Archive

Archive for the ‘Australian Institute of Criminology’ Category

Profiling parental child sex abuse

March 18, 2014 Comments off

Profiling parental child sex abuse (PDF)
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology

Public policy initiatives to redress parental child sexual offenders have been hindered by the absence of an offending profile that characterises this core group of intrafamilial offenders. Drawing on data from a sample of 213 offenders, this study augments knowledge about sex offender typologies by identifying ten key descriptive features of parental offenders.

The findings revealed that parental sex offenders have a distinctive profile unlike that of other child sexual offenders and are more criminally versatile than presupposed. This may provide useful information to support clinical practice and preventive interventions aimed at increasing offender desistance and reducing threats to the safety and welfare of young children and their families.

About these ads

AU — Police Shootings of People With a Mental Illness

November 18, 2013 Comments off

Police Shootings of People With a Mental Illness
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology

The decision to use a firearm in a police operation is one of the most critical a police officer can make and ‘no other single issue has the potential to destroy the relationship between the police and the community like the use by police of deadly force’ (McCulloch 1991: 160).

All fatal police shootings are subject to internal review, a mandatory coronial inquest and are also monitored by the Australian Institute of Criminology’s (AIC) National Deaths in Custody Program (NDICP). The NDICP collects detailed information about the circumstances and nature of such incidents, with the view to informing the ongoing development of policy and procedure.

The AIC has recently released a special monitoring report that commemorates the twentieth anniversary of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. This report contains detailed analysis of the 2,325 deaths in custody since 1 January 1980 (which includes 905 deaths in police custody and custody-related operations). This report also examines fatal police shootings that have occurred in Australia since monitoring of these incidents began in 1989–90.

One issue that frequently arises with regard to police shootings is proportionality, or more simply, whether the threat or potential threat posed by the alleged offender was sufficient to warrant police using a firearm. This issue is tested through coronial inquests in which the presiding coroner will make a determination about whether the shooting was justified.

This issue becomes much harder to resolve when the mental capacity of the alleged offender is impaired, such as by drugs and/or alcohol, a mental illness or both, as the ability to understand or appreciate the consequences of potentially life-threatening actions may be undermined.

Cloud Computing for Small Business: Criminal and Security Threats and Prevention Measures

November 13, 2013 Comments off

Cloud Computing for Small Business: Criminal and Security Threats and Prevention Measures (PDF)
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology

Compared with large organisations, small businesses operate in a distinct and highly resource-constrained operating and technical environment. Their proprietors are often time poor, have minimal bargaining power and have limited financial, technical, legal and personnel resources. It is therefore unsurprising that cloud computing and its promise of smoothing cash flows and dramatically reducing ICT overheads is attractive to small business. Cloud computing shifts the delivery and maintenance of software, databases and storage to the internet, transforming them into Pay-As-You-Go services accessed through a web browser. While providing many benefits, cloud computing also brings many risks for small business, including potential computer security and criminal, regulatory and civil liability issues. This paper, undertaken as a collaborative partnership with the ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security at Griffith University, identifies these risks and offers a perspective on how they might be contained so that the benefits of cloud computing do not outweigh the risks for small businesses in the 21st century.

AU — First-response police officers working in single person patrols: A literature review

August 21, 2012 Comments off

First-response police officers working in single person patrols: A literature review

Source:  Australian Institute of Criminology
The AIC undertook a literature review on single person police patrols both in Australia and internationally. This report examines challenges faced by first-response police officers when working alone and the impact this had on them, operational decisions to deploy single person patrols and how the community view this issue. It concludes that there has been limited research on single person patrols in policing and of the research findings available in the literature, results are mixed and updated research needs to be undertaken.

AU — Mental disorder prevalence at the gateway to the criminal justice system

July 12, 2012 Comments off

Mental disorder prevalence at the gateway to the criminal justice system
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology

Many criminal justice practitioners have observed that offenders experience poor mental health. While international studies have found mental health to be poorer among prisoners than in the general population, less information is available either about offenders who are not imprisoned or alleged offenders detained by police. The mental health of offenders is of key policy interest from both health service and crime prevention perspectives.

This is the first Australian study to measure the prevalence of mental disorder among offenders nationally, using information provided by 690 police detainees who participated in the Australian Institute of Criminology’s Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program. Around half reported having been diagnosed with a mental disorder in the past.

