VSS Update

Aboriginal Issues

Child Protection

Crime Prevention


Domestic Violence


Gender Inequity


Measuring Crime

Mental Health

Royal Commission

New Publications


Web Apps

In The Media






Dear friends of VSS


Welcome to the May edition of Crime Victim e-news.


Back in 2012, the Victim Support Service (VSS), in partnership with the Disability Advocacy and Complaints Service of South Australia (DACSSA) and Dignity for Disability (D4D) established ‘Barriers to Justice’ (B2J). The group works in partnership to advocate for law and policy reform to improve access to justice for people with disability.


The latest work of B2J has been to formulate a response to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry into the Indefinite Detention of People with Cognitive and Psychiatric Impairment in Australia.


Many people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment come into contact with the criminal justice system as victims or witnesses of crime, accused persons, defendants, or offenders, and face significant barriers to accessing justice, whether in a police station, in court, or in the prison system. Unfortunately, it seems clear that many improvements are urgently required to ensure that people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment that enter the criminal justice system are treated with informed understanding, dignity and fairness. 


The B2J submission calls for a human rights-based approach to improving access to justice for people with a cognitive and psychiatric impairment, as outlined in the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2014 report, ‘Equal Before the Law: Towards Disability Justice Strategies’. In the absence of such an approach, people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment will be forced to continue to endure the long-term psychological, financial and social impacts of indefinite detention.


One of the most important distinctions is to recognize that the care, containment and support that people with cognitive impairment require is very different to that of the mentally ill. Whilst interventions aimed at the mentally ill will focus on that which is treatable and reversible, people with cognitive impairment need to be supported by training, allowance of maturation and caring support. This difference necessitates different legal mechanisms for each group. 

Unfortunately, research shows that access to adequate care in prisons for people with cognitive impairment continues to be one of the biggest challenges faced by the criminal justice system.  B2J understands that, in lieu of access to adequate facilities, inmates with cognitive and psychiatric impairment are often ‘managed’ by segregation from other prisoners. This can result in an inmate with a cognitive or psychiatric impairment being subject to solitary confinement, the cause of significant psychological harm.


You can read a full copy of our submission here


Kind regards


Julian Roffe

Chief Executive


VSS Update




Port Pirie Domestic Violence Remembrance Day event

Wednesday 4 May, 2016, 1.30-3.30pm.  Women’s Keepsake Garden, Wandearah Road, Port Pirie.

The focus of the event will be to remember the women and children who have lost their lives as a result of domestic violence. Queries to Jenny Lewis, Victim Support Service, Port Pirie, phone 8633 4888 or email pirie@victimsa.org 




B2J submission to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee: Indefinite Detention of People with Cognitive or Psychiatric Impairment in Australia

The B2J submission calls for a human rights-based approach to improving access to justice for people with a cognitive and psychiatric impairment, as outlined in the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2014 report, ‘Equal Before the Law: Towards Disability Justice Strategies’.




First Response program 

In partnership with South Australia Police, VSS are piloting the First Response program in Western Adelaide between March and June 2016.  First Response provides practical advice, information and emotional support to victims of property crime. Victims of property crime living in Port Adelaide Enfield, City of Charles Sturt, and City of West Torrens are eligible for First Response services. Find out more about First Response and how you can get involved as a volunteer



Aboriginal Issues


Shameful statistics: black deaths in custody [Audio program and transcript]

Damien Carrick, Carol Row, Dennis Eggington, Peter Collins, ABC Radio National, 2016

It is 25 years since the release of the report of the Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody. In 1992, 1 in 7 of Australia's prison population were indigenous. Twenty five years later, current available statistics say 1 in 3 prisoners are Aboriginal Australian.


Fact check: Are Indigenous children ten times more likely than non-Indigenous children to be living out of home?

ABC, 13 April 2016

“Are Indigenous children 10 times more likely to be living out of home than their non-Indigenous counterparts? ABC Fact Check investigates. The verdict - Senator Hanson-Young's claim is a fair call.” (-ABC)


'Good kid, mad system': the role for health in reforming justice for vulnerable communities

Anthea Krieg, Jill Guthrie, Michael Levy, Leonie Segal, Medical Journal of Australia, 2016

“The over-representation of Indigenous Australians in all stages of the justice system is one of Australia’s most significant social justice issues… it is time to redesign our criminal justice system to

redress the over-reliance on incarceration as the means of achieving safer communities.” (-MJA)


Child Protection – see also Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse


United Call for Urgent Action on Redress

Blue Knot Foundation (ASCA) [and 4 others], 2016

On 15 March leading organisations working with child abuse victims, released a media statement calling for urgent action for a National Redress Scheme for survivors of institutional childhood sexual abuse.


