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Brief: December 2009

ISSN 1836-8026
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, December 2009

2009 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention AwardsMinister for Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor with the 2009 ACVPA winners.

Eight projects involving young offenders and youth at risk, Indigenous communities, religious congregations, police and community health and safety organisations have won national recognition at the 2009 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards (ACVPA).

The awards were presented by Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor at a ceremony hosted by the Australian Institute of Criminology at Parliament House in Canberra on 29 October.

The winning projects, selected from a field of 60 national nominations, this year focused on domestic violence, youth, alcohol-related crime and community safety.

The ACVPA is a joint initiative of the Australian, State and Territory governments which rewards outstanding community-based projects that prevent or reduce crime and violence.

The winning projects demonstrated outstanding results in crime prevention, including drops in crime rates or offending of up to 83 percent, and a common theme of partnerships and harnessing community involvement.

Each project was awarded a certificate, with some national winners also receiving cash awards of $10,000 or $15,000.

The 2009 national winning projects

The Weld To Life Program (WA):
An intervention strategy for young offenders and youth at risk led by the Rockingham Police & Community Youth Clubs that teaches valuable hands-on work skills for careers in the metals trades and has achieved an 83 percent reduction in offending by participants.

It All Starts At Home (Vic):
A project led by Melbourne's Inner South Community Health Service, which works with abusive adolescents and their parents to break the cycle of inter-familial violence and increase community awareness of the issue.

Time For Kids Placement Program (SA):
Operating since 1960 to assist more than 4500 disadvantaged children and families throughout South Australia by providing respite care for positive childhood experiences and a break from stressful home life.

Promoting Peace In Families (Vic):
A community partnership in Melbourne's City of Casey uniting government, public health services and faith leaders from various denominations and ethnic groups to stop domestic violence.

Under The Limit Drink Driving Education and Rehabilitation Program (Qld):
A state-wide drink driving prevention and rehabilitation program which has delivered a 55 percent reduction in subsequent drink driving behaviour by serious repeat offenders.

Fitzroy Crossing Liquor Restriction Enforcement—Kartiya Future, Brighter Future (WA):
A project which has empowered a remote community by limiting the sale of full-strength alcohol to achieve an 11 percent reduction in drink driving and 28 percent reduction in domestic violence.

Strike Force Piccadilly (NSW):
A partnership between NSW Police and private sector stakeholders which successfully halted the spread of automatic teller machine ram raids.

Frankston Police, Mission Australia and Community Youth Assist Program (Vic):
A program which develops action plans for vulnerable youth, their parents and social services which has diverted a significant number of young people from contact with the criminal justice system.


Welcome to the third edition of brief, the newsletter of the Australian Institute of Criminology.

The past three months have been a busy time for the Institute, which has collaborated successfully with a number of partners to conduct major conferences on Indigenous young people, crime and justice in Sydney, drug use and crime in Adelaide, and a regional forum on labour trafficking in New Zealand. The AIC also hosted the 2009 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards, presented by Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor, at Parliament House in Canberra. You can read more about these and upcoming events being organised by the Institute in this issue or on the AIC website. I congratulate the many award winners. As Chair of the ACVPA Board it was tremendous to receive a more detailed brief on the many projects which are quietly doing good quality crime prevention across the nation.

The Institute has recently made a number of changes to help streamline and improve its research publication processes. The Style Guide has been updated and a one-page policy which describes the publications process has been produced for authors. We are also beginning a rationalisation of our publications series to reduce them from the current set of 12 different series. Flagship series such as Trends and Issues, Research and Public Policy and the recently introduced Monitoring Report series will remain as before, but a number of smaller, fact-sheet series such as Crime Facts Info, TDirector Adam Tomisonransnational Crime Briefs, Bushfire Arson Bulletins and High Tech Crime Briefs will be phased out. Existing publications will remain on the AIC website but future such publications will be produced in a variety of formats under the AIC's Research in Practice series banner. This will allow for greater flexibility with the formats and types of research which the AIC can consider for publication.

I am pleased to report that there is currently a lot of interest in creating formal research partnerships with the AIC. I have met a number of times with stakeholders at the Australian Institute of Family Studies, Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency, Australian Crime Commission, AUSTRAC, CrimTrac and the Australian Bureau of Statistics; and I recently led a senior research delegation to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in order to explore greater research linkages. I have also been able to meet with some of our university partners including the Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security, the ANU Regulatory Institutions Network, Griffith University's School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the Crime Research Centre at the University of Western Australia to explore closer ties. In future editions I look forward to providing an update on new research collaborations and research projects we are currently developing.