The study was also the first to use the Corrections Mental Health Screen (CMHS), an instrument validated for gender-specific screening, on an Australian offender population. Results suggest that almost half of detainees may have a diagnosable mental disorder at the time of arrest, including 42 percent of women and 28 percent of men with no previous diagnosis. In the routine screening of police detainees as they enter the criminal justice system, the CMHS could be used to identify for the first time those who would benefit from psychological assessment and appropriate intervention.

AU — Firearm trafficking and serious and organised crime gangs

July 6, 2012 Comments off

Firearm trafficking and serious and organised crime gangs
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology

Despite strict regulations on the import, export, ownership, use, transfer and storage of licit firearms, there exists in Australia a potentially large pool of illicit firearms, some of which are acquired, stockpiled and used for serious and organised crime. This report follows a modest group of publicly released examinations of firearm trafficking operations in Australia, to describe what can be determined about the composition and maintenance of the illicit firearm market, its use by serious and organised crime groups and the diversity of transaction arrangements used to vend illicit firearms.

Australian crime: Facts & figures: 2011

March 16, 2012 Comments off

Australian crime: Facts & figures: 2011
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology

Australian Crime: Facts & Figures is an up-to-date snapshot of crime patterns and trends in Australia. It contains information on specific crimes, victims, offenders, the location of criminal acts and the operation of criminal justice systems—focusing on the work of police, courts and prisons.

Australia’s Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme: Managing vulnerabilities to exploitation

February 1, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Australian Institute of Criminology
Australia is not immune to the risks of labour trafficking; labour shortages, sector tolerance to illegal work practices and the recruitment of vulnerable workers can result in labour exploitation (David 2010). The horticultural sector in Australia is experiencing some of these risks and Pacific Islanders are a vulnerable migrant group working in this sector.
Australia’s Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme (PSWPS) aims to create a safe pathway for unskilled or low-skilled Pacific Islanders to temporarily work in Australia’s horticultural sector. Recent research by the AIC suggests that addressing labour trafficking does not just involve prosecuting the most extreme cases but should also have a focus on preventing and reducing a broader spectrum of practices that create an environment that is tolerant, or even encouraging, of exploitation (David 2010). While the PSWPS is not an anti-trafficking program, it has been designed and piloted to prevent a broad spectrum of poor or illegal labour practices and therefore may assist to prevent labour trafficking in Australia and regionally. This paper provides an analysis of the PSWPS and examines emerging evidence about how the program manages risks of exploitation of overseas temporary workers from the Pacific Islands.

AU — Misperceptions about child sex offenders

December 21, 2011 Comments off

Misperceptions about child sex offenders
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology

Sexual offending against children is a highly emotive issue. It is nonetheless important that public policy initiatives to prevent and/or respond to child sexual abuse are based on the available evidence about child sex offenders.

This paper addresses five common misperceptions about the perpetrators of sexual offences against children. Specifically, the issues addressed include whether all child sex offenders are ‘paedophiles’, who sexually abuse children, whether most child sex offenders were victims of sexual abuse themselves, rates of recidivism among child sex offenders and the number of children sex offenders typically abuse before they are detected by police.

The evidence outlined in this paper highlights that there are few black and white answers to these questions. Perpetrators of sexual crimes against children are not, contrary to widespread opinion, a homogenous group. Rather, there are a number of varied offending profiles that characterise child sex offenders. Gaining an understanding of the nuances of this offender population is critical if children are to be protected from sexual abuse.

AU — Misuse of the Non-Profit Sector for Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing

December 14, 2011 Comments off
Source:  Australian Institute of Criminology

The manner in which terrorist organisations finance their activities became a policy focal point after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. Non-profit organisations, and charities in particular, were identified as potentially significant contributors to terrorism financing. This premise was based on known links between charitable giving and prominent terrorist groups, and the vulnerabilities of the non-profit sector to misuse.

Money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF) risks to the Australian non-profit sector are thought to be low. However, the impact of such misuse is inevitably high. One of the underlying premises in combating non-profit misuse has been the application of a response proportionate to risk. Australia has based its response on education, sector outreach and peak body codes of conduct, alongside more conventional forms of regulatory control.

This paper examines vulnerabilities to ML/TF misuse and the publicly available evidence for actual misuse. It is suggested that the Australian response could incorporate a more uniform commitment from the sector to adopting risk-based strategies, with government providing education for the sector that is based on the identification of specific points of vulnerability.

