Annual report 2009/10
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, 2010
- Full report (PDF 2MB)
Crimnology Research Council Annual Report
The year in review
This has been a productive year with the Criminology Research Council (CRC) performing well and successfully continuing to support the field of criminological research.
There were five new research grants approved during the year, consisting of an interesting range of research relevant to current and future public policy issues.
The CRC also continued to support a number of existing research grants and consultancies. Three research grants were completed and provided final reports. These projects were:
- The use and impact of diversionary processes for reducing Indigenous over-representation.
- Improving jury understanding and use of DNA evidence.
- Crime in neighbourhoods: Individuals and families in context.
Two research grants were completed and provided final reports for approval in the new financial year. These projects were:
- Jury sentencing review.
- ID scanner in the night-time economy: Social sorting or social order?
A consultancy on correctional offender treatment programs was completed and is currently in the process of publication in the Research and Public Policy series.
One new council member was appointed this year—Kathy Leigh, replacing Renée Leon as Member for the Australian Capital Territory.
I would like to thank Council members for their hard work throughout the year and look forward to working with the members again as Chair in the next 12 months.
I would like to express my appreciation to Dr Julia Tresidder, the former academic adviser to the Council and to the staff of the Australian Institute of Criminology for their support and to the CRC Assessment Panel Members—Professor Roderic Broadhurst and Professor Rick Sarre.
Laurie Glanfield AMChairmanCriminology Research Council
The CRC was established by the Criminology Research Act 1971 and is an integral part of a state, territory and Australian Government approach to research on criminological issues in Australia today.
The principal objectives of the CRC are to support research which is relevant to current and future public policy issues, foster the undertaking of quality criminological research and ensure that CRC-supported research is disseminated effectively.
The CRC provides a forum for attorneys-general around Australia and their representatives to assess needs in the field of criminological research and to fund specific research projects in universities, government agencies and elsewhere. The fund receives contributions every year from the Australian Government and state and territory governments.
Research funded by the Council addresses the National Research Priorities in a number of ways. Priority Areas 4 and 2—Protecting Australia from terrorism and crime and Strengthening Australia’s social and economic fabric—are of particular relevance. Research has improved the evidence base for policy and practice, as well as public awareness of major types of offending, victimisation risk factors and effective measures to reduce and prevent crime.
The Council’s funds may be disseminated through the research grants program, as well as via a consultancy program. For its consultancies, the Council identifies topics of policy importance for research and then develops proposals which are publicly advertised. These consultancies are designed to meet highly specific objectives to which the Council has accorded priority. Such research, for example, could be designed to contribute to, or complement, the work of national initiatives by other organisations or state/territory initiatives which have clear policy or best practice implications for other governments within Australia.
Through the JV Barry library, the CRC-funded research reports are listed on Libraries Australia and also on CINCH—the Australian criminology database—which is publicly available online. With hundreds of libraries Australia-wide participating in Libraries Australia, CRC reports receive wide coverage. Details of CRC-funded projects and the reports submitted in fulfilment of the projects, are posted on the CRC’s website.
Under grant funding arrangements, grantees are able to distribute their final report themselves. Many researchers choose to publish in the form of reports and journal articles, making their research readily available to the broader community. They also distribute copies to appropriate government departments and agencies. Grantees also provide a draft paper which may be produced for publication in the AIC’s T&I series or, where appropriate, in the RPP series.
The CRC was established under s 34 of the Criminology Research Act 1971 as a body corporate. The functions of the CRC, as stated in s 40 of the Act, are:
to control and administer the Fund in accordance with Part IV and, for that purpose, to examine, and determine the relative importance and urgency of, projects for which the expenditure of moneys from the Fund may be authorised.
In the 2009–10 Portfolio Budget Statement, the CRC had one outcome:
Criminological research by funding projects relevant to the public policy of both Australian and State and Territory Governments.
The principal objective of the CRC is:
to support research which is relevant to current and future public policy issues, foster the undertaking of quality criminological research and ensure CRC-supported criminological research is disseminated effectively.