Finally, I would note that Dr Judy Putt, General Manager-Research recently left the Institute. I take this opportunity to thank her for her service and wish her well in the next stage of her career.

On behalf of the Institute, I would like to wish all of our stakeholders and friends best wishes for the summer holiday season. We look forward to working with you all in the New Year.

Adam Tomison


National drug use and crime conference

The Australian Institute of Criminology and the South Australian Attorney-General's Department hosted a national conference on drug use, crime and their impact on the community and the criminal justice system, at the Hilton Hotel in Adelaide in September.

In 2008, 64 percent of police detainees tested positive to at least one drug. Of these, 43 percent attributed at least some of their offending to their drug use. Additionally, 62 percent of police detainees had used alcohol 48 hours prior to arrest. These results highlight the important relationship between drug and alcohol misuse and crime; an issue that brought more than 100 policy makers and practitioners in the criminal justice system together in Adelaide for this event. Figure 1 DUMA detainee test positive results, by site, 2008 (%)

The conference provided an excellent opportunity for individuals and relevant agencies to engage in discussion about current drug, alcohol and crime-related issues, as well as future policy and research priorities. It also encouraged discussion about some of the most recent Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) results, to be released in the forthcoming DUMA annual report. In particular, delegates discussed at length the implications of between-jurisdictional differences in detainee drug use, including implications for policing and correctional management. Figure 1 highlights a selection of the important indicator data discussed at the conference. It shows that in 2008, detainees in Darwin were more likely than in any other location to test positive for cannabis, yet had among the lowest rates of amphetamine and heroin use. Conversely, heroin use in Footscray (Melbourne) was the highest of all DUMA sites, where nearly half of all detainees tested positive for the drug. Amphetamine use was highest in East Perth, followed by Adelaide and Brisbane.

Other major themes of the conference included drug and alcohol trends among offenders, the links between mental health and drugs among women, the role of geography in understanding crime and drug markets, the impact of drugs on communities and the role of criminal justice interventions in reducing drug-related crime.

Keynote speaker, retired Californian Superior Court judge and South Australian Government Adelaide Thinker in Residence, Peggy Fulton Hora, presented the US approach to responding to offenders with drug and alcohol problems, and led a number of discussion forums on the role of courts and corrective service agencies in managing drug dependent offenders, focusing on drug courts, therapeutic jurisprudence and addiction management in the criminal justice system.

Other keynote speakers included Amber Migus from the Australian Crime Commission; Dr Astrid Birgden, Director, NSW Compulsory Drug Treatment Correctional Centre; Professor Ann Roche, Flinders University and Michael O'Connell, South Australia's Commissioner for Victims' Rights.

The conference presentation papers are available on the AIC website at upcoming events/2009/duma.aspx

Indigenous young people, crime and justice conferenceIndigenous young people, crime and justice conference

More than 170 delegates from around Australia attended the Australian Institute of Criminology's first Indigenous young people, crime and justice conference on 31 August in Parramatta.

The conference was opened by federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland and hosted in partnership with the NSW Attorney General's Department, the Australian Human Rights Commission and the NSW Commission for Children and Young People.

Indigenous young people continue to be over-represented at all levels of the criminal justice system and there is a pressing need to alleviate the cycles of disadvantage, poor health, education and employment outcomes experienced by young Indigenous Australians.

The diverse range of stakeholders at the conference made for dynamic sessions, focusing on the many issues facing Indigenous youth and knowledge sharing between governments, law enforcement, the criminal justice system, social and welfare agencies and non-government and community organisations.

The program for the two-day conference illustrated the depth of experience being shared and included:

Professor Chris Cunneen, who identified the barriers for Indigenous reintegration post imprisonment, the need for more Indigenous specific programs and major issues with Indigenous people's contact with the criminal justice system and corrections.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma, speaking on the need for justice re-investment and diverting funds away from corrections and into preventative strategies in disadvantaged communities.

Associate Professor Anna Stewart, who discussed what administrative data reveals about pathways into the juvenile justice system and the effectiveness of diversion.

Brendan Thomas, Assistant Director General, Crime Prevention and Community Programs, NSW Attorney General's Department, who outlined the ways in which the Department is addressing issues around Indigenous juvenile offending. Indigenous young people, crime and justice conference

Dr Tracy Westerman, an expert in Indigenous psychology, shared the challenges associated with using western psychological assessment tools for Indigenous Australians.

Gerard Neesham, who told his story of using Australian Rules Football as a mechanism for building self-respect and confidence, and pathways out of offending.

