond to government direction to prepare and participate in protecting the nation.

The National Security and Preparedness Survey aims to benchmark, for the first time, national attitudes towards risk and preparedness for both man-made and natural disasters; to understand how Australians perceive the effectiveness of post 9/11 national security measures; and to gauge what are perceived to be the largest threats to our nation’s security.

Engaging potential victims to reduce the impact of crime: The emergence of a proactive policing approach to combat online fraud

Dr Cassandra Cross, Lecturer with the School of Justice at the Queensland University of Technology—20 May 2015

Online fraud poses a significant cost to Australian society. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recorded reported losses totalling $89 million in 2013. Given the acknowledged under-reporting of this crime, this figure is likely to represent only a small percentage of actual losses. It also does not account for the substantial non-financial losses experienced by victims in the aftermath of the crime.

Given the challenges associated with investigating online fraud from an enforcement perspective, Australia has witnessed the emergence of a proactive police model that uses financial intelligence to notify potential victims of their likely involvement in fraud. This attempts to reduce the harm and loss experienced by potential victims, who may not even realise they are being defrauded. It represents a significant shift in policing, from a focus on the alleged offender to a focus on the potential victim. This has benefits for both police and victims alike. This presentation detailed the emergence of this proactive approach to online fraud and provided examples from across Australia to illustrate how police and other agencies are actively making a difference in combating online fraud.

2014 Student Forum

Either the high quality of the AIC’s annual student forum is becoming more recognised in the tertiary criminal justice studies sector or the 2014 advertised program hit the mark for many Australian criminology and law students, because over 200 students from all over Australia registered their interest in the 2014 student forum. The sessions were spread over two days, on July 4 and July 7, allowing more than 90 students to attend.

Presentations were tailored to examine the researching of crime types and also explore tricky issues around research, such as ethics and methodologies. Deputy Director Research, Dr Rick Brown, asked the presenters to highlight areas where methodologies and research design threw up difficulties, or where results may not be applicable to policy, and discuss what to do in these situations. The student audience heard how the AIC approaches problem-solving and, sometimes, deals with results that do not match client expectations.

Highlight: Conferences

More than 1,000 people attended AIC events during 2014–15. Quality conferences in the criminal justice and criminology fields are a major research dissemination platform, and the AIC Communications section developed and facilitated two outstanding conferences during this time.

Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect (ACCAN), Auckland, March 2015

Cultural responsiveness in a multi-agency world was the theme of the 14th ACCAN held in Auckland in March 2015. Our conference partners were the NZ Government Department of Social Development and Department of Child, Youth and Family.

The 520 government and non-government practitioners, social workers, doctors, police, lawyers and researchers who deal with identifying and counteracting child abuse and protecting vulnerable children attended the four-day conference, which was opened by the acting Governor-General of New Zealand, Her Excellency Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias.

The overarching theme recognised the complexities of child abuse and neglect and the need to engage across sectors, agencies and professions to best prevent and address child maltreatment. Equally importantly, current systems of addressing child abuse and neglect were examined, as the organisers were keen to evolve them to work effectively and in culturally responsive ways with indigenous people and those of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

The Tangata Whenua, or Maori, concept of Tiaki, in this context inferring Tiaki Mokopuna, was chosen as a symbol for this conference. This is an indigenous cultural principle that asserts the collective roles, responsibilities and obligations to care for, make safe, protect and support children and young people within healthy families.

Like all AIC conferences, ACCAN was an ideal professional development opportunity for many child protection workers and police, as well as a forum to discuss the latest research and practice around child abuse and neglect. The AIC conference unit was partnered by staff of the NZ Department of Social Development, including the Maori Advisers for the NZ Government, to tailor a conference that properly explored the complex themes.

Attendees heard from a number of strong keynote speakers, including:

  • Justice Peter McClellan AM, Chair of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse;
  • Professor Des Runyan, Jack and Viki Thompson Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Colorado and Executive Director of the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect;
  • Dr Russell Wills, NZ Children’s Commissioner;
  • Professor Kate Morris, Director of the Centre for Social Work at the University of Nottingham;
  • Dr Leland A Ruwhiu & Moana Eruera, Principal Advisers Māori for the Ministry of Social Development; and
  • Professor Nicola Atwool of Otago University and Dr Patrick Kelly of Starship Children’s Hospital, Auckland.