This is achieved by:
- consulting with Australian, state and territory governments to determine research priorities;
- providing monies to facilitate the conduct of, or otherwise supporting, impartial and policy-relevant research;
- keeping key stakeholders informed of Council activities;
- working cooperatively with Australian, state and territory government agencies and other organisations;
- regularly consulting with the Australian criminal justice community as to the activities and directions of the Council; and
- actively disseminating research findings to policymakers, practitioners and the general public, both in Australia and internationally.
The CRC’s deliverable is:
research reports based on identified needs and priorities.
The Council does not employ administrative staff members, but provides a fee to the AIC to provide secretariat and administrative services for the Council. These include the provision of internal auditing of the Council’s activities as well as participation in the AIC’s internal governance structure which is designed to ensure compliance with statutory and other external requirements aimed at achieving best practice in administrative and financial management. The AIC advises the Council in relation to the need for criminological research as required under the Act.
The Council consists of nine members who represent the Australian Government and state and territory governments. This composition ensures that areas targeted for research funding reflect both national and state/territory priorities.
The Australian Government representative is appointed by the Attorney-General; state and territory representatives are appointed by the Attorney-General on the nomination of the responsible state or territory minister.
The Council meets three times a year and broadly dedicates the meetings to the following issues:
- March/April—establish council strategies and priorities for the forthcoming year;
- July/August—target specific areas for consultancies and strategic development; and
- November—allocate general grants.
Members and meetings are identified in Appendix 1.
The Council funds a Research Fellow, who is located within the AIC and undertakes research at the direction of the council. Dr Lorana Bartels was appointed to the position for a three year period and commenced duty on 17 September 2007 on a part-time basis.
In 2009–10, Dr Bartels produced the following reviews, reports and papers for the Council, in addition to assisting in the development of the Council’s research activities:
- Challenges in Mainstreaming Specialty Courts, Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 383;
- The Status of Laws on Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs in Australia, 2nd ed. Research in practice no. 2;
- A Review of Confiscation Schemes in Australia. Technical and background paper no. 36;
- Emerging Issues in Domestic/Family Violence Research. Research in practice no. 10;
In addition, the Fellow presented a paper at the 3rd Australian and New Zealand Critical Criminology Conference on mainstreaming specialty courts and this presentation was subsequently published in the refereed conference proceedings. The Fellow was also invited to present a paper on confiscation schemes and unexplained wealth laws at the NSW Crime Commission.
For consultancies, the Council identifies topics of policy importance for research and then develops proposals which are publicly advertised. These consultancies are designed to meet highly-specific objectives to which the Council has accorded priority. Such research, for example, could be designed to contribute to, or complement, the work of national initiatives by other organisations, or state/territory initiatives which have clear policy or best practice implications for other governments within Australia. One consultancy was undertaken during the year, on correctional offender treatment programs.
The Guidelines For Grants, issued by the Council to applicants, include the following criteria adopted by the Council in consideration of applications:
- 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 applicants(s) or principal investigators(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.
Criminology Research Fund
In the 2009–10 Portfolio Budget Statement, the total Australian Government appropriation for the CRC was $338,000. The appropriation to the CRC was to meet administered costs for the single government outcome.
Contributions to the Criminology Research Fund by the participating governments for the 2009–10 financial year totalled $214,000. Each state and territory made contributions on a pro-rata population basis as shown in the table below.
|Australian Capital Territory||$3,439|
|New South Wales||$69,628|
The Table below is a summary of CRC income and expenditure for 2009–10.
|Ongoing expenditure on grants||$190,815|
|Ongoing expenditure on consultancies||$23,344|
A panel comprising two senior criminologists, selected by the Council from recommendations by the President of ANZSOC, consider applications for general grants. The panel this year consisted of Professor Roderic Broadhurst and Professor Rick Sarre. Panel members are required to assess all applications for research funding submitted to Council independently of each other and must complete an assessment sheet for each application. Their assessments are discussed at a meeting held with the Academic Adviser to the Council, currently Mr Peter Homel, who submits final recommendations to the CRC for consideration at its November meeting.