The second day of the conference was opened by Gillian Calvert AO, Acting Commissioner for Children and Young People (NSW), who congratulated delegates for their commitment to addressing the issues of Indigenous over-representation in the criminal justice system and ensuring Indigenous children and young people stay connected to their culture and communities.

There were a number of positive outcomes identified, particularly with regard to programs that have been working for Indigenous young people such as the innovative Black on Track and Red Dust Healing programs.

Both programs focus on healing and encourage Indigenous young people to embrace their story and make steps towards fulfilling healthy and sustainable life goals. These programs, and many others shared at the conference, highlighted new and successful strategies for engaging Indigenous young people to remove themselves from lives of criminal activity.

AIC Director Adam Tomison said a number of factors around the treatment of Indigenous young people by the criminal justice system were identified at the conference.

'While there is a need for further research to identify priority areas for service delivery, of most importance is the need to move beyond rhetoric and discussions of the problem towards a more active application of preventative measures that reduce the number of Indigenous young people coming into contact with the criminal justice system, as well as alternative pathways and strategies away from criminality,' Dr Tomison said.

Recent research publications

from the AIC

AICrime Reduction Matters

  • Using CCTV to reduce antisocial behaviour
    Personal security in public places has become an area of increasing concern to governments in the past 10 years in Australia and overseas. One response has been a significant increase in the use of closed circuit television (CCTV) in densely populated areas such as central business districts and entertainment districts to monitor the behaviour of individuals and as a deterrent and opportunity reduction measure.

Bushfire Arson Bulletins

  • Copycat or serial arson?
  • The changing meaning of arson in Australia
  • Patterns in bushfire arson
  • Weekly patterns in bushfire ignitions
  • Law enforcement levels and bushfire arson rates

Crime Facts Info Sheets

  • Prior imprisonment by Indigenous status
  • Indigenous imprisonment rates

Monitoring Reports

  • Juveniles' contact with the criminal justice system in Australia
    This report presents the first collection of data on juveniles' contact with the criminal justice system as both alleged/convicted offenders and complainants/victims in various Australian jurisdictions. It outlines data on juveniles' contact with the policing, courts and correctional systems to determine what we do and do not know about juveniles' contact with the criminal justice system.
  • Trafficking in persons monitoring report July 2007 – December 2008
    This report refers to factors that both contribute to the risk of people trafficking and hamper efforts to identify and prevent it. These include the limited capacity and effectiveness of fragile or developing states to combat any form of exploitation and transnational crime and the push and pull sociopolitical and economic factors that underpin the movement of people from one place to another.

Technical and Background Papers

  • The specific deterrent effect of custodial penalties on juvenile reoffending
    It is known that more than two-thirds of the young people who receive a control order from the NSW Children's Court are convicted of a further offence within two years of their custodial order. This study explores this and the effect of custodial sentences on juvenile recidivism.

Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice

  • Mental health, abuse, drug use and crime: does gender matter? T&I 384 cover
    Using data from the Australian Institute of Criminology's Drug Use Monitoring in Australia program, this study explores the relationship between drug use, offending, mental health and experiences of child abuse among a sample of police detainees.
  • Challenges in mainstreaming specialty courts
    Problem-oriented justice seeks to incorporate innovative court practices to tackle offenders' behaviour and problems associated with offending. This paper presents an overview of the challenges associated with implementing aspects of specialty courts in the mainstream criminal justice system.
  • Consumer fraud in Australia: costs, rates and awareness of the risks in 2008
    This paper examines the current evidence of the cost, extent and awareness of consumer fraud in Australia and compares the findings of the Australian Bureau of Statistics survey with those gathered by the Australian Institute of Criminology during the annual fraud awareness-raising activities conducted by the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce.
  • Moving knowledge into action: applying social marketing principles to crime prevention
    Social marketing has been a significant force in the public health field in Australia for more than two decades. It is a key component in the promotion of engagement in health protection behaviours, early detection programs and the promotion of individual health behaviour change. This paper considers the potential application of social marketing principles to crime prevention.
  • Child complainants and the court process in Australia
    In recent years, it has been recognised that child complainants in the criminal justice system can experience difficulties over and above those of other complainants and that children can experience the court process as extremely traumatising. This paper examines the court processes and initiatives aimed at assisting child complainants and their impact.

Annual Reports

  • Australian Institute of Criminology Annual Report 2008–09
  • Criminology Research Council Annual Report 2008–09

How to order AIC publications

All recent publications are available for free download from the AIC website. Or complete a publications order form from

Occasional Seminars at the AIC

An important part of the Australian Institute of Criminology's role in promoting justice and reducing crime is through the communication of evidence-based research to inform policy and practice.

