Research: Young people with cognitive disabilities and their experiences with police

Young people with cognitive disabilities are overrepresented in the criminal justice system. While about 4% of young men and 3% of young women have a cognitive disability in Australia, a much higher proportion of young people in detention (about 14%) has some form of cognitive impairment.

To contribute towards understanding this problem, Dr Kelly Richards (School of Justice, Queensland University of Technology) and Dr Kathy Ellem (School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University of Queensland) recently undertook interdisciplinary research on young people with cognitive disabilities’ first point of contact with the criminal justice system: the police. Funded by the Queensland Centre for Social Science Innovation, the research drew on the disciplines of criminology, social work and disability studies, and involved interviews with service providers who work with young people with cognitive disabilities in south-east Queensland. The project also sought the views of young people themselves, and for the first time, gave voice to three young people with cognitive disabilities who had been in contact with the police.
The research yielded a number of key insights that make a significant contribution to this under-examined topic:

• Service providers identified the phenomenon of “escalation” – ie, that once in an interaction with police, young people with cognitive disabilities face a range of difficulties exiting or evading police contact in ways that other young people usually successfully manage. Young people with cognitive disability may become highly visible to police and are at heightened risk of cycling in and out of the criminal justice system as offenders.
• Service providers also identified that young people with cognitive disabilities often come into increased contact with police due to the complex constellations of disadvantage that this group commonly experiences, such as homelessness, being in out-of-home care, co-morbid mental health conditions, and poverty. Further, a young person with cognitive disability may present with complex behavioural issues that others close to them find difficult to manage. Parents of young people and youth residential workers have been reported to deliberately involve the police as a strategy to cope with a young person’s challenging behaviours, again leading to increased police contact.
Young people with cognitive disabilities themselves reported in their interviews that being treated by police in ways that are “procedurally just” (ie being able to have a say, being treated with dignity, respect and fairness) enhanced their interactions with police. For example, 18-year-old “Justin” appeared to have a positive experience of citizen participation in his interaction with police. He reported having being supported by his disability worker to make a statement to police about a physical assault he had experienced. He reported that the police were “nice”, gave him time to explain things and directed some questions to his disability support worker, which he found helpful.
Findings from the study underscore the urgent need for better non-criminal justice supports for families of young people with cognitive disabilities, skill development in staff of youth services to better respond to complex behaviours of young people, as well as improved police training on issues of both youth and disability. The authors have recently been invited to present their research to Queensland‘s Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women.

Publications from the research:
Richards, K., Ellem, K., Grevis-James, N. and Dwyer, A. (2017) Young people with cognitive impairments’ interactions with police in Queensland: A report to the Queensland Centre for Social Science Innovation. Brisbane: https://eprints.qut.edu.au/109470/

Ellem, K. and Richards, K. (2018) Police contact with young people with cognitive disabilities: Perceptions of procedural (in)justice. Youth Justice: An International Journal https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1473225418794357

Richards, K. and Ellem, K. (2018) Young people with cognitive impairments and overrepresentation in the criminal justice system: Service provider perspectives. Police Practice and Research: An International Journal https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15614263.2018.1473771

New survey on young men’s attitudes to manhood

CJSDRC member, Associate Professor Michael Flood contributed to a new survey of young Australian men’s attitudes towards manhood, launched in Sydney and Melbourne in mid-October.

This study by Jesuit Social Services’ The Men’s Project, involving 1,000 men aged 18 to 30, has shown that young men who comply with society’s pressures to be a ‘real man’ report poorer mental health, are twice as likely to consider suicide, more likely to commit acts of sexual harassment and experience and perform acts of violence and bullying. See here for the report and accompanying materials.

https://jss.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/The-Man-Box-A-study-on-being-a-young-man-in-Australia.pdf

Dr Flood was commissioned to provide analysis of the study, and his commentary was published on pp. 46-63 of the full report.

https://theconversation.com/australian-study-reveals-the-dangers-of-toxic-masculinity-to-men-and-those-around-them-104694

Here Michael identifies key strategies for shifting dominant social norms of manhood. Michael also wrote a short summary of the report for The Conversation. Michael also contributed to extensive media coverage of the study, including participating in ABC TV and five radio interviews.