Multi-agency and cross-cultural challenges around child protection were examined through seven keynote presentations, three expert panels and 20 workshops and symposia ranging across legal, paediatric and social welfare and support issues, with 115 concurrent papers.

This conference considered how organisations, both government and non-government, worked together to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children. Delegates from many different agencies and countries shared their best ideas about improving policy, practice and research and how we can tackle the problem of child abuse and neglect together.

ACCAN is generally a biennial event. This was the second New Zealand conference; the last was held in 2006.

World Society of Victimology (WSV) International Symposium, Perth, 5–9 July 2015

This major international biennial congress was held at the Perth Convention centre from 5–9 July 2015 and attracted around 280 participants. The previous symposium was held in The Hague in 2012.The AIC was involved in this event as both conference supporter and professional conference organiser. The AIC increased its involvement with the scientific committee to ensure quality and provided guidance on speakers and the program.

The conference was formally opened on its first full day by the Western Australian Attorney General and Minister for Commerce, the Hon Michael Mischin MLC. The theme of the symposium was Victimisation, justice and healing: challenging orthodoxies. A number of national and international speakers provided keynote addresses, including:

  • Professor Sandra Walklate, an internationally recognised expert in victimology—particularly around criminal victimisation and the fear of crime—from the University of Liverpool’s Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology;
  • Professor Eric Stover, Director of the Human Rights Center and Adjunct Professor of Law and Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, who presented Advantages and disadvantages of a victim-centred approach at international criminal courts;
  • Commissioner Helen Milroy from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, who spoke about Supporting survivors of institutional child sexual abuse: learnings from the Royal Commission;
  • Michael O’Connell, Commissioner for Victims’ Rights and Secretary-General of the WSV;
  • Professor Robert Peacock, from the University of the Free State and Vice President of the WSV, spoke on A victimological exploration of the African values of Ubuntu;
  • Dr Ann O’Neill, Chairperson, Founder, Patron and Clinical Supervisor of angelhands Inc presented What do victims/survivors tell us they need to help them heal?;
  • Helen Sworn, Founder and Executive Director of Chab Dai, Cambodia spoke on Challenging present responses to victims: A case for long term focus and research; and
  • Dr K Jaishankar, Senior Assistant Professor of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, India spoke on Cybercrime victimisation: New wine into old wineskins.

There were eight keynote addresses, six of them international; seven workshops; two symposia; 92 concurrent sessions; six site visits to government and non-government organisations that assisted victims; panel discussions; and a conference dinner.

Topics discussed at the symposium included:

  • new forms of victimisation in the 21st century;
  • working together—improving responses and systemic reform;
  • evidencing and/or facilitating recovery for victims of crime, their families and communities;
  • responding to (and researching) the needs of vulnerable or oppressed populations;
  • current thinking on and approaches toward the prevention of and responses to violent victimisation; and
  • victims of global and transnational crime.

conference images

Top row, from left: Delegates at the 14th Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect 2015, Her Excellency Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias openning ACCAN 2015.

Second row, from left: 3. Keynote speaker Justice Peter McClellan AM at ACCAN 2015, Welcome to Country ceremony, WSV 2015, Sunday opening speaker Rabia Siddique at WSV 2015.

Information services and library

The AIC’s Information Services section, centred around the JV Barry Library, is essential to the Institute’s role as the national knowledge centre on crime and criminal justice through its provision of information to practitioners, policymakers, academics, students and the general public. The Information Services team also offers fundamental support to AIC researchers, particularly by anticipating their research requirements and proactively sourcing new and authoritative material.

Services for stakeholders

The library maintains and promotes a significant specialist criminology information collection for the nation. Services that inform the sector include:

  • maintaining and developing the CINCH database;
  • providing links to new external information sources through the AIC website;
  • alerting subscribers, by email and RSS feed, to developments in their subject areas;
  • responding to enquiries from an array of law enforcement and justice personnel, researchers, other practitioners, students and the public; and
  • providing hardcopy and electronic materials through national and networked interlibrary loan schemes—lending considerably more than is borrowed.