The Institute communicates research through the publication of reports on the AIC website and through their distribution to Australian and international libraries and policy and research agencies, by conducting or arranging conferences and other forums around Australia and overseas, and through the Occasional Seminars held at our offices in the central Canberra suburb of Griffith.

Seminars are conducted by eminent researchers and practitioners in criminal justice or related fields and cover a diverse range of topics.

The audience at the AIC's final presentation of the year in November, Vulnerable People Policing: inclusion or exclusion of target groups? heard Charles Sturt University's Dr Isabelle Bartkowiak-Théron outline the emergence of Vulnerable People Policing as a new model in community policing and ask the question whether we are engaging with these people as to how best to police them, or are imposing a new form of policing on communities with little or no consultation.

The seminars usually involve a 30-minute presentation in the Institute's conference room, followed by a question and answer session. Refreshments are provided and the Institute often holds events during lunch hours to allow visitors to fit the event conveniently into their working day.

Presentations are recorded and posted on the AIC's website, to enable those unable to attend to see and hear the presentation after the event.

The Institute actively welcomes offers from researchers, academics, policymakers and practitioners, to present their work to the Institute's audience, which usually features a high percentage of criminology researchers and federal and ACT government departmental staff.

Email alerts are distributed to AIC stakeholders to promote each event. To add yourself to the Institute's email distribution list, subscribe on the home page of our website at or contact AIC Events on 02 6260 9272.

The Institute hosted 11 seminars this year, including:

Professor Adam Graycar

Corruption and control
Professor Adam Graycar, former Director of the AIC and now Dean of the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University.

Michael Outram

Australian Crime Commission: illicit drug data report
Michael Outram, Executive Director, Intelligence & Investigation Programs, Australian Crime Commission.

Professor Meredith Edwards

The use of research in policy making: demand and supply challenges
Professor Meredith Edwards, University of Canberra.

David Turner

Justice research and modelling in New Zealand
David Turner, Director of Research, Evaluation and Modelling in the New Zealand Ministry of Justice.

Jack Harne and Jack Russo

Emerging technologies for community corrections
Jack Harne and Jack Russo, US National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center.

Heather Nancarrow

Implementation of the National Council's plan for Australia to reduce violence against women and their children
Heather Nancarrow, Deputy-Chair of the National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children.

Global, Economic and Electronic Crime Program

The Australian Institute of Criminology has had an enduring interest in researching white collar crime since its inception, dedicating a devoted group of researchers to this and related crime types for over a decade. In 1996, funding was obtained from Telstra to begin research into what was then known as 'digital crime'. This enabled the 'Sophisticated Crime Program', as it was then known, to examine the nature, incidence and control of what we now call 'technology-enabled crime' or 'cybercrime'. Since then, research interests have developed to include fraud and other economic crimes as well as aspects of regulatory non-compliance.

In August 2004, the Sophisticated Crime, Regulation and Business Program changed its name to become the Global, Economic & Electronic Crime Program (GEEC) which, with additional staff, expanded its interests to other economic and transnational crime problems—the most recent of which include money laundering, financing of terrorism, consumer fraud and crime against the Commonwealth.

The specific projects undertaken within these broad categories are diverse and include a range of serious and organised crime risk assessments carried out for other government agencies and private sector organisations, as well as the provision of advice on preventive and regulatory responses that can be taken to minimise risks for government, business and the community. Examples include identity crime, fraud against government agencies, plastic card fraud, environmental crime and attacks against national infrastructure. The focus is predominantly on Australia, although many projects involve international comparative research designed to inform our knowledge of risks and responses in a global context.

Over the next six months the AIC will be releasing a number of reports prepared by GEEC researchers related to anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing. These include a global environmental scan of the literature and the results of Australia-wide and international consultations, research on the use of alternative remittance systems in Australia, the problem of illegal logging in Indonesia, and a comprehensive review of risks of money laundering faced by the professions.

The most important report currently being prepared will present the results of a national census of businesses regulated under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth). Responses from over 4,000 businesses have been collected on issues to do with the operation of and attitudes to this regulatory regime, costs of compliance and suggestions for improving its operation. The findings will assist Australian government agencies in ensuring that this risk-based regime is both effective in achieving its aims, and efficient in its operation. Dr Russell Smith

Other forthcoming GEEC publications include papers on the risks of financing of terrorism in Australia, crime risks of carbon pollution reduction schemes, the influence of the global financial crisis on fraud, and an extensive review of the environmental crime literature. A number of new projects are also being developed in the areas of cyber-security and public sector fraud, as well as continuing research on money laundering and consumer scams.

Image: Principal criminologist Russell Smith speaking at the International Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing conference in Sydney.

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