Report on performance
New projects for 2009–10
CRC 02/09–10: Assessing the therapeutic climate of prisons
Associate Professor Andrew Day, Dr Sharon Casey, Dr James Vess, Deakin University
Correctional administrations across Australia have, in recent years, dedicated considerable resources to the development of offender rehabilitation programs. While few controlled evaluations of Australian correctional programs have been conducted, there is a long history of anecdotal and ethnographic observations relating to the nature of prison cultures and their possible deleterious effects on rehabilitative outcomes. This project aims to investigate the social climate of Australian prison units, validate a brief scale (the EssenCES) for assessing prison social climates, provide a comparison between different types of units and develop recommendations for improving the therapeutic context in which rehabilitation programs are offered.
CRC 11/09–10: Sentencing of Indigenous offenders in the lower courts: A study of three Australian jurisdictions
Dr Samantha Jeffries, Dr Christine Bond, Queensland University of Technology
Disparity in the application of criminal justice has long-term negative consequences for individuals, their communities and society. This research will examine indigeneity and equity in the sentencing of offenders in Australia’s lower courts. Prior empirical research into sentencing and Indigenous status is limited to trend analyses or a narrow range of sentencing outcomes. No rigorous research has been conducted specifically on Australia’s lower courts. The project addresses this gap by using rigorous research techniques to examine the process by which Indigenous and non-Indigenous offenders are sentenced in three Australian lower court jurisdictions—New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.
CRC 13/09–10: Child sexual abuse and subsequent offending and victimisation: A 45 year follow-up study
Professor James Ogloff, Emeritus Professor Paul Mullen, Ms Margaret Cutajar, Monash University
This study aims to examine the relationship between child sexual abuse (CSA) and subsequent criminal offending and victimisation, and to examine the mediating role of mental illness on apparent associations. This 45 year follow-up study involves the linkage of 2,759 CSA cases derived from records from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine to a Victorian Police database, identifying contacts for criminal and victimisation matters. The CSA cohort will be compared with a control group matched on gender and age to determine whether victims of CSA are at an increased risk of offending and victimisation, which is hypothesised to be affirmative.
CRC 38/09–10: Addressing the ‘crime problem’ of the Northern Territory Intervention: Alternate paths to regulating minor driving offences in remote communities
Dr Thalia Anthony, Dr Harry Blagg, University of Technology, Sydney
This research examines a major effect of the increased policing in Northern Territory Indigenous communities since the Intervention—the sharp rise in minor driving offences, especially driving unlicensed, uninsured, unregistered vehicles (‘driving offence trifecta’). Data from Northern Territory court lists will be collected to assess the extent of Indigenous driver criminalisation. Interviews will then be conducted to ascertain the reasons for offending and criminalisation. The case studies are in Yuendumu and Lajamanu where the investigators have observed accelerating rates of driving offences. This study will propose alternatives for regulating the driving offence trifecta, including education and diversionary programs.
CRC 50/09–10: Amphetamine use among detainees at the East Perth watch house: What is the impact on crime?
Mrs Natalie Gately, Dr Catherine McGregor, Ms Jenny Kessell, Professor Steve Allsop, Dr Anthony Gunnell, Dr Celia Wilkinson, Edith Cowan University
Existing data from the Western Australian arm of the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) project and reported crime in Western Australia will be analysed. Firstly, amphetamine use indicators from the DUMA data between 1999 and 2009 and the types of crime for which amphetamine users are being detained will be identified and significant relationships analysed. Secondly, amphetamine use indicators will be analysed in relationship to Western Australian reported crime statistics for the period 2002–08 to identify significant relationships between amphetamine use indicators and reported crime in Western Australia.