Additions to the CINCH database and Libraries Australia were consistent with previous years.

CINCH: The Australian Criminology Database

The CINCH bibliographic database is compiled and maintained by the AIC’s Information Services staff. The database is one of a family of index databases that can be accessed via Informit (see http://informit.com.au for more information). CINCH aims to collate all new material about crime and criminal justice in Australasia—books, reports, journal articles, websites, conference proceedings and papers—with high-quality subject indexing and abstracts. CINCH records are also available in the JV Barry Library’s catalogue on the AIC website.

CINCH has been established for over 40 years and is very well known, among university students and academics in particular, as the key compendium for Australian criminology and criminal justice literature. During the year 1,434 new records were added to the database, bringing the total at the end of June 2015 to 64,396 records. In Australia and New Zealand, CINCH subscribers include 43 academic institutions, 14 government departments, the National Library of Australia and all state libraries. The British Library also subscribes to CINCH.

Drug Index

The library has created a drug-related database as part of an RMIT-funded pilot project established to provide access to open-source Australian alcohol- and other drug-related resources. RMIT is now market testing this product.

Networking across sectors

In 2014–15, over 700 loans and article copies were exchanged through the interlibrary loans service. Partner libraries from agencies in the law enforcement, university, government, health and community sectors maintain strong reciprocal networks, and the AIC is a member of the Libraries Australia Document Delivery service. This service minimises duplication of resources while maximising the effectiveness and specialisation of library collections across the nation.

Information Services contributes news from Australia and overseas to the CrimNet email discussion list for criminal justice researchers, practitioners and policymakers in Australia. It also gives notice of new AIC publications and events to Australian Policy Online, and through other email discussion lists and the World Criminal Justice Libraries Network. Further, as a member of the Australian Government Libraries Information Network, the library promotes AIC research and provides professional input in the national information management arena.

Information Services also makes contributions to most of the Institute’s conferences, forums, visiting delegations and seminars—with library presentations, tours and training, tailored subject alert handouts, information booth hosting and other liaison activities. During 2014–15, the JV Barry Library supplied over 500 individual articles and books to other libraries across Australia (see Figure 10).

Stakeholder and public enquiries

The JV Barry Library is the first point of contact for telephone and email enquiries from external stakeholders and the public. The Information Services team responded to a diverse range of requests, providing literature searches, guidance to AIC web-based statistics and information sources, referrals to supporting agencies and responses to questions.

The majority of external responses to enquiries that came through the front desk phone and email service were to stakeholders (33%) and academics (24%). Most of the more extensive responses (those taking over an hour) reflected our stakeholders’ recognition that the AIC can assist with complex subject matter.

The percentage of external requests made to Information Services by sector, 2014–15, were:

  • law enforcement, justice and corrections (33%);
  • public (22%);
  • university academics and students (24%);
  • media (8%); and
  • law, business and others (13%).

Examples of the types of external enquiries in 2014–15 included:

  • a state correctional service looking for information to assist in raising awareness of the need to prioritise domestic and family violence within a corrections setting;
  • a doctoral student from Italy investigating organised cybercrime across the world;
  • a community support organisation wanting information about intellectual or mental disability or impairment and the criminal justice system;
  • a state health department seeking statistics regarding numbers of prostitution or related offences, and offences proven for prostitution;
  • a building contractor seeking information on property crime on building sites;
  • a state minister’s office seeking post-release mortality rates of detainees; and
  • a justice department seeking information on over-policing of Indigenous communities.

In 2014–15 a research librarian was situated in the Research area as a dedicated resource for conducting literature searches and assisting with information requests. This was successful and resulted in an increase in the time spent directly assisting researchers. Over 700 hours were spent on significant enquiries this year, compared to less than 300 hours in the previous year.

The breakdown of material supplied to other agencies—over 500 items—reflects positively on the usefulness of the collection content (see Figure 10). A new library catalogue, Koha, has recently been introduced to the Library to enhance its online capability.

