Letter from the Chief Executive Julian Roffe
Dear friends of VSS
Welcome to the September edition of Crime Victim e-news.
As we move in to the finals of the 2016 football season, it seems only fitting to compare how we support victims in South Australia with our key AFL rivals – the Victorians.
In August I attended the 2016 Victims and Justice National Conference in Melbourne. It was an ideal opportunity to compare not only how the two jurisdictions provide support for victims, but also their attitudes towards victim engagement in the criminal justice system.
In his opening address to the Conference the Victorian Attorney-General, Martin Pakula, spoke of his government’s intention to legislate for a Victims of Crime Consultative Committee so that future governments in Victoria will be legally required to support the work of an advisory body dedicated to victim issues. Chaired by retired Supreme Court Justice the Hon. Bernard Teague AO, the Committee brings together victim representatives, Victoria Police, the Office of Public Prosecutions, the judiciary, the Adult Parole Board, the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal and victim service agencies.
In conjunction with the Victorian Victims of Crime Commissioner, the Committee identifies ways in which the justice system can better support victims. Its members include seven victims of serious offences who provide input from their lived-experience on legislation, policy and support services over a two-year term. Victims’ representatives provide advice to a permanent reference group and, in doing so, help promote discussion and mutual understanding, enabling crime victims to have a greater voice in the Victorian justice system.
One can’t help but contrast this to the situation in South Australia. Initially, we were years in front of our Victorian peers. In SA we legislated for such a victim’s advisory committee as far back as 2001. Under the VOC Act 2001, the Attorney-General may establish an advisory committee to advise on ‘practical initiatives that the Government might take’ to:
Unfortunately, the emphasis on the word ‘may’ in the South Australian legislation is highly significant because, although we legislated for a victims’ advisory committee 15 years ago, the South Australian version of the Victorian Victims of Crime Consultative Committee was scrapped about 6 years ago when John Rau became Attorney General. The irony is that when asked at the VSS State Election Forum in February 2014 where we should look for best practice in the support of victims of crime, the Attorney advised us to look at…Victoria.
As a direct consequence of the influence of the Victorian Victims of Crime Consultative Committee, Victoria is currently undertaking a review of the role of victims & witnesses in the trial process to identify systemic issues. A full report is due in December 2016.
Contrast this with South Australia where the government’s Criminal Justice Sector Reform Council has no victim representation - not even the Commissioner for Victims Rights - no survey of victims has been conducted for over 20 years, and funding for victim services has remained static for over a decade.
Whilst the Adelaide Crows may be holding their own against their Victorian rivals– and we wish them well throughout September - it seems that South Australia is losing ground when it comes to victim support and victim engagement.
Annual General Meeting
Victim Support Service Annual General Meeting
At Victim Support Service – Level 2, 33 Franklin St, Adelaide.
2015-16 Victim Worker of the Year Awards
Victim Support Service (VSS) is pleased to announce the 2015-16 Victim Worker of the Year Awards. Nominations are now being sought for this Award which is presented annually to up to two people – a ‘volunteer’ award and a ‘professional’ award. The VSS Awards provide an opportunity to publicly show recognition to a volunteer and worker for ‘making a difference’ to victims’ lives.
You can find more information on the VSS website www.victimsa.org or telephone 1800 VICTIM (1800 842 846) and ask to speak to Serena or Julian. To nominate someone please complete the nominations form on the VSS website at www.victimsa.org and return it to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday 12th October 2016.
Stan Grant, Sydney Morning Herald, 2016
Thalia Anthony, The Conversation, 2016
P. d’Abbs, G. Shaw, Menzies School of Health Research, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Aust.), 2016
Child Protection – see also Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
A. Quadara, M. Stathopoulos, R. Carson, Australian Institute of Family Studies for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, 2016.