Event: Tuesday 23 October 2018 @ 6pm – A world without privacy – Australia’s role in an international privacy crisis


Dear Members and Friends of the AIIA QLD,

IMPORTANT: Please note a venue for this event has not been finalised. Members will be notified as soon as a location is confirmed. We urge members to register as this is a high-profile event on a major issue. Queensland Privacy Commissioner Philip Green is one of the panelists. You will note that the website lists the offices of Holding Redlich Lawyers as the venue. Please disregard this. It will be corrected when the new venue is known

Our next event is scheduled for TUESDAY the 23rd of October 2018, at 6 for 6:30pm. There will be a big turnout for this event. Please register by clicking here:  https://aiiaqld.tidyhq.com/public/schedule/events/21569-a-world-without-privacy-australia-s-role-in-an-international-privacy-crisis

All events are free for AIIA members. Non-members are welcome and can pay $15 (or $10 for student non-members) online while registering. Or they can pay at the door on the night. Drinks are available for purchase at the event, as well as copies of our latest policy commentary (which are free for our members). Details on all events for this month are available on our website and our Facebook page.

A world without privacy – Australia’s role in an international privacy crisis

An AIIA Qld Conversations event with Queensland Privacy Commissioner Philip Green, Angus Murray, and Dr Monique Mann

With the rise of social media platforms, digital profiles, transactions and subscriptions, an individuals’ data footprint is constantly expanding. Who owns that data? Is privacy a reality? And is Australian regulation tough enough? Both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights recognise privacy as a fundamental human right. But are these conventions being undermined by a data driven economy and international security concerns. If so, what is the effect of this? Will a loss of privacy equal a loss of autonomy?

With Australia’s privacy legislation under review and consideration, we seek to discuss the effects this will have on the world’s perceptions on Australia’s relationship with privacy. In light of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) setting the ‘golden standard’ on privacy, does Australia continue to lag behind? Join us for a conversation in which we discuss these important questions and more.

About our speakers

Philip Green was appointed to the position of Privacy Commissioner, Office of the Information Commissioner in December 2015. Philip has worked in many different Queensland Government roles and in private practice throughout his career.  Prior to his appointment as Privacy Commissioner, he was Executive Director, Small Business – Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games and has held this role since 2008.  He was responsible for leading Innovation Policy and Innovation Partnerships and Services and Office of Small Business Teams in the delivery of high level policy development, program management, service delivery and advice. Philip holds degrees in law and arts (with economic minor) and was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland and High Court of Australia in February 1992. As the Privacy Commissioner Philip actively promotes and champions privacy rights and responsibilities in Queensland. In his role as Privacy Commissioner, Philip leads the staff in OIC responsible for mediating privacy complaints which have not been resolved with the Queensland Government agency involved; conducting reviews and audits of privacy compliance; giving compliance notices for serious, flagrant or recurring breaches of the privacy principles; and waiving or modifying an agency’s privacy obligations for a particular purpose or project.

Angus Murray is a practising solicitor and human rights advocate. He is a Vice President of the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, the Chair of Electronic Frontiers Australia’s Policy and Research Committee and a Partner and Trade Marks Attorney at Irish Bentley Lawyers. He is also a co-founder and national director of The Legal Forecast and a professional member of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights. He holds a Master of Laws from Stockholm University and his academic work has focused on the interaction between the right to privacy and the enforcement of intellectual property law.

Dr Monique Mann is the Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow in Technology and Regulation at the Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology. She is a member of: The Crime, Justice and Social Democracy Research Centre (CJSDRC) at QUT Law; The Intellectual Property and Innovation Law (IPIL) Research Program at QUT Law; The International Law and Global Governance (ILGG) Research Program at QUT Law, and; The Digital Media Research Centre (DMRC) at QUT Creative Industries Faculty. Dr Mann is advancing a program of socio-legal research on the intersecting topics of algorithmic justice, police technology, surveillance, and transnational online policing. She is on the Board of Directors of the Australian Privacy Foundation.