Child protection Australia 2014–15

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016

“Contains comprehensive information on state and territory child protection and support services in 2014-15, and on the characteristics of Australian children within the child protection system” (-AIHW)


Brief review of contemporary sexual offence and child sexual abuse legislation in Australia: 2015 update

Hayley Boxall, Georgina Fuller, Australian Institute of Criminology for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, 2016

An update to the previous 2013 review of sexual offence legislation in Australia. This update contains detailed information about all sexual offence legislation enacted as at 31 December 2015.


The views of children and young people in out-of-home care: overview of indicator results from a pilot national survey 2015

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016

“Key findings include 91% of children reporting feeling both safe and settled in their current placement; 97% reporting that they had an adult who cares about what happens to them now and in the future; and 67% reporting that they usually get to have a say in what happens to them, and that people usually listen to what they say.” (-AIHW)


Community engagement : a key strategy for improving outcomes for Australian families

Australian Institute for Family Studies, Child Family Community Australia, 2016

“This paper seeks to clarify what community engagement involves, and the role it can play in improving outcomes for children and families.” (-CFCA)


Crime Prevention


Assessing the effectiveness of school-based sexual abuse prevention programs

K. Walsh, K. Zwi, S. Woolfenden & A. Schlonsky IN Family Matters 97: 5-15.

The purpose of this paper is to introduce readers to the importance of systematic reviewing for understanding the effectiveness of school-based programs for the prevention of child sexual abuse.


Is it gambling or a game? Simulated gambling games: their use and regulation

Marissa Dickins, Anna Thomas, Australian Gambling Research Centre, Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2016

“People who play simulated gambling games are more likely to gamble commercially and report gambling problems, but reasons, pathways and causality for this co-occurrence have yet to be established.” (-AGRC)





ABS report 4528.0 - Personal Fraud, 2014-15 

Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2016

In 2014-2015, “Card fraud cost Australia $2.1 billion.” (-ABS)


Domestic Violence - see also under Aboriginal issues


Social Development Committee - 39th Report - Domestic and Family Violence Inquiry Report

South Australia. Social Development Committee, 2016

The Social Development Committee examining family and domestic abuse in South Australia has released its recommendations, calling on the State Government to “expand the Domestic Violence Court Assistance Program throughout South Australia to play a coordination role in helping victims navigate their way through the court system.” (-SDC)


Domestic and family violence and co-occurring mental health issues and addictions: Common stories in a reinforcing social system

B. Morris, 2015

Paper presented at the Australian 2015 STOP Domestic Violence Conference, Canberra, ACT.


Identifying and responding to men who use violence in their intimate relationships

Kelsey Hegarty [and 4 others], Australian Family Physician, 6 April 2016

“Aims to describe how GPs can identify and respond to men who use violence in their relationships. It takes into account that male perpetrators are not a homogenous group, coming from all socioeconomic and cultural groups.” (-AFP)


Royal Commission into Family Violence full report

Victoria. Royal Commission into Family Violence, 2016

“The Commission's multi-volume report canvasses the many views heard by the Commission during its consultation processes and covers a broad range of topics including risk assessment, information sharing, service system pathways, police, courts, offences and sentencing“ (-VRCFV)




Alcohol and other drug treatment services (AODTS) : key findings for 2014-2015
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016
Report for 2014-15 from the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set.


Did the ‘lockout law’ reforms increase assaults at The Star casino, Pyrmont?

N. Donnelly [and 4 others], NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, 2016

 “The February 2014 reforms may have increased the number of assaults in Pyrmont, particularly at The Star casino. The increase, however, is much smaller than the decreases in assaults recorded in the Kings Cross and Sydney CBD entertainment precincts following the reforms.” (-BOCSAR)


Gender Inequity


Gender diversity : It makes sense [Youtube video clips]

Office for Recreation and Sport, 2016

The Office for Recreation and Sport is leading increasing the awareness of the need and opportunity for a higher level of gender diversity in sport through a series of short videos.




Predictable and preventable [Audio program]

Eileen Baldry, Robyn Williams, Ockham's Razor, ABC Radio National, 2016
A large and growing group in the criminal justice system are the poor, disadvantaged, and Aboriginal people with disabilities.