Policing licensed premises in the Australian Capital Territory

October 30, 2011 Comments off

Policing licensed premises in the Australian Capital Territory
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology

There is an old joke that says that an Australian’s definition of a drinking problem is being in a situation where you can’t get a drink. This reflects Australia’s well-established reputation for being a community where the consumption of alcohol, frequently at excessive and harmful levels, is associated with many forms of entertainment and participation in social events. In other words, the association between alcohol consumption and the enjoyment of social activity is a deeply embedded cultural phenomenon.

However, the evidence relating to the range of individual and social harms associated with alcohol misuse is strong. In 2007, one in four Australians were a victim of alcohol-related verbal abuse, 13 percent were put in fear and 4.5 percent of Australians aged 14 years or older had been physically abused by someone under the influence of alcohol (AIHW 2008). The rates of physical and verbal abuse by a person affected by alcohol are more than twice the rate for other drug types. Alcohol-related crime and disorder also has a significant adverse impact upon the perceptions of safety among the broader community.

At the same time, Australia also has a substantial reputation for developing and implementing innovative policy approaches to trying to reduce the harms associated with excessive alcohol use and violence in particular. Many of these initiatives have been focused on regulatory responses that target licensed premises and liquor outlets. Licensed premises are a high-risk setting for alcohol-related violence, with a large proportion of assaults occurring in or within very close proximity to hotels and nightclubs. Furthermore, both patrons and staff of licensed premises are at a heightened risk of becoming involved in a violent incident compared with other locations.

Over the years, police and liquor regulatory authorities, often in partnership with liquor licensees, have committed significant effort and resources to efforts to improve the overall safety of drinking venues and the overall amenity of the nearby community. Unfortunately, often what has been missing from such efforts has been any systematic assessment of their relative effectiveness and methods for sharing the lessons learned.

This report is part of an attempt to redress this knowledge deficit. Undertaken in close partnership with Australian Capital Territory Policing (ACTP), the project was a detailed study of the effectiveness of a series of policing measures implemented by the ACTP over several months to reduce and prevent alcohol-related violence in and around licensed premises and entertainment precincts in the ACT.

As with similar studies previously conducted here and overseas, the project found mixed results in relation to effectiveness. However, the project was able to help identify and explain what things were working and why, thereby providing a series of evidence-based recommendations for future policing in this area, many of which it is pleasing to note have already been adopted by ACTP.

AU — Misuse of the non-profit sector for money laundering and terrorism financing

September 19, 2011 Comments off

Misuse of the non-profit sector for money laundering and terrorism financing
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology

The manner in which terrorist organisations finance their activities became a policy focal point after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. Non-profit organisations, and charities in particular, were identified as potentially significant contributors to terrorism financing. This premise was based on known links between charitable giving and prominent terrorist groups, and the vulnerabilities of the non-profit sector to misuse.

Money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF) risks to the Australian non-profit sector are thought to be low. However, the impact of such misuse is inevitably high. One of the underlying premises in combating non-profit misuse has been the application of a response proportionate to risk. Australia has based its response on education, sector outreach and peak body codes of conduct, alongside more conventional forms of regulatory control.

This paper examines vulnerabilities to ML/TF misuse and the publicly available evidence for actual misuse. It is suggested that the Australian response could incorporate a more uniform commitment from the sector to adopting risk-based strategies, with government providing education for the sector that is based on the identification of specific points of vulnerability.

AU — Strategies for preventing scrap metal theft

September 14, 2011 Comments off

Strategies for preventing scrap metal theft
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology

Scrap metal theft is a lucrative and attractive venture for thieves and a significant issue for the construction industry (Jones 2008). It appears to be facilitated by a largely unregulated scrap metal recycling industry, the relative ease of theft due to the openness and accessibility of construction sites, and encouraged by escalating metal prices. The price of copper, for example, has doubled since 2005.

The costs of scrap metal theft are substantial. The UK Home Office estimates that scrap metal theft costs the UK £360m each year (‘Copper thieves in the eyes of new metal detectors’ Professional Engineering 22(1): 7). Not only does it place additional financial burdens on construction companies who have to replace the materials, it also impacts on the broader community by affecting utilities such as electrical and telecommunications systems and even the railways (Bush 2009). The cost for thieves can also be significant as incidences of injuries such as burns and fatalities are high.

