International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy ranked top for Law for Australia

The International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy  has been ranked by Scopus as the top Law journal in Australia. The journal has been steadily growing in international stature and recognition with over a quarter of a million downloads from all over the world. It only just became eligible for ranking.

It is extremely gratifying to be ranked in Q2 (second quartile) by Scopus for Journal Quality, a not insignificant feat for a new journal from the global south, given the way this data base is skewed towards journals from the English speaking countries of the global north.

Moreover, within Australia the Journal is ranked as number 1 for all Law journals included the Scopus data base. The editors wish to acknowledge the hard work on the International Editorial Board  and dedicated authors in achieving this international level of success. For details on how to submit click here

For ranking details click here.

The Editors

Professors Kerry Carrington and John Scott

Assistant Editor

Dr Kelly Richards

Open Letter to PM Calling for National Royal Commission into Youth Detention

youth in chair restraint

Open Letter to the Prime Minister the Hon Malcolm Turnbull

Re: Extend the Terms of Reference Royal Commission Into Youth Detention to All Australian Jurisdictions

The disturbing issues raised by ABC’s 4Corners Program on the detention of young people are not confined to the Northern Territory. The terms of reference for an effective Royal Commission needs to include all young people in detention across all Australian jurisdictions – for the following reasons.

Over-Representation of Indigenous Youth in Detention is a National Issue

While the NT has the highest number of Indigenous youth in detention, their over-representation   is a chronic feature that adversely affects every Australian jurisdiction. Additionally, over the last five years the rate of over-representation of Indigenous youth in detention has continued to rise. While accounting for around 6% of those aged 10-17, Indigenous youth comprise more than half (54%) of all those detained across Australian jurisdictions (AIHW, 2016:17). This means Indigenous youth are 20-24 times over-represented in juvenile detention compared to non-Indigenous youth. Social and historical inequality underlie the causes of Indigenous inter-generational incarceration. Australia cannot continue to incarcerate its way out of these deeply social, cultural and economic problems. We might “contain” the problem for the briefest moment, but the effects of custody will endure and eventually wreak further havoc – into the next generation.

Use of Detention as a Last Resort is inconsistently upheld by all Australian jurisdictions

Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights to the Child (to which Australia is a signatory),[i] custodial detention of young people is a last resort. Yet youth detention is increasing in Northern Territory and Queensland, and only declining slightly in most states over the last five years  (AIHW, 2016: 13). The provision is routinely flouted in all jurisdictions. If secure care has to be used, it should be used only for violent offences or those which pose extreme and immediate risk to public safety. About 80% of proven offending by juveniles is for non-violent activity (see latest ABS numbers for youth offenders). Around 40% of juveniles sentenced to detention are there for a principal offence which is non-violent (theft or unlawful entry with intent). Hence most of the young people in custody pose no direct threat to the community and would be more suitable candidates for community based corrections.

Youth detention is generally ineffective in rehabilitating young offenders and reducing their rates of recidivism (Carrington & Pereira, 2009; Cunneen, White and Richards, 2015). It is also extremely costly. In 2014-15 $438 million was spent on Australia’s 17 youth detention centres – to detain an average of 885 children per night (Children’s Commissioners, 2016). This costs $1,336 per evening per detainee. The alternatives to custodial sentencing, are not only considerably cheaper, but are less harmful and more effective in rehabilitating young offenders and deterring re-offending (Richards and Renshaw, 2013).

Most young people in Detention are on Remand – for no good reason at great expense

Over half of young people in detention at any one time are on remand (AIHW 2016). This exposes far too many children to short bursts of incarceration by stealth. 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, lack of alternatives, and the influence of victims’ rights. Custodial remand is very costly, has harmful effects on children and probably does little to enhance community safety (Richards & Renshaw 2013; Carrington and Pereira 2009, White 2014). The adverse impacts of placing so many  young people on custodial remand, include: separation from family and community; disruption to educational and employment opportunities; lack of access to rehabilitative programs; association with sentenced offenders; and much more (see Richards & Renshaw 2013 for an overview).