ABS report 4517.0 - Prisoners in Australia, 2015

 “Key findings - Australian adult prisoner numbers continue to rise. The number of prisoners in adult corrective services custody increased by 7% from 33,789 prisoners at 30 June, 2014 to 36,134 at 30 June, 2015. The national imprisonment rate was 196 prisoners per 100,000 adult population, a 6% increase from 186 prisoners per 100,000 adult population in 2014. Unsentenced prisoners increased by 21 per cent.” (-ABS)


How people solve legal problems: level of disadvantage and legal capability

Hugh M. McDonald, Zhigang Wei, Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales, 2016
“The findings clearly signal the vital role of not-for-profit legal services in extending access to justice to the most disadvantaged members of the Australian community. In addition, given the high use of health or welfare advisers by the most disadvantaged group, the results also point to collaboration between these advisers and public legal services as a key strategy to enhance access to justice for the most disadvantaged.” (-LJFNSW)


Is early intervention timely?

Suzie Forell, Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales, 2016

Explores the assumptions that priority clients groups can be reached and assisted by legal services 'early', and that the assistance provided will be more effective.


Measuring crime


Elder abuse: understanding issues, frameworks and responses

Rae Kaspiew, Rachel Carson, Helen Rhoades, Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2016
“Provides an overview of elder abuse in Australia - including its characteristics, context, and prevention.” (-AIFS)


Mental health


Mental health services in Australia

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016

A summary overview of services including links to the most recent AIHW data, reports and publications on mental health as at April 2016.


Assessing gambling-related harm: a public health perspective

Matthew Browne [and 12 others], Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, 2016
This study explores gambling-related harm in Victoria, using a burden of disease approach.

Defining and delivering effective counselling and psychotherapy

Lawrie Moloney, Child Family Community Australia, 2016

“Evidence about how counselling works leads to a brief discussion of the critical question of how counsellors develop and maintain expertise and how, as an essentially private process, counselling can nonetheless provide appropriate levels of accountability for clients, employers, funding bodies and of course for counsellors themselves.” (-CFCA)


Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse


Read more about the Royal Commission’s work here


Report into St Joseph’s Orphanage released

The Royal Commission’s report into Case Study 26 - the response of the Sisters of Mercy, the Catholic Diocese of Rockhampton and the Queensland Government to allegations of child sexual abuse at St Joseph’s Orphanage, Neerkol, has been released.


Case Study 35 (Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne)

The Royal Commission held further hearings into Case Study 35 in Sydney on Wednesday 27 April 2016.


Royal Commission releases findings into health care providers and regulators

The Royal Commission’s Report of Case Study 27 – The response of health care service providers and regulators in New South Wales and Victoria to allegations of child sexual abuse –  has been released.. 


Royal Commission hosts criminal justice public roundtables

The Royal Commission held a series of public roundtables in April to discuss a range of criminal justice issues with invited participants.


Royal Commission holds its 5,000th private session

The Royal Commission completed its 5,000th private session on 12th April, 2016.  


New Publications in the VSS Resource Centre


Assessing and treating trauma and PTSD. 2nd edition. Schupp, Linda, 2015.

Explores the nature of traumatic stress and provides spot-on assessment tools for various trauma-related criteria, as well as new theories, research and therapeutic techniques. Tr112


Redressing institutional abuse of children. Daly, Kathleen, 2014. What constitutes institutional abuse of children? What is redress? What do survivors want? In18 


These items are for loan from the VSS Resource Centre. Read more information here




Step-by-step guidance provided on the site shows women how to enhance privacy and security on portable and home devices, when browsing online, sharing photos, and using apps and social media services.

Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner and WESNET


Web apps


ABS Stats – android version

Australian Bureau of Statistics has released a free Android version of its “ABS Stats” iOS mobile application.