Traditionally, construction companies have responded to scrap metal theft by introducing and enforcing access control measures, such as CCTV and electrified fences. However, these strategies may have a relatively limited effect, especially when the theft is an ‘inside job’, perpetrated by someone working on a construction site (Boba & Santos 2008).

AU — Court-based mental health diversion programs

September 12, 2011 Comments off

Court-based mental health diversion programs
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology

Research suggests that individuals with a mental illness and/or intellectual disability are over-represented at all stages in the criminal justice system (Butler & Alnutt 2003). As such, it appears that traditional criminal justice responses may not be as effective with this offender group. Alternative criminal justice processes that have attracted the attention of policymakers are specialist mental health courts and diversion programs. Court-based mental health diversion programs are based on the concept of therapeutic jurisprudence, which emphasises the law’s ‘healing potential to increase wellbeing’ (Graham 2007: 18). As such, they seek to address the underlying causes of criminal behaviour exhibited by offenders with a mental illness and/or intellectual disability by referring them to treatment services such as drug and alcohol counselling.

AU — Patterns of mephedrone, GHB, Ketamine and Rohypnol use among police detainees

September 11, 2011 Comments off

Patterns of mephedrone, GHB, Ketamine and Rohypnol use among police detainees
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology

Key findings
In recognition of the need for ongoing monitoring of new or less common drug types, the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), as part of the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program, interviewed 824 police detainees about their knowledge of and experience with mephedrone, GHB, Ketamine and Rohypnol.

Mephedrone was the least known of the four drugs, with only 221 detainees (27%) reporting knowledge of the drug. Only six detainees (<1%) had used the drug in the previous 12 months, while 30 detainees (4%) knew of someone dealing mephedrone at the time they were interviewed. Detainees in East Perth were the most likely to have reported knowledge of mephedrone.

GHB was known to more than half of all detainees interviewed (53%) and had been used in the 12 months prior to interview by 23 detainees (3%). More detainees had been offered GHB (8%), or knew of a dealer selling GHB (6%), than any of the other four drug types.

Ketamine was known to 43 percent of detainees and had been used by three percent. The prevalence of Ketamine use was equal with GHB, however, knowledge of a current Ketamine dealer was lower (4%).

Rohypnol was the most widely known of the four drug types (59%), however, use of the drug in the 12 months prior to interview was lower than for GHB or Ketamine (1%).

AU — Risk factors for advance fee fraud victimisation

August 31, 2011 Comments off

Risk factors for advance fee fraud victimisation
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology

Fraud is Australia’s most costly form of crime with the Australian Institute of Criminology estimating that in excess of $8.5b was lost to fraud in 2005 (Rollings 2008). Consumer fraud alone has been found to cost Australians almost $1b each year (ABS 2008c). Most types of consumer fraud entail the use of so-called ‘advance fee’ techniques in which individuals are tricked into paying money—an ‘advance fee’—upfront in order to secure an anticipated financial or other benefit at a later date. However, the promises of wealth are false and victims invariably lose their payments in full. Such scams have had a huge impact globally, with Ultrascan (2008) estimating that US$4.3b was lost to advance fee fraud in 2006. To date, however, there has been only limited research on how and why people respond to such unsolicited invitations and become victims. This paper examines the characteristics of a sample of victims of advance fee frauds to determine how their behaviour and personal circumstances might have contributed to their willingness to respond to unsolicited invitations and to their subsequent loss of money or personal information.

Crimes against international students in Australia: 2005–09

August 19, 2011 Comments off

Crimes against international students in Australia: 2005–09
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology

A key part of the Australian Institute of Criminology’s role is to provide a capacity to investigate new and evolving crimes and in the past two years, there has been significant interest in determining the nature and extent to which international students studying in Australia are victims of crime.

Detailed findings are provided from what is the most comprehensive student victimisation study ever conducted in Australia, based on an analysis of Department of Immigration and Citizenship international student visa records for more than 400,000 students matched with police crime victimisation records. In addition, supplementary analysis of the AIC’s National Homicide Monitoring Program (NHMP) database, as well as the Australian component of the 2004 International Crime Victimisation Survey (ICVS), are used to provide additional context to the AIC’s investigation.

Primarily, this research was designed to provide the best available estimation of the extent to which international students have been the victims of crime during their time in Australia and to determine whether international students are more or less likely than an Australian comparison population to have experienced crime.