 

 

COAG Summit on Reducing Violence against Women

CJSDRC Associate Professor Michael Flood contributed to the opening panel of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Summit on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children. The two-day summit, held over October 2-3 in Adelaide, was an invitation-only event for policy-makers, researchers, advocates, and service providers in the violence sector. The COAG Summit is intended to feed into the development of the fourth and final action plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022.

In the opening panel, facilitated by Natasha Stott Despoja, Dr Flood provided a stocktake of contemporary efforts in Australia to prevent domestic and sexual violence. He began with a reminder of what ‘primary prevention’ is: changing the social conditions that support and promote violence against women and children, to prevent initial perpetration and victimisation. Prevention is aimed at changing structures, norms, and practices (and is not focused only on attitudes or only on individuals and their behaviours). Flood noted that some prevention strategies are well developed: respectful relationships education in schools (although delivery is very uneven across Australia), communications and social marketing, and comprehensive approaches in some settings such as sports and media. On the other hand, there is in government policy insufficient attention to gender inequalities as drivers of violence against women, and some policies indeed entrench these inequalities. Few efforts are comprehensive (that is, using multiple strategies in multiple settings with multiple audiences). Few efforts involve substantial community engagement. There has been a greater focus on domestic and family violence and a neglect of sexual violence and sexual harassment. Strategies that are under-developed include community development and community mobilisation, respectful relationships education in other contexts such as universities, and work to erode structural gender inequalities.

Associate Professor Michael Flood briefly outlined what is needed in Australian prevention policy. This includes:

* A more defined focus on primary prevention in the Fourth Action Plan;
*  National coordination, whether through a ‘primary prevention hub’ or national coordination body or network.;
*  Sustainability, including sustained funding;
*  Scaling up;
*  Knowledge sharing, through some kind of national clearinghouse or hub;
*  Training and capacity building, to build an expert workforce for prevention;
*  Greater attention to sexual violence and sexual harassment;
*  The active policy promotion of gender equality, including through gender-responsive policies and budgeting;
*  Feminist advocacy, including contributions to, and consultation on, policy and programming;
*  Measures of progress, particularly of efforts to shift the gender inequalities which drive violence against women; and
*  Long term commitment, through a second National Plan.

(Please email Michael Flood if you wish to see a more detailed version of these comments.)

Launch of report on attitudes to gender in Australia

CJSDRC member, Associate Professor Michael Flood spoke at the launch of a new report on attitudes to gender in Australia. The report, From Girls to Men: Social attitudes to gender equality in Australia, involved a national survey of over 2,100 people in Australia aged 16 and over, and was launched at Old Parliament House, Canberra, on September 5.

Author and commentator Clementine Ford facilitated a panel comprising Dr Jessa Rogers (UNE); Associate Professor Michael Flood (QUT); Ashleigh Streeter (COO Jasiri); and Michael Livingstone (Jesuit Social Services). Flood and others at the event noted that while there is widespread awareness among women and men of gender inequalities in Australia, there is also among men in particular a troubling emphasis on how men have been ‘forgotten’ in or excluded from measures to improve gender equality.

Public Lecture: Human Rights in Queensland and Beyond

Crime, Justice and Social Democracy Research Centre member and Australian Privacy Foundation Board member Dr Monique Mann organised a large public lecture on the topic of Human Rights in Queensland and Beyond. Professor George Williams AO, Dean and Anthony Mason Professor of Law at the University of NSW, joined the QUT Faculty of Law to deliver a keynote lecture examining a range of issues relating to human rights in Australia and internationally.

This event was co-hosted with a range of community, legal and government partners including: Human Rights Act for Queensland Campaign, Australian Privacy Foundation, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, Queensland Council for Civil Liberties and Office of the Information Commissioner Queensland.

Professor Williams discussed the current state of human rights (or lack thereof) in Australia, the process and challenges associated with the development, implementation and enforcement of human rights charters, and most importantly, how a Queensland Human Rights Act would affect Queenslanders and Australians more broadly.