Detention without Brutality

If juvenile detention facilities have to exist, they should be run on therapeutic principles. What happened in the NT was not necessarily the product of a few “sadistic” correctional officers doing a few horrific things to vulnerable children. It reflects a toxic culture that put the twisted philosophy of “tough love” above the welfare of incarcerated children.  The abuse is a systemic institutional issue and not a problem created by a few correctional officers.   The use of restraints, isolation and humiliating punishments in detention is strongly discouraged by international research – not least because it so often leads to the re-traumatising of an already vulnerable group (Australian Custodial Australia’s Children Commissioners and Guardians, 2016).  While custodial environments are about control and containment, that does not mean they have to be about brutality. Control can be achieved dynamically through negotiation and through the long hard yards of consistently reinforcing children’s dignity and their right to be heard and taken seriously – even and especially in custody.  Victoria is on the cusp of pushing through widespread changes to the juvenile custodial system with a therapeutic approach to be the desired norm.  Research demonstrates that the “best” custodial spaces (those least likely to perpetrate abuse) are those which pay close attention to  the nature of, and relationship between, organisational climates (the larger forces of partisan politics, budgetary constraints, public demands, etc), organisational structures (the laws, regulations, and administrative arrangements set up to ensure security and safe dealings within correctional settings) and organisational cultures (the informal norms and customs developed by groups within organisations that are oriented towards coping with external and internally driven challenges) (Goldsmith, Halsey, Groves, 2016: 19-27). While many youth workers in the juvenile justice system  strive to support young offenders,  few, if any custodial facilities in Australia can claim to adequately balance these issues. While there is some reasonable scepticism that a Royal Commission will resolve these problems, it will certainly provide the driver needed across Australian jurisdictions to forge an urgently needed new culture in custodial settings. More importantly it could be the driver needed to put in practice the provision of custodial sentencing as a last resort.

Professor Kerry Carrington and Dr Kelly Richards QUT, QLD,  Professor Mark Halsey Flinders University,  SA, Professor Chris Cunneen, UNSW,  NSW, Professor Rob White and Associate Professor Angie Dwyer, University of Tasmania, Tasmania, and Professor Judith Bessant, RMIT, Victoria.

27 July 2016

[i] Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which has been ratified by the Commonwealth stipulates that States Parties shall ensure that ‘(b) No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time’. These principles are echoed in other international instruments including the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty and the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

Helping Ourselves to Deal With the Pain of Others: Secondary Traumatization Syndrome and Vicarious Traumatization


Originally posted on 18/02/2015 by Border Criminologies

Guest post by Shlomit Weiss-Dagan (MSW), a clinical social worker in a social welfare department, Jerusalem, and PhD candidate (social work) at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. Shlomit is currently in Oxford.This post is the third instalment of the Border Criminologies Themed Week on Research Methodologies, organised by Prof Mary Bosworth

Trauma can be emotionally contagious. I have experienced it personally. While I was a social worker, I was exposed to many kinds of human trauma, including cases of child abuse. Gradually, the distress I was witnessing at work intruded on my inner, personal sense of security. I only noticed what was happening during a holiday with my family. My father took my nephews to his bed to read stories to them, just as he used to do in my own childhood. As a social worker exposed to many kinds of child abuse, I found myself, walking into my father’s room and checking that ‘everything was fine.’ Needless to say, I had a happy and healthy childhood. My dad looked at me and realized what I was doing. He had huge disappointment in his eyes. Later on, he told me that it was one of the most difficult moments of his life. That was the first time I realized what exposure to trauma can do. READ MORE ….

Suspicious Minds and Unwelcome Researchers: Obstacles Encountered When Researching Forced Return in Sweden

 logo_en Malmöhögskola

This post is the second instalment of the Border Criminologies Themed Week on Research Methodologies, organised by Prof Mary BosworthGuest post by Daniela DeBonoSofia Rönnqvist, and Karin Magnusson, research fellows at Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare, Sweden. In this post, Daniela, Karin, and Sofia address the challenges they faced while conducting field research for the project Migrants’ Experiences of Involuntary Return, funded by the European Return Fund

Forced return in Sweden is characterized by heavy politicization, systemic fragmentation and is shrouded in a veil of securitization. Forced return is both an organized activity, with different state and non-state authorities involved, and an activity that seeks to end a relationship of responsibility between the state and the non-citizen. The forced return migration process is generally not conceptualised as a comprehensive process by policy-makers or practitioners but rather as a loosely linked series of activities that eventually lead to the return of the migrant. This is possibly due to the disparate institutional actors involved. For migrants however, the actual “end threat” of removal to their country of origin is very real and hangs like a dark shadow on their existence for as long as they hold temporary permits of residence. This dark shadow of deportation takes on new and tangible proportions through the institutional forms and practices that migrants, who have either failed their application for asylum or who have no other lawful permit to remain in the country, encounter. Our project attempts to start filling a knowledge gap by exploring migrants’ own experiences of this particular forced return process conceptualised as a social, cultural and political phenomenon. Access and contact with migrants is therefore of utmost importance to our project. READ MORE

Thinking and talking about research methodologies: Why should we bother?


