VSS Update

Aboriginal Issues

Child Protection

Crime Prevention


Domestic Violence

Disability Related Issues



Measuring Crime

Mental Health

Royal Commission

Victims of Crime

New Publications at VSS


In the Media





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:

  • ensure that victims of crime are treated with proper consideration and respect in the criminal justice system;

  • help victims of crime to recover from harm suffered by them; and

  • advance the interests of victims of crime in other ways.

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.

Kind regards

Julian Roffe

Chief Executive



VSS Update


Annual General Meeting

Victim Support Service Annual General Meeting
Monday 31st October, 2016, 4.30pm.

At Victim Support Service – Level 2, 33 Franklin St, Adelaide.

Register by 24th October here


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 julianr@victimsa.org  by Wednesday 12th October 2016.



Aboriginal Issues


This week Australia is a boy in a hood strapped to a chair

Stan Grant, Sydney Morning Herald, 2016
This news article reports on Stan Grant's speech on the abuse in the Northern Territory's youth justice system.

Data gaps mean Indigenous incarceration rates may be even worse than we thought

Thalia Anthony, The Conversation, 2016
Thalia Anthony reports on gaps in the data available concerning recent Indigenous incarceration rates in Australia.

Monitoring trends in prevalence of petrol sniffing in selected Australian Aboriginal communities: final report

P. d’Abbs, G. Shaw, Menzies School of Health Research, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Aust.), 2016
“The key conclusion of the study is that the introduction and use of Low Aromatic Fuel on a regional basis is associated with a continuing decline in numbers of young people in remote communities sniffing petrol.” (-Menzies School of Health Research)


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


Family relationships and the disclosure of institutional 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)


Key elements of Child Safe Organisations: Research Study

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)


The NT Royal Commission: it’s a good start but more leadership is needed

Wendy O'Brien, The Conversation, 2016
“Juvenile justice is the business of states and territories, but the chronic abuses that have come to light demand that the Australian government demonstrate the leadership necessary to achieve human rights change.” (-The Conversation)

Child Protection Systems Royal Commission report  (NylandReport)

Child Protection Systems Royal Commission, Attorney-General's Department (SA), 2016
Royal Commissioner Margaret Nyland and her team looked at the laws, policies, practices and structures currently in place for children at risk of harm, abuse or neglect including those who are under the guardianship of the minister.

Australian youth development index: 2016 report

Australian Youth Development Technical Advisory Committee, Youth Action New South Wales, 2016
“This is the first national holistic measure of the status of young people in Australia and is designed to inform policy and a tool for advocacy. It analyses the state of youth development and changes since 2006.” (-YDTAC)


The Nauru files: 2,000 leaked reports reveal scale of abuse of children in Australian offshore detention
Paul Farrell, Nick Evershed, Helen Davidson, The Guardian, 2016
“The largest cache of documents to be leaked from within Australia’s asylum seeker detention regime details assaults, sexual assaults and self-harm.” (-The Guardian)


Crime Prevention – see also Child Protection


10 by 20: Reducing re-offending: 10% by 2020 – for public comment

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.


Use of regulatory regimes in preventing the infiltration of organised crime into lawful occupations and industries

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.

Malicious email mitigation strategies guide

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.

The NSW Intensive Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program (IDATP) and recidivism: an early look at outcomes for referrals

Imogen Halstead, Suzanne Poynton, NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, 2016
This study aimed: “To investigate whether referral to the Intensive Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program (IDATP) reduces re‑offending and/or returns to custody.” (-BOCSAR)


Terrorism financing: regional risk assessment 2016

Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, Pusat Pelaporan dan Analisis Transaksi Keuangan (PPATK), 2016
A joint Australian and Indonesian report which seeks to identify primary terrorism financing risks.




Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce: Results of the 2014 online consumer fraud survey

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)


Census website cracks after ‘malicious’ attack by hackers

Robert Merkel, The Conversation, 2016
Explains the nature of denial-of-service attacks, such as the one that reportedly brought the ABS Census website down on Census night.

Far reaching consequences of ABS/IBM census debacle: analysts [Audio program]
Mark Colvin, Emily Bourke, PM News and Current Affairs, 2016
Emily Bourke reports on the implications of the botched ABS online census for IT providers vying for future government contracts.