Crime and justice awareness alerts

Contemporary, evidence-based information is disseminated to thousands of practitioners and policymakers worldwide via the Institute’s monthly email crime and justice information alerts (see Table 12). This free service is provided to over 2,500 individual subscribers, an increase in individual subscribers of 29 percent over last year.

Reach and influence

The AIC has a profound influence on criminological research and policy development across multiple jurisdictions, nationally and internationally. Crime and justice researchers and practitioners, international organisations and parliaments continue to utilise AIC publications from the 1970s, right through to the most recent publications. Appendix 3 lists a sample of external citations of AIC research works in 2014–15.

While there is a view in some policy circles that only more contemporary research material is relevant, the demonstrated widespread and continued use of AIC research reports spanning four decades shows that governments and policymakers should not underestimate the body of work of any research institution or library on which researchers, teachers and writers rely for their current activities.

Academic writing published in the last 12 months has referenced earlier AIC research, notably:

  • Carach C & Grana A 1999. Imprisonment in Australia: Trends in prison populations & imprisonment rates 1982–1998. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology;
  • Mouzos J 1999. Femicide: the killing of women in Australia 1989–1998. Australian Institute of Criminology Research and Public Policy Series Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology;
  • Mouzos J 2000. Homicidal encounters: a study of homicide in Australia 1989–1999. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology; and
  • Bayley D 1999. Capacity building in law enforcement. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology.

Four of the AIC’s 10 most linked pages are from the 1990s and the 1980s, all with between 600 and 800 links:

  • Working girls: prostitutes, their life and social control—Chapter 1, Sex workers or scarlet women? (1991);
  • Children and crime: victims and offenders conference proceedings page (1999);
  • Wayward governance: illegality and its control in the public sector—Chapter 2, The abuse of prisoners in New South Wales 1943–76 (1989); and
  • Restoration for victims of crime conference proceedings—Victims of bullying and post-traumatic stress disorder (1999).

There are many other linked documents spanning decades of criminological research.

Distribution and reach of publications

In addition to producing timely and relevant research for the law and justice sector, the AIC facilitates understanding through knowledge transfer across a range of legal and criminological areas.

ProQuest, GALE and Ebsco are database providers that host a large range of information products for academic, school, public, corporate and government agencies around the world, and their distribution of AIC material gives an indication of its reach. Their statistics show that the Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice series is referenced and downloaded by educational institutions around the world. Proquest revealed over 16,000 downloads in 50 different countries, mostly by the academic and government sectors in Australasia and the United States. The reach of the AIC’s information distribution systems is worldwide. Alerts on publications and events are distributed via the Communications section using email subscriber lists, RSS feeds, Twitter and Facebook.

Figure 3: Breakdown of items supplied to other libraries

Figure 4: Citations of AIC works

Table 10: Information Services activity, 2013–15
Activity 2013–14 2014-15
Inquiry responses <15 mins 1,870 870
Hours spent on complex queries 272 749
Records added to CINCH 1,199 1,434
Monographs added to collection 445 454
Original records to Libraries Australia 443 453
Journal articles supplied by other libraries 79 138
Journal articles supplied to other libraries 583 398
Items loaned to other libraries 121 108
Items borrowed from other libraries 51 54
Alerts titles disseminated 17 18
Table 11: Information awareness alert email subscriptions by topic, 2013–15
Information subject alert Subscribers 2013–14 Subscribers 2014–15
All 1,165 1,380
Alcohol and violence 296 344
Child abuse and protection 319 377
Community safety 237 278
Crime prevention 473 535
Crimes against the environment 91 111
Cybercrime 297 335
Domestic and family violence NAa 460
Drugs and crime 385 334
Evaluation 285 257
Financial crime 225 257
Homicide 227 268
Indigenous justice 240 338
Juvenile justice 303 320
People trafficking 268 326
Recidivism and desistance 298 412
Serious and organised crime 384 355
Victims of crime 306 446

a: No figure is available for this subject alert for 2013–14 as this is a recently added alert category