“This project was developed to explore the long-term effect that disclosure of institutional child sexual abuse had on survivors and their families.” (-AIFS)
K Valentine [and 6 others], Social Policy Research Centre and the Parenting Research Centre for the Royal Commission, 2016
“The Royal Commission has been working to identify the key elements that institutions should adopt in order to be child safe. … we have confirmed that there are 10 key elements that are needed to create a child safe institution. We considered it timely to disseminate the child safe elements to assist institutions’ work on strengthening their child safe approaches.” (-RCIRCSA)
Wendy O'Brien, The Conversation, 2016
Child Protection Systems Royal Commission report (NylandReport)
Child Protection Systems Royal Commission, Attorney-General's Department (SA), 2016
Australian Youth Development Technical Advisory Committee, Youth Action New South Wales, 2016
The Nauru files: 2,000 leaked reports reveal scale of abuse of children in Australian offshore detention
Crime Prevention – see also Child Protection
SA Department of Correctional Services, 2016
‘Reducing re-offending: 10% by 2020’ targets a 10% reduction in the number of people who re-enter correctional services by 2020. In SA, 46% of those released from prison will return to corrective services within 2 years. This new strategy seeks to reduce this rate, and relieve the pressure on our prison system. The public are asked to comment on the strategy before Friday October 28th, 5pm.
Victorian Law Reform Commission, 2016
The Commission’s report provides general guidance for application to any industry, and identifies four main strategies to prevent infiltration by organised crime.
Australian Cyber Security Centre, 2016
Socially-engineered emails containing malicious attachments and embedded links have been observed by the Australian Signals Directorate being used in targeted cyber intrusions against organisations.
Imogen Halstead, Suzanne Poynton, NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, 2016
Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, Pusat Pelaporan dan Analisis Transaksi Keuangan (PPATK), 2016
Australian Institute of Criminology, 2016
“An annual consumer fraud survey to take a snapshot of the public’s exposure to consumer fraud and fraudulent invitations, to assess their impact, determine how victims respond, and identify emerging typologies and issues.” (-AIC)
Robert Merkel, The Conversation, 2016
Amanda Gombru, Georgia Brignell, Hugh Donnelly, Judicial Commission of New South Wales, 2016
Disability related issues
The Abolition of Defensive Homicide: A Step towards Populist Punitivism at the Expense of Mentally Impaired Offenders
“The offence of defensive homicide was abolished in Victoria in November 2014, following a widely held perception that it was being abused by violent men. While primarily associated with battered women who killed in response to prolonged family violence — but who were unable to establish their offending as self-defence — a less publicised rationale … was to provide an alternative offence for offenders with cognitive impairments not covered by the mental impairment (formerly the insanity) defence” (-Melb. Univ. Law Rev.)
Drugs – see also Crime Prevention
Tom Gotsis, Chris Angus, Lenny Roth, NSW Parliamentary Research Service, 2016
Matthew Willis, Ashleigh Baker, Tracy Cussen, Eileen Patterson, Australian Institute of Criminology, 2016
“This study updates an earlier AIC study, which examined the important issue of self-inflicted deaths in prison custody- using deaths in custody data for the period 1999–2013. Regrettably, suicide remains a common cause of death in prison; however, it is no longer the most common cause of death.” (-AIC)
Donald Ritchie, Nina Hudson, Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council, 2016
Children and Young People in Victoria. Specifically, it focuses on offenders aged under 18 at the time
of offending…from 2010 to 2015 (inclusive).” (-VSAC)
Measuring Crime – see also Cybercrime
NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, 2016
“The interactive map shows the location of incidents of non-domestic violence related assault in and around the Sydney Local Government Area which occurred between April 2015 and March 2016. There are two layers, one for alcohol related incidents and one for non-alcohol related incidents.” (-BOCSAR)
NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, 2016
“Presents 24 months of reception, discharge and custody population data and comparisons between the current and previous quarter for age, gender, indigenous status, most serious offence and the average length of stay.” (-BOCSAR)
Why am I?: The science of us: episode 3: When genes mix with the wrong environment [Video program –register to access]
Razor Films,Television New Zealand, 2016
Tracks the hunt for the fundamental developmental mechanism that completely rewrites the nature versus nurture argument - using three specific examples - violence in men, depression, and cannabis induced schizophrenia.