Following the lecture, a diverse panel of experts reflected on the importance of a Human Rights Act in their specific domain. The panellists included:

•             Ms Aimee McVeigh, Human Rights for QLD Campaign

•             Mr Shane Duffy, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service QLD

•             Ms Karyn Walsh, Micah Projects

•             Mr Phil Green, QLD Privacy Commissioner

•             Dr Bridget Lewis, QUT Faculty of Law

The event and discussion around this topic is particularly relevant following the Palaszczuk Government’s election commitment in early 2018 to introduce a Human Rights Act in Queensland. It is anticipated that the Palaszczuk Government will release a draft of the Queensland Human Rights Act in the near future.

The lecture attracted over 150 community, government and academic representatives. Philip Green, QLD Privacy Commissioner and panelist, found the discussion highly rewarding and shared his experience of the event: “I believe the discussion will be of tremendous benefit as Queensland embarks on public debate of a draft bill and as Australia debates some very concerning legislative

CSIRO Data61 Live Conference

On Tuesday the 18th of September Crime, Justice and Social Democracy Research Centre member Dr Monique Mann spoke at the CSIRO Data61Live conference. Data61Live is Australia’s premier science and technology event. More than 2,000 people registered to attend the event from corporates, SMEs and start-ups, universities, government and schools. Dr Mann spoke about some of the different ways forward (i.e. law, regulation, policy, design) for making the most out of big data while protecting privacy and preserving trust in new technologies.

 

Book: Challenging the Human Trafficking Narrative: victims, villains, and heroes’ by Dr Erin O’Brien

What is the moral of the human trafficking story, and how can the narrative be shaped and evolved? Stories of human trafficking are prolific in the public domain, proving immensely powerful in guiding our understandings of trafficking, and offering something tangible on which to base policy and action. Yet these stories also misrepresent the problem, establishing a dominant narrative that stifles other stories and fails to capture the complexity of human trafficking.

This book deconstructs the human trafficking narrative in public discourse, examining the victims, villains, and heroes of trafficking stories. Sex slaves, exploited workers, mobsters, pimps and johns, consumers, governments, and anti-trafficking activists are all characters in the story, serving to illustrate who is to blame for the problem of trafficking, and how that problem might be solved. Erin O’Brien argues that a constrained narrative of ideal victims, foreign villains, and western heroes dominates the discourse, underpinned by cultural assumptions about gender and ethnicity, and wider narratives of border security, consumerism, and western exceptionalism.

Drawing on depictions of trafficking in entertainment and news media, awareness campaigns, and government reports in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, this book will be of interest to criminologists, political scientists, sociologists, and those engaged with human rights activism and the politics of international justice.

https://www.routledge.com/Challenging-the-Human-Trafficking-Narrative-Victims-Villains-and-Heroes/OBrien/p/book/9781138858978

 

Associate Professor Molly Dragiewicz wins domestic violence prevention award

Associate Professor Molly Dragiewicz won a 2018 Domestic Violence Prevention Leadership Award from the Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast for Furthering the Work – adding new information and knowledge. Read more

Professor Reece Walters – ESC Conference, Sarajevo

Professor Reece Walters (Director, Crime, Justice and Social Democracy Research Centre) is pictured above with Professor Gorazd Mesko (President of the European Society of Criminology) at this week’s ESC conference in Sarajevo. Reece has been an International Partner Investigator with Professor Mesko on a Euro$770,000 project examining Water Crimes in Europe funded by the European Commission. This research will be published in a forthcoming book entitled Water, Governance and Crime. Reece has also presented a paper at the ESC as part of special panel on Southern Criminology chaired by QUT Adjunct Professor Maximo Sozzo. Reece’s paper was based on a chapter co-authored with QUT Adjunct Professors Nigel South and Avi Brisman and published in the Palgrave Handbook of Criminology and Global South edited by Kerry Carrington et al. Reece’s presentation focussed on the following:

The politics and conquests of the Global North have long necessitated the forced migration, colonization and ecological plunder of the Global South for imperial and capital expansionism. In recent decades, these excesses of accelerated industrialization have created new victims, with entire populations or “climate refugees” (Barnes and Dove 2015) or “environmental refugees” (Seelye 2001) dislocated by human-induced climate change. This presentation adopts Connell’s (2007) southern theory and Carrington and colleagues’ (2015) idea of a “southern criminology” to examine critically the notion of ‘climate apartheid’ and explore its impacts on the increasing number of individuals displaced by environmental harms.