This report provides the best available estimation of the extent to which international students have been the victims of crime during their time in Australia and has enabled the rate of recorded crimes experienced by international students from the five largest source countries (People’s Republic of China, India, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the United States) to be compared with the rate for Australian reference populations. While this research has not answered the question of whether attacks against overseas students are racially motivated, the findings from this research do point to other factors such as employment and the use of public transport, that influence the risk or likelihood of overseas students experiencing crime. This provides direction for crime prevention efforts to reduce the risk of crime for this population.

This report represents the culmination of the AIC’s research into crimes against international students.

AU — Crime Families: Gender and the Intergenerational Transfer of Criminal Tendencies

August 3, 2011 Comments off

Crime Families: Gender and the Intergenerational Transfer of Criminal Tendencies
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology

While it has been established that there is an intergenerational transmission of criminal behaviour (ie crime can run through generations in families), the role of gender in the intergenerational transfer of criminality has not been fully explored. The impact of a father’s criminality on the subsequent offending of his sons and grandsons has been established, but the impact of a father’s criminality on the offending of his daughter and the impact of a mother’s criminal history on the offending of her sons and/or daughters is less clear. This Tasmanian study of six known criminal families identifies clear differences in the intergenerational transfer of criminality from mothers to their sons and daughters. The influence of paternal (a father’s) criminality on children of both genders is strong, but is particularly strong for male children. The more severe the criminal offending history, the greater likelihood of intergenerational transmission. To prevent the cycle of crime, policymakers should focus their attention on reducing environmental risk through intervention programs targeting children known to be at increased risk of involvement in crime due to the criminality of their parents. Such interventions should incorporate attempts to address the children’s perceptions of themselves as ‘criminals’ in order to reduce the risk of ‘self fulfilling prophecy’

AU — Police interviews with vulnerable adult suspects

July 25, 2011 Comments off

Police interviews with vulnerable adult suspects
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology

In this paper, some of the key issues police are likely to encounter when dealing with vulnerable adult suspects are considered and an overview of the Australian legislation and police policies governing police interviews in such circumstances is presented. This paper is concerned with vulnerable adults interviewed by the police as suspects. It is acknowledged, however, that many of the observations about good practice when interviewing witnesses continue to apply—perhaps to an even greater extent—when interviewing suspects. For example, interviewers’ questions need to be matched to respondents’ communicative abilities and suggestive/leading questions and other coercive practices should be avoided (Powell 2002). Smith and Tilney (2007), and Bull (2010) have described the following steps as a means of achieving the best evidence when dealing with vulnerable witnesses:

  • establish good rapport, including establishing the ground rules and advising the interviewee that it is acceptable to say if they do not understand or know the answer;
  • obtain as much free narrative as possible, encouraging the interviewee with prompts and open-ended questions such as ‘tell me more about that’ and ‘what happened next?’;
  • ask questions of the right type in the right order. For example, open questions should precede specific questions and then closed questions. Leading questions should only be used as a last resort;
  • have meaningful closure, including a summary of the interviewee’s evidence and providing them with an opportunity to correct any errors; and
    evaluate the interview, in terms of both the information obtained and the interviewer’s performance.

This paper does not consider issues relating to court processes and the admissibility of evidence; nor does the paper explore the literature in relation to child witnesses (eg see Powell, Wright & Clark 2010) or the specific issues of vulnerable witnesses as victims, for example, in the context of sexual assault matters (eg see Powell & Wright 2009), although these are all important linked areas of research.

+ Full Document (PDF)

AU — Fraud vulnerabilities and the global financial crisis

July 13, 2011 Comments off

Fraud vulnerabilities and the global financial crisis
Source: Australian Institute of Criminology

This paper examines the evidence that would enable judgement of what is likely to happen to the incidence of fraud in the context of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), whether as a result of the crisis or of other factors that coincide with it. Normally, statistical data on crime and/or cost of crime trends is examined to enable determination of whether a problem is getting better or worse. However, despite measures being developed to improve fraud statistics in Australia, these cannot be applied retrospectively to past data (especially since the last serious recession was almost 2 decades ago and the last comparable global financial crisis was in the 1930s); and fairly comprehensive Australian cost of fraud data are currently available only for one year and therefore cannot be used to show trends in the cost of fraud. Nonetheless, some useful insights can be gained from an examination of the GFC that could be used to predict fraud trends in the future and to determine how best to minimise risks of such opportunistic crime occurring in the years ahead.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 784 other followers