Post by Mary Bosworth, Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford. This post is the first instalment of the Border Criminologies Themed Week on Research Methodologies,

It is no accident that we decided to start our themed blog post series with one on research methodologies. All too often relegated to appendices of books or to the ‘boring bit’ of graduate and undergraduate training, how we do our research, who we do it with and the kinds of decisions we make along the way are, in fact, central to academic inquiry. Most obviously, decisions we make about research methods shape our findings. They also raise a series of compelling, and sometimes, unsettling, ethical and moral questions. For those of us working with vulnerable populations (and who in criminology is not?), such matters can be messy, painful and unnerving. Remaining silent about them can generate personal anxieties and intellectual confusion. What we doing here? What is the point of our work? Are we getting things right? READ MORE

Int Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy included in Web of Science 2015


The International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy will be included in the prestigious Web of Science 2015 edition. This is southern criminology finally breaking through the glass ceiling. Thanks to our international editors and authors for this amazing success.

International Editorial Board
The journal has a distinguished International Editorial Board of 47 leading scholars from law and criminology across 15 countries and five continents. Nationalities represented on the Board include 14 from Australia, and 22 from United Kingdom, United States, Canada, New Zealand, Spain, Argentina, China, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Macau, Netherlands, Norway and Poland. Welcome to our newest addition to the board, Professor Joanne Belnap from University of Colorado, former President of the American Society of Criminology.

Since its first publication in November 2012 the journal has published 52 articles over 7 issues, from Vol 1(1) November 2012 to Vol 4(1) April 2015. The journal has consistently met publication schedules.

International Scope
More than half of the articles have been authored by international scholars from United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, New Zealand, The Netherlands and Spain.

Abstracts views: 92,507
Articles full pdf downloads: 60,231

Existing quality journal-linked databases
WEB OF SCIENCE 2015 Edition; Ulrich; Proquest; Australian Policy Online (APO); Paperty, DOAJ; EBSCO; National Library of Australia’s Trove, ARC Excellence in Research Australia 2014 Journals List. Validated by Scopus and waiting on final notification of inclusion.

For more information about the journal and our impressive International Editorial Board go to:

Chief Editors Kerry Carrington and Reece Walters

Domestic violence service provision and rural life: An Australian case study


“One client who is in domestically [sic] violent relationship – not many people know. Her husband is in a high position in town and he beats her, I mean really bad and she’ll try to hide it. She’ll come into town with a black eye and bruises and tell everyone she had a car accident. Another time she said she slipped in the bath, or she’ll avoid coming into town for a while. She will run out of excuses soon, she can’t keep saying she had a car accident again.” (Family Counsellor)

One the major characteristics of domestic violence is its invisibility. In rural areas it is cloaked by the privacy of family life and the tyranny of distance. Research just published by Santi Owen and Kerry Carrington confirms how victims in rural towns go to great lengths to hide their abuse. Their study involved interviews with 49 rural service providers from criminal justice agencies, including police, courts, health and welfare services across 12 Local Government Areas (LGAs) with high rates of domestic assault.

Contrary to common belief, as a proportion per capita, rates of domestic assault are higher in rural and regional areas. The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research provides annual rankings of the top 50 LGAs with the highest rate of reported DV incidences per 100,000 population. At the time of this study 46 of the top 50 LGAs with the highest rate of domestic violent assaults were located in regional and rural NSW. Only 4 were in metropolitan areas. The interviews with rural DV service providers undertaken for this study were drawn from 12 of the highest ranking localities for domestic assault.

The interviews provided rich insights into women’s decisions whether or not to seek intervention from government-funded services in rural areas. The study found these decisions can be affected in distinctive ways in rural communities.
Firstly, personal shame attached to being a victim of DV encourages rural women to be complicit in remaining silent, making it difficult for service providers to access clients. This then leads to under-use of regional DV services and chronic under-reporting of DV.

Secondly, heightened privacy valued by rural families leaves DV victims isolated on rural properties, again frustrating the objectives of DV service provision.
Thirdly, when women break their silence to seek DV service support, the tyranny of distance and lack of services within close proximity to where they live makes it difficult for regional services to operate efficiently, or even operate at all.
Fourthly, informal social controls that act as a deterrent to women to seek assistance to end the abuse, also act to similarly stigmatise DV service providers (police, courts, health and social work personnel), making them vulnerable to social stigma, exclusion and professional isolation.

Lastly, because of these difficulties in reporting and service provision, the implementation of an integrated service provision model, the model adopted in urban settings, confronts manifold more obstacles in rural settings.

Read the full article here: Santi Owen and Kerry Carrington, (2015) ‘Domestic Violence (DV) Service Provision and the Architecture of Rural Life: An Australian Case Study’, Journal of Rural Studies, April 2015

Outdated journal rankings and the ERA exercise



Professor Rick Sarre, School of Law, University of South Australia, and President, Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology (ANZSOC)

Professor Kerry Carrington, Head of School of Justice, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology.