Australian Bureau of Statistics


In the Media (unless otherwise indicated all are ABC reports)


Family Violence Minister Fiona Richardson angered by 'victim silencing' in court


Christian Brothers accused of dodging Ballarat child sex abuse compensation claims


#GaylesLaw posts flood social media lobbying for remote nursing reforms after Gayle Woodford's death


Victim Support Service in South Australia challenges the State Government to follow Victoria's lead and overhaul its family violence support system


Mentally-impaired accused laws: WA review recommends more discretion for courts


Man found guilty of murder for head-on collision a landmark decision in SA: victims rights' commissioner


Men with disabilities inappropriately detained in SA prisons, MP tells Parliament


Scrap mandatory sentencing, barristers say

Financial Review article, 7 April 2016


The government in Western Australia has announced a plan to force methamphetamine or "ice" users into rehabilitation programs, by using mental health laws


Pat Dodson: Aboriginal leader sounds renewed warning on 'vicious cycle' of deaths in custody


Victoria's Chief Justice Marilyn Warren urges more diversity in judicial system


Housing issues hold SA prisoners back from getting parole, corrections chief says


Domestic violence a factor in 76% of SA family law cases


Blind-reported child sex abuse cases may be reopened after hundreds not investigated


Victims of crime payouts 'withheld' due to delayed SA police investigations





Walk for Justice 2016

Each year, members of Adelaide’s legal community and supporters undertake a 5 km walk to raise money for JusticeNet SA, who provide pro bono legal assistance to low-income and disadvantaged South Australians. Register here.

17 May, 2016. Adelaide, SA.

JusticeNet SA




2nd Annual Innovative Business Models for Not for Profits

Contact Akolade on 02 9247 6000 or email registration@akolade.com.au to register. 

11-13 May, 2016. Sydney, NSW.
This forum will bring together sector leaders with experts on social innovation, government and community agencies, philanthropic organisations, peak bodies and some of the most innovative Australian Not-For- Profits.



Child Aware Approaches Conference: Valuing, protecting and promoting child wellbeing

23-24 May 2016. Brisbane, Qld.
This conference aims to advance the goals of the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009 – 2020, the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022 and advance the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Families Australia


5th Annual Australian Fraud Summit 2016

24-26 May 2016. Sydney, NSW.
Brings together experts from government and the private sector to investigate measures to prevent and detect fraud.


Pathways to Protection and Permanency: Getting it Right for Children, Young People and Families: ACWA 2016 Conference

Read more details here

15-17 August, 2016. Sydney, NSW.
Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies


2016 National ICE Conference: creating the knowledge through innovation & education

For details contact Catherine at kwyevents@kwy.org.au or phone: 0437959504
Register here

15-16 September, 2016. Adelaide, SA.

Kornar Winmil Yunti


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 Prof Rashida Manjoo will be the keynote speakers.

Find out more and sign on for email updates here

19 - 22 September, 2016. Adelaide, SA

AWAVA/Our Watch




MIFSA (Mental Illness Fellowship SA) partner programs

MIFSA offer a number of programs at Wayville and Christies Beach, SA for partners or carers of those living with mental illness. More details here. To register phone 8378 4100 or email carersupport@mifsa.org

April 2016 onwards. Adelaide, SA



I don't trust you but you are my last hope: assessing and treating complex trauma

Presenter: Dr Bethany Brand. This workshop provides a deeper understanding of the impact, assessment and treatment of complex trauma. Uses vignettes, art work, journaling, and videos to demonstrate treatment approaches.

23-24 June, 2016. Melbourne, Vic.

Delphi Training and Consulting


The Mindfulness Combo: Innovative Mindfulness Techniques for Emotional Eating, Weight Loss, Smoking Cessation, Substance Misuse, Breaking Problematic Habits, Impulse Control, Anxiety and Depression

Presented by Pavel Somov. A quick-paced, highly experiential workshop with hands-on exercises.

Register here

View program here

27 June, 2016. Adelaide, SA.

TATRA Corporate and Allied Health Training Services


The Anger Management Jumpstart and Beyond: The Powerful Mindfulness- based Techniques for Transforming Anger into Self-acceptance, Empathy and Forgiveness

Presented by Pavel Somov and based on his four step Anger Jumpstart program.

28 June, 2016. Adelaide, SA.

TATRA Corporate and Allied Health Training Services


Compassion Fatigue, Resiliency at Work and Recovery For Professionals

Presented by Anna Baranowsky. A brief resiliency program for professionals which offers insight into the impact of compassion fatigue on those working with seriously injured, ill or traumatized individuals, groups, organizations and communities.

10 August 2016. Adelaide, SA.

TATRA Corporate and Allied Health Training Services


Trauma-Informed Care and Practice

This one day interactive training workshop provides the information and skills needed by workers in service settings, to assist people seeking help for their often trauma-related daily difficulties

15 August, 2016. Adelaide, SA.

Blue Knot Foundation


1800 VICTIM (1800 842 846)

1800 842 846

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)