Continuing projects for 2009–10
CRC 24/07–08: Analysis of supervision skills of juvenile justice workers
Associate Professor Chris Trotter and Professor Gill McIvor, Monash University
The CRC made a grant of $154,105 for this project.
CRC 10/08–09: Oral language competence and interpersonal violence: Exploring links in incarcerated young males
Dr Pamela Snow and Professor Martine Powell, Monash University
The CRC made a grant of $76,196 for this project.
CRC 26/08–09: Developing successful diversionary schemes for youth from remote Aboriginal communities
Dr Kate Senior, Dr Richard Chenhall, Mr William Ivory and Dr Tricia Nagel, Menzies School of Health Research
The CRC made a grant of $186,208 for this project.
CRC 38/08–09: ‘Sudanese refugees’ experiences with the Queensland criminal justice system
Dr Garry Coventry, Dr Glenn Dawes, Dr Stephen Moston & Dr Darren Palmer, James Cook University
The CRC made a grant of $134,811 for this project.
Reports of completed research
CRC 04/06–07: Jury sentencing survey
Professor Kate Warner, Dr Julia Davis, Dr Maggie Walter, Dr Rebecca Bradfield, University of Tasmania
The CRC made a grant of $174,050 for this project.
The project aimed to improve the measurement of public attitudes to sentencing matters and the level of public knowledge of sentencing and related issues. A three-phase research design surveyed jurors in trials with a guilty verdict immediately following the verdict and again after the jurors were provided with sentencing information. Survey results were supplemented by follow up in-depth interviews with a reflective sample of jurors. The results of the research will allow policymakers to respond to informed public opinion with the ultimate aim of improving confidence and confronting public punitiveness.
CRC 05/07–08: Improving jury understanding and use of DNA evidence
Associate Professor Jane Goodman-Delahunty and Dr Lindsay Hewson, University of New South Wales
The CRC made a grant of $108,760 for this project.
This empirical study examined whether audiovisual instruction can improve jury understanding and use of expert evidence on the science of DNA technology and the mathematical concepts about random match probability (RMP) in criminal trials. Using experimental methods, cognitively sequenced multimedia modules that are judge-led (neutral) or prosecution-led (partisan) on DNA and RMP were presented to jury-eligible citizens who rendered a verdict in a simulated homicide case. Outcomes indicating whether expert evidence presented verbally or with multimedia is more effective will assist courts and policymakers in adopting procedures to enhance justice in criminal cases.
CRC 15/07–08: The use and impact of diversionary processes for reducing Indigenous over-representation
Dr Troy Allard, Associate Professor Anna Stewart, Dr Hennessey Hayes and Dr Brett Gray, Griffith University
The CRC made a grant of $36,707 for this project
The aims of this project were twofold—to compare demographic characteristics (including Indigenous status) and nature of offending of young people who were formally cautioned, attended a conference, or had a court appearance for their first contact with the juvenile justice system and to explore the impact of the different processing options on re-contact with the juvenile justice system. The project required the creation of a de-identified longitudinal offender dataset containing information relating to all individuals born in 1991 who had contact with the Queensland juvenile justice system for a formal police caution, a police referred conference, a court-referred conference or a finalised children’s court appearance. Analyses of this dataset enabled comparisons to be made about the three main options that are used to process young people and an understanding to be gained about the usefulness of diversion.
CRC 19/07–08: Crime in neighbourhoods: Individuals and families in context
Dr Tara McGee, Dr Rebecca Wickes, Professor Jake Najman & Dr William Bor, Queensland University of Technology
The CRC made a grant of $77,117 for this project.
This study explored the interdependent effects of individual characteristics, family processes and neighbourhood contexts on antisocial behaviour across 84 SLAs in southeast Queensland. By merging individual and family level MUSP data with broader neighbourhood ABS data, this project took a new and innovative approach to distinguishing individual, familial and social predictors of antisocial behaviour. Further, it was the first in Australia to utilise multi-level statistical techniques to examine the simultaneous impact of such influences. This research makes a contribution to extant literature and will provide Australian specific evidence for prevention and intervention programs.
