At the 2015 annual general meeting for the Queensland Police Citizens Youth Welfare Association (QPCYWA), QUT Crime and Justice Research Centre’s Dr Cassandra Cross was elected to the Board of Directors. Her appointment to the Board of Directors comes following an evaluation that her and fellow QUT colleagues launched only two weeks ago, examining the community safety and crime prevention outcomes of Police Citizen Youth Clubs (PCYCs) across Queensland, as well as her ongoing volunteering at Carindale PCYC since 2009. Read more
The School of Justice in the Faculty of Law at QUT has launched Australia’s first Graduate Certificate in Domestic Violence. Students can choose to study two units a semester or take one unit at a time. Full details about the course are available here.
Read the news release here.
The four units are:
JSN204 Working with Domestic Violence
JSN203 Reducing Lethal Risk
JSN202 Children and Family Violence
JSN201 Dynamics of Domestic Violence
The course is offered online for flexible learning and is available to students across Australia. It supplements research with multimedia, discussion with other students, guest speakers, and tutorials with the lecturers.
The Graduate Certificate in Domestic Violence is designed to provide an in-depth look at the latest studies to inform research, policy, and practice in the field. It is a truly interdisciplinary course, drawing from criminology, law, social work, sociology, psychology, health, and economics. The course was designed after extensive community consultation with more than 100 community organisations and stakeholders.
JSN201 Dynamics of Domestic Violence is focused on the different types of violence and abuse, including its prevalence and distribution based on Australian official data sources and studies. It investigates the contributing factors that shape abuse and its impact, including perpetrator beliefs and behaviours. This unit provides critical skills training for interpreting research and an introduction to domestic violence measurement. It also reviews relevant state and national laws as well as major reports and action plans from government.
JSN202 Children and Family Violence centres on the implications of domestic violence for children. It includes domestic violence against pregnant women, the overlap between domestic violence and child abuse, and the latest research on trauma and the impact of exposure to adult violence. It includes skills training around interviewing children. This unit reviews law and policy related to child abuse reporting, including the Hague child abduction convention. The unit looks in depth at domestic violence in context of family law, including consideration the Best Interests of the Child. It also reviews issues related to “failure to protect.”
JSN203 Reducing Lethal Risk is focused on preventing domestic violence homicide. It reviews the research on domestic violence related homicide and suicide, including risk factors for child fatalities. The unit covers risk factors like separation, stalking, and strangulation and provides skills training in assessing lethal risk and safety planning. It also looks at domestic violence fatality reviews and death investigation.
JSN204 Working with Domestic Violence Victims is all about domestic violence services. It reviews the landscape of services in Queensland and will provide practical information about referral networks. This unit also includes information about integrated response teams and other coordinated models for domestic violence response. This unit emphasises the best available tools for screening. It also looks at meeting the needs of diverse communities, from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to immigrant, disabled, rural, and LGBT communities. This unit also contains a section on vicarious trauma and self-care and an individualised professional development project.
Pending final approval by the University Academic Board, the first cohort of students will begin study in February 2016.
QUT also offers an undergraduate unit JSB286 Domestic Violence
Professor Kerry Carrington from QUT’s School of Justice was recently featured in an ABC news story about the extensive overcrowding evident in Queensland prisons. Recent figures from the State’s Corrective Services department demonstrate there has been a 20 percent rise in inmates over the past two years, with the current prison population sitting at over 7,200 people. Professor Carrington comments on how prison overcrowding in Queensland has been the result of the changes in law and order policies that occurred under the former Newman government, along with significantly high numbers of prisoners currently on remand.
Watch the story here.
Read the news article here.
The custodial remand of young people has recently emerged as a key issue for youth justice in Australia, due primarily to concerns about perceived increases in young people on custodial remand. Richards and Renshaw’s (2013) national study of remand for young people found that a diverse range of factors have influenced rates of remand, including the increasingly complex needs of young offenders, police performance measures, and the influence of victims’ rights.
Minimising the unnecessary use of custodial remand for young people is important, as Australia has obligations under several United Nations instruments (eg the Convention on the rights of the child (United Nations 1989)) to use detention of any kind only as a last resort for young people. Further, every jurisdiction except Queensland has legislation in place that provides that young people should only be detained as a last resort.
In 2012 the Newman Government introduced changes to the youth justice system on the grounds that Queensland has been caught in the grip of a youth crime wave, and that young offenders were getting away with a ‘slap on the wrist’. The changes to the Youth Justice Act 1992 include:
- transferring young people to an adult prison once they turn 17 (if they have six months or more of a custodial sentence to serve);
- allowing young offenders to be identified by name;
- removing the principle of detention as a last resort; and
- introducing youth boot camps, including mandatory camps for repeat vehicle offenders in Townsville.
Justice Michael Shanahan, President of the Qld Children’s Court, noted ‘Several of these changes cause me grave concern’, in his introduction to the last Annual Report of the Queensland Children’s Court. A particular concern is that Queensland treats 17-year-olds as adults and automatically transfers them to adult prison if they have more than six months on their sentence remaining. This not only adds to an already over-burdened and growing adult prison population, but contravenes the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which stipulates 18 as the minimum age of adult imprisonment. Read more