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
A new research report conducted for the Royal Commission has examined the long-term effects of disclosures of institutional child sexual abuse on survivors and their families.
“The Royal Commission has published nine audio stories based on survivors’ experiences as revealed in private sessions.” (-RCIRCSA)
K Valentine [and 6 others], Social Policy Research Centre and the Parenting Research Centre - for the Royal Commission, 2016
Victims of crime
The reporting experiences and support needs of victims of online fraud
New Publications in the VSS Resource Centre
i-brainmap: freeing your brain for happiness [Book]
McInnes, Rita. 2014. Py54
Australian psychologist Rita McInnes uses illustrations to visually explain how the brain is affected by trauma and how healing can occur. The techniques used in i-brainmap are grounded in the principles of mindfulness to create a practical, bottom-up approach to brain change. More details here
The PTSD Workbook 3rd edition: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms [eBook]
Williams, Mary Beth. 2016. eTr11
In this workbook, you’ll learn how to move past the trauma you’ve experienced and manage symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, and flashbacks. Based in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), this electronic book is extremely accessible and easy to use. More details here
You can borrow these books by joining the VSS Resource Centre. Read more information here
ANROWS Action Research Support Project (Domestic violence)
This program supports Building Safer Communities for Women projects to undertake action research. This includes support to design, implement and share findings of action research. Such research will contribute to the growing evidence base about what works in creating safe communities for women and their children in Australia.
In the Media
(unless otherwise indicated all are ABC reports)
Assets confiscated will be placed in fund for offender rehabilitation, crime-prevention strategies and victim support Advertiser article, 4 August 2016.
Teams to contest White Ribbon Trophy The Recorder (Port Pirie), 24 August 2016
Blue Knot Day
24 October, 2016.
Blue Knot Foundation
UNAA Forum on the Economic Empowerment of Women and Girls
5-6 September, 2016. Melbourne, Vic.
19th Australasian Conference on Traumatic Stress: Public issues, Private trauma
8-10 September 2016. Gold Coast, QLD.
Australasian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and Phoenix Australia
2016 Global Indigenous Women's Conference
12-14 September, 2016. Glenelg, SA.
Prevalent and Preventable: Practice And Policy In The Prevention Of Violence Against Women And Children: The AWAVA/ Our Watch International Conference On Violence Against Women
Marai Larasi and Professor Rashida Manjoo will be the keynote speakers.
19-22 September, 2016. Adelaide, SA
Presents case studies and strategies for not for profit agencies to increase their scalability and capacity to deliver frontline services.
27-29 September, 2016. Melbourne, Vic.
Stop Domestic Violence: Where does it start? - Probation and Community Corrections Officers Association conference 2016.
This conference focuses on perpetrator violence and features international and nationally recognised experts in their respective fields and training workshops for practitioners. Register here
18-21 October, 2016. Canberra, ACT.
Probation and Community Corrections Officers Association
Crime Prevention and Communities Conference: Innovative responses to traditional challenges
This important conference will present best practice in policy, evaluation and research. It will feature speakers on a range of crime prevention projects and programs. For more information click here
3-4 November 2016. Brisbane, QLD.
Technology facilitated abuse – understanding the issues and how frontline workers can improve the safety of women.
This 45 minute webinar is presented by Karen Bentley, National Director SafetyNet Australia, WESNET.
SafetyNet Australia, WESNET
Port Lincoln (Lower Eyre), Whyalla (Upper Eyre), Port Augusta (Far North), Port Pirie (Yorke & Mid North), Berri (Riverland), Murray Bridge (Murraylands), Mount Gambier (Limestone Coast)