CRC 42/08–09: ID scanners in night-time economy: Social sorting or social order?
Dr Darren Palmer, Dr Peter Miller and Dr Ian Warren, Deakin University
The CRC made a grant of $56,452 for this project.
The project investigated the introduction of ID scanners in ‘high-risk’ entertainment venues in Geelong as part of an attempt to enhance community safety. Recently the inner city area of Geelong has been transformed into a significant night-time economy. However, such developments come with potential harms, such as increases in crime and antisocial behaviour. Networked ID scanners are a unique innovation introduced to address these issues. The project documented what has been done, why, with what impact and potential (or actual) harms to serve as a model for future policy and program development.
Reports of completed consultancies
Consultancy C05/08–09: Correctional offender treatment programs
Ms Karen Heseltine, Associate Professor Andrew Day & Professor Rick Sarre, ForenPsych Pty Ltd
The CRC made a grant of $87,560 for this project.
This study examined changes to rehabilitation in Australian correctional services over the past four years. The research built on the results of a previous CRC study into offender rehabilitation programs, adding new and better quality data. The study described the extent and current nature of adult offender treatment programs in correctional services throughout Australia, identifying those that have been shown to work; evaluated programs to determine alignment with best practice as defined by the scientific literature and the evidence base; determined the nature and extent of changes in correctional programming since 2004; and described likely future developments in, and possible impediments to, program implementation from the perspective of correctional managers. Recommendations were made for policy development that will provide a more systematic and rigorous evidence base for correctional programming.
|Jurisdiction||Member and deputy||Appointed|
|Australian Capital Territory||Member: Ms Kathy Leigh
Deputy: Mr Stephen Goggs
|Australian Government||Member: Ms Elizabeth Kelly
Deputy: Ms Sarah Chidgey
|New South Wales||Member: Mr Laurie Glanfield AM (Chair)
Deputy: Mr Brendan Thomas
|Northern Territory||Member: Mr Richard Coates
Deputy: Mr Allan Van Zyl
|Queensland||Member: Mr Terry Ryan
|South Australia||Member: Ms Ingrid Haythorpe
|Tasmania||Member: Mr Norman Reaburn
Deputy: Mr Peter Maloney
|Victoria||Member: Ms Penny Armytage
Deputy: Dr Jonathan Spear
|Western Australia||Member: Ms Cheryl Gwilliam
Deputy: Mr Andrew Marshall
There was a 98 percent attendance rate by Australian Government, state and territory representatives this financial year.
The meeting on 24 July 2009 was held at the Hobart Conference Centre in Hobart. The meetings on 26 November 2009 and 11 March 2010 were held at the AIC in Canberra.
At the meeting on 11 March 2010, Mr Laurie Glanfield AM was unanimously re-elected chair of the Council. At this meeting, the CRC confirmed its decision to elect its representatives from Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and Western Australia as members of the Board of Management of the AIC.
Appendix 2: Statutory reporting requirements
Freedom of information
This statement is provided in accordance with s 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982. It refers to the structure of the CRC and the categories of documents it holds, with information as to how access can be made.
Categories of documents
- internal papers and records, including working drafts, statistical records, copies of facsimiles, interagency and general correspondence, and policy documents and reports (including recommendations and decisions);
- briefing papers and submissions prepared for the Attorney-General, ministerial correspondence and replies to parliamentary questions;
- scoping papers, records of consultations, statistical data holdings and publications; and
- finance, establishment, personnel, recruitment, staff development, office services and funded research and consultancy files.
FOI requests during 2009–10
The Council received no requests for information under the provisions of the Act during the year ending 30 June 2010.
Requests can be made in writing to the General Manager, Corporate Services, Australian Institute of Criminology, GPO Box 2944, Canberra ACT 2601.
There were no reviews undertaken by the Ombudsman.
Advertising and market research
The Council did not engage any vendors for advertising or market research in 2009–10.