Last chance to register for upcoming symposium: “Identifying, understanding and responding to child sex offending”

The Crime and Justice Research Centre invites guests to attend an upcoming research seminar focusing on identifying, understanding and responding to child sex offending.

The seminar will be held on Thursday 16 March 2017 from 2-5pm in QUT Gardens Theatre Foyer, X Block, QUT Gardens Point Campus, 2 George Street, Brisbane QLD 4000.

To register for this event, please click here.

The seminar will feature the following presentations:

“The politics of sex offender reintegration, risk management and community engagement” – Associate Professor Kieran McCartan, University of the West of England

This paper will discuss the politics of sex offender risk management in the community, its policies, grounding in evidence based working and utility. The paper will highlight the role that society, the media, politics and professionals play in sex offender risk management; are they using the same language, coming from the same starting points, influenced in the same way and driven by the same outcomes. In doing this, the paper will highlight the role of the media, different discourses in society and evidenced based policy and practice. The paper will use international discussions, practice and policy around sex offender registration and disclosure to frame the debate.

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Dr Kieran McCartan is Associate Professor in Criminology at the University of the West of England, Bristol, UK. He has developed a wide ranging, multi-disciplinary network around sex offender management and reintegration and has a track record of public, academic and professional engagement on criminological issues, including the origins and causes of sex offending, and societal responses to sex offenders.  He has previously co-led a nationally based ESRC funded Knowledge Exchange Network on the limited disclosure of sex offender information (2012) and an international network on sex offender re-integration funded by the Leverhulme Trust (2014-16). Kieran is an Executive Board member of Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA); an Associate Editor of Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research & Treatment; a board member and Trustee of Circles South West; as well as a member of the ATSA Prevention committee, the National Organisation for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (NOTA) Prevention Committee, and the NOTA Research committee.


 “Dark Networks and the Catholic Church” – Dr Jodi Death, CJRC

Child sexual abuse networks within the Catholic Church have been acknowledged informally and stringently denied by the Catholic Church but has not been explored on an academic level. Media refers to ‘paedophile networks’ in Catholic institutions but this has not been verified. A large body of literature acknowledges that child sexual abuse by priests and other Catholic personnel involves a close network of supervisors who have moved offenders from parish to parish and often end up in the same parish. There is some evidence that this has resulted in clusters of paedophiles operating in particular parishes. One example of clustering of child sex offenders within St Alpius Primary School (St Alpius), Ballarat. In 1971, four of the male personnel at St Alipius, were child sex offenders. Utilising the social networking tool Visualsys, this paper draws on media reports and data produced through public inquiry in Australia to map potential pedophile networks that have functioned historically in the Roman Catholic Church of Australia. Social Networking Theory is applied to explore the significance of mapped networks.

Dr Jodi Death is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Justice at QUT. Her doctoral research, completed through Charles Sturt University, examined the role of forgiveness in ways that churches respond to child sexual abuse by church leaders. Prior to commencing with QUT, Jodi worked for the NSW Department of Community Services (DoCS) as a child protection caseworker. Jodi has also previously worked as a sexual assault crisis response counsellor in Central West NSW and has a background in involvement with social welfare development in rural NSW. Her research interests include child sexual abuse, sexuality, power, gendered violence, and child protection in emerging communities.


“Public perceptions of the causes of pedophilia and child sex offending” – Dr Kelly Richards, CJRC

 Understanding public opinion about the causes of pedophilia and/or child sex offending is vital, as the views of the public have a significant influence on how governments respond to sexual offenders. Despite this, little research has been undertaken on this topic. This paper addresses this gap by examining the causes that members of the public ascribe to pedophilia and/or child sexual abuse using qualitative data from online forums. The etiological accounts that the public gave provide important information for those developing public prevention policies and/or education campaigns about child sexual abuse. Key implications of these etiological explanations will be considered.

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Dr Kelly Richards is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Justice at Queensland University of Technology. She holds a PhD in criminology from the University of Western Sydney. She has worked in the non-government and government sectors, including at the Australian Institute of Criminology, where she was a senior researcher for five years. Dr Richards has undertaken research on a wide range of criminological topics, but her main research focuses are youth justice and sexual offending. In particular, she has an interest in reintegrating sexual offenders through Circles of Support and Accountability (COSA). In 2010, as the ACT Government Office for Women Audrey Fagan Churchill Fellow, she undertook research on COSA in Canada, the USA and the UK.


 “Desistance from Sexual Offending: Life Narratives of Relapse and Resilience” by Dr Danielle Harris

The widespread and persistent belief that sex offenders are at perpetual risk and destined to reoffend has informed the development of an entire industry (especially in the US) which is now consumed with the assessment of risk and the prediction of recidivism. To that end, a slew of legislation now exists that aims to control and manage the post-custody behaviors (not to mention the literal, day-to-day, physical movement) of (mostly) men convicted of sexual offenses (especially against children). This paper draws from research with a large sample of men incarcerated or civilly committed for sexual offenses and released to the street in the 1990s. It is the first to explore the narrative differences (revealed during in-depth life history interviews) between the men who reoffended sexually and were returned to custody, and those who continued to live offense-free lives in the community. The focus of this work is on understanding the experiences that shaped each participant’s release. The characteristics of the participants are described and compared, and their differential life narratives of relapse, recidivism, resilience and redemption are explored.

Danielle Arlanda Harris

Dr Danielle Arlanda Harris is a Lecturer in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University and the Research Director for The Art of Yoga Project. Her research examines sexual aggression through a life course perspective, examining onset, specialisation/versatility, desistance, and related public policy. Her study of civilly committed sex offenders in Massachusetts was funded by the Guggenheim Foundation and she recently received a grant from the California Sex Offender Management Board for a statewide survey of community supervision practices. She is currently completing a book on desistance from sexual offending that draws on the narratives from interviews with 75 men who were incarcerated for a sexual offense and released.

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