Domestic Violence


Sentencing for domestic violence

Amanda Gombru, Georgia Brignell, Hugh Donnelly, Judicial Commission of New South Wales, 2016
“This issue of Sentencing Trends & Issues focuses upon sentencing for family violence, referred to in case law and statutes as domestic violence. What follows is a legal discussion of general sentencing principles, the most common offences and legislative initiatives to combat the problem.” (-JCNSW)


Disability related issues


The Abolition of Defensive Homicide: A Step towards Populist Punitivism at the Expense of Mentally Impaired Offenders
M. Ulbrick, A. Flynn and D. Tyson, Melbourne University Law Review, 2016

“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


Illegal drug use and possession: current policy and debates

Tom Gotsis, Chris Angus, Lenny Roth, NSW Parliamentary Research Service, 2016
“Government policy to address illegal drug use and possession is an ongoing topic of debate both in Australia and internationally. One part of this debate concerns the effectiveness of the criminalisation of drug use as a means of minimising drug-related harms.” (-NSW PRS)




Self-inflicted deaths in Australian prisons

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) 


Sentencing children in Victoria: data update report

Donald Ritchie, Nina Hudson, Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council, 2016
“This report updates select data from the Sentencing Advisory Council’s 2012 report Sentencing

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


Interactive map of non-domestic assaults in Sydney

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)


New South Wales custody statistics: quarterly update June 2016

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)


Mental Health


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


Read more about the Royal Commission’s work here


Private session registrations to close on 30 September 2016


Research released on long-term effects of disclosure

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.


Audio stories give a voice to survivor stories

 “The Royal Commission has published nine audio stories based on survivors’ experiences as revealed in private sessions.” (-RCIRCSA)


Key elements of Child Safe Organisations: Research Study

K Valentine [and 6 others], Social Policy Research Centre and the Parenting Research Centre - for the Royal Commission, 2016
“The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has released a research report examining what elements make an institution ‘child safe’ using the opinions of a panel of Australian and international experts.” (-RCIRCSA)


Victims of crime


The reporting experiences and support needs of victims of online fraud
Cassandra Cross, Kelly Richards, Russell G. Smith, Australian Institute of Criminology, 2016
Reports on interviews with 80 Australians who suffered online fraud involving losses of $10,000 or more over the preceding 4 years. “Their stories illustrate the financial impact of fraud and the emotional, psychological, interpersonal and physical impacts of their victimisation. They also document the barriers they faced in reporting these crimes. The paper concludes by identifying the support needs of victims of online fraud.” (-AIC)


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)


Police have ranked Whyalla Stuart as #15 in the top 30 hotspots for family and domestic abuse in South Australia  

Assets confiscated will be placed in fund for offender rehabilitation, crime-prevention strategies and victim support          Advertiser article, 4 August 2016.

Noel Pearson: Royal commission won't fix problems facing Indigenous Australia

Coroners take longer to complete inquests in South Australia than other states: study

Youth detention: Malcolm Turnbull says issues apply in all jurisdictions, puts concerns on COAG agenda

ACT Government looks to remove time limit on sex abuse civil claims, allowing victims to sue institutions

Kids made worse by harsh treatment in NT detention, psychologist group says

Legal funding will prevent Indigenous kids entering detention system: Aboriginal legal groups

Lack of legal aid funding for domestic violence forcing women to drop cases: lawyers

Child Protection Systems Royal Commission makes 260 recommendations, warns of no quick fixes

New state care facilities for vulnerable children face potential closure in South Australia

SA child protection inquiry: Premier urged to admit state's liability to ease compensation process

Child Protection Systems Royal Commission: Safety notifications about unborn babies to start in South Australia

Police investigate pornography ring targeting Australian schoolgirls

Heroin deaths spike as investigations begin into 'strong batch' in South Australia

Reformed offenders 'missing link' to slashing prisoner numbers, research suggests

Teams to contest White Ribbon Trophy                                                                                                                                     The Recorder (Port Pirie), 24 August 2016




Blue Knot Day
Annual national awareness day for Australian adult survivors of childhood trauma and abuse. This year’s theme is: ‘Together we lead the way to survivor recovery’.

24 October, 2016.

Blue Knot Foundation




UNAA Forum on the Economic Empowerment of Women and Girls
This one and a half day forum will include expert keynote speakers, and a range of thematic discussions in which delegates will be encouraged to share their professional and personal insights to workshop a multi-sectoral action plan to advance economic empowerment of women and girls. 

5-6 September, 2016. Melbourne, Vic.
United Nations Association of Australia, Victorian Division


19th Australasian Conference on Traumatic Stress: Public issues, Private trauma
A world class forum on traumatic stress, which explores issues such as childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence, refugee and asylum seeker trauma, and the moral conflicts facing military personnel. More information here

8-10 September 2016. Gold Coast, QLD.

Australasian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and Phoenix Australia


2016 Global Indigenous Women's Conference

More information here

12-14 September, 2016. Glenelg, SA.
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance 


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.

Find out more and sign on for email updates here

19-22 September, 2016. Adelaide, SA

AWAVA/Our Watch


2nd Breaking the Cycle of Domestic & Family Violence Conference: building frontline capacity for scalability

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.

Akolade Events


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.
Australian Institute of Criminology and the Queensland Police Service




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.

Register here
Thursday, September 15, 2016. Online. SA, NT: 12.30 pm – 1.15 pm

SafetyNet Australia, WESNET


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)