Professor Reece Walters, Assistant Dean of Research, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology.

Forthcoming PacifiCrim, ANZSOC Newsletter, May 2015

As the results of the latest Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) exercise come closer to being announced, universities around Australia are holding their collective breaths.  The ERA claims to be an assessment of research strengths and quality at Australian universities. While it is not supposed to produce a set of league tables, ultimately that is what tends to happen.

Almost a decade ago, policymakers began the search for credible research performance indicators.  Bibliographic metrics tables were born.  In 2009 the Australian Research Council (ARC) published a set of journal rankings based on advice and feedback from various academic and professional associations.  Journals were ranked A*, A, B or C. The rankings were based on an academic assessment of journals published from 2001 to 2006. The exercise did not last long. Two years later, the rankings were discarded by then Minister Kim Carr for two reasons: first, because it became apparent that evaluation committees were tending to rely upon their own knowledge, and second, because the rankings were deemed to have become outdated.  Moreover, the Minister said there was evidence the rankings were being ‘deployed inappropriately within some quarters of the sector’ and ‘in ways that could produce harmful outcomes, and based on a poor understanding of the actual role of the rankings. One common example was the setting of targets for publication in A and A* journals by institutional research managers.’ (Carr, K quoted in Mazzarol and Soutar)

The news was welcomed by the Australian Academy of Science Secretary for Science Policy, the Academy of Social Sciences, the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and Margaret Shiel, the then CEO of the ARC. Indeed, journal rankings were not used in the 2012 ERA exercise. Instructions to applicants and reviewers for ARC grants consistently state that one should not use these rankings as measures of quality. Finally, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) is concerned about the misuse of any ERA journal ranking in performance management, and state unequivocally ‘that its continued use as a measure of research performance or in any other context is illegitimate.’

Notwithstanding all of the above, these out-dated lists continue to enjoy the favour of many Australian university managers. This gives rise to some unfortunate consequences. For example, researchers are discouraged from publishing in new and innovative journals that were ranked less than an A in 2006. Schools are now unwilling to begin new publication ventures because new journals will remain unranked for a not insignificant period of time.

There is another worrying aspect to this as well; one that has global consequences. It is no accident that journal citations and ranking measures place journals from US and UK (and sometimes Europe) at the top of lists, with one apparent measure being sheer longevity. Newcomers from the global south, such as Australia and Latin America, have, in the last twenty years especially, used open access, clever marketing and innovation to challenge the dominance of the big players. Traditional (global north) journal publishers are likely to attempt to manipulate the ranking lists to counter these trends.  The Scopus Journal Ranking system includes only 7 journals from Australia in criminology and law, which all rank in the lower quartiles. ANZ Journal of Criminology, Current Issues in Criminal Justice and International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, do not appear in the system. Australian journals cannot compete on a level playing field with the journals from the densely populated northern hemisphere. Yet it is important that we support our own journals from the global south.

Why do managers in Australian universities persist in using outdated journal rankings in arranging and assessing their submissions to ERA 2015 or, indeed, for anything else?  These rankings are officially dead, so why have they not been buried? The answers are not immediately clear. But we do know that, until the relevant funerals are held, younger tertiary institutions, new journals, newer disciplines and early career researchers will continue to be seriously disadvantaged.

Professor Rick Sarre, School of Law, University of South Australia, and President, Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology (ANZSOC)

Professor Kerry Carrington, Head of School of Justice, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology.

Professor Reece Walters, Assistant Dean of Research, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology.


Professor Sandra Walklate: new Adjunct Professor joins the Crime and Justice Research Centre


Professor Sandra Walklate is a leading scholar in Criminology, Editor in Chief of the British Journal of Criminology, and recipient of the British Society of Criminology 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. Sandra Walklate is Eleanor Rathbone Chair of Sociology and currently head of department of sociology, social policy and criminology at the University of Liverpool having held posts previously at Manchester Metropolitan University, Keele University, Salford University and Liverpool John Moores University. She is internationally recognised for her work in victimology particularly around criminal victimisation and the fear of crime. Her recent publications include Gender and Crime (2012) (4 volumes) (ed) Routledge Major Works Series, Handbook on Sexual Violence (2011) (co-edited with Jennifer Brown) Routledge-Willan, and her first book dealing with victimology has recently been reissued as part of the Routledge Revival Series, Victimology: The Victim and the Criminal Justice Process (1989-2012). Other recent publications include: The Cultural Contradictions of Terrorism (2014, Routledge with Gabe Mythen) and Victims, Trauma, Testimony (2014, Routledge with Ross McGarry).