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Annual report 2010/11

Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, 2011
ISSN 1836-229X

Crimnology Research Council Annual Report

Laurie Glanfield

The year in review

The year 2010–11 has been another very productive period for the Criminology Research Council as it has continued to support the field of criminological research.

Despite a reduction in the Commonwealth funding contribution as part of the 2010–11 whole-of-government efficiency measure, there were six new research grants approved during the year, initiating an interesting range of research relevant to current and future public policy issues.

Projects included Homicide in the Night-Time Economy, and Understanding Criminal Careers to reduce Indigenous over-representation.

The CRC also continued to support a number of existing research grants, while three research grants were completed, with their final reports approved by the Council. These projects were:

During the year research findings from CRC grants on crime in neighbourhoods, and jury sentencing, were released as AIC Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice papers. A consultancy on correctional offender treatment programs was also completed and released as an AIC Research and Public Policy report and as a Trends & Issues paper.

Four additional research grants were completed and provided final reports which will be considered by the new Criminology Research Advisory Council (see below) in the 2011–12 financial year. These projects were:

With regard to Council membership, one new council member was appointed this year—Mr Iain Anderson, replacing Ms Elizabeth Kelly as the Member for the Commonwealth. One council member also resigned this year—Ms Ingrid Haythorpe, the Member for South Australia.

Cessation of the Criminology Research Council

In late 2010, the Australian Government legislated amendments to the Criminology Research Act 1971 which will merge the AIC and the CRC, and transfer them, on 1 July 2011 from governance under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 to a single entity (the AIC) regulated under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.

The year 2010–11 therefore marks the last year that the CRC will operate as a separate statutory authority. The primary function of the Council has always been to support research that is relevant to current and future public policy issues, foster the undertaking of quality criminological research and ensure that CRC-supported research is disseminated effectively. Under the new legislated arrangements, the AIC assumes the responsibility for the annual CRC research grants program—making research grants that take account of the advice from the new Criminology Research Advisory Council.

The Council is pleased that the highly successful CRC research grants program will continue on as the re-named AIC Criminology Research Grants program. Existing state and territory members of the CRC will also continue to advise and recommend research grants as they will form the membership of the new Criminology Research Advisory Council. The Council will also advise the Director AIC on the AIC’s strategic research priorities and communication functions.

Under these new arrangements, all jurisdictions will continue to provide funds annually for the purposes of making Criminology Research grants—and importantly, there is no major change to the annual research grants process, the Criminology Research Grants program will continue to foster and support research that is relevant to current and future public policy issues.

I would like to thank Council members for their hard work throughout the year, and for current and previous serving members for their contributions to the success of the CRC research grants and I look forward to working with current members again as the new Chair of the Criminology Research Advisory Council in 2011–12.

Finally, on behalf of the CRC, I would like to express my appreciation to Dr Adam Tomison, Director AIC, Mr Peter Homel, Academic Adviser to the Council, Ms Katalina Bradley (CRC Grants Administrator) and the staff of the Australian Institute of Criminology for their exceptional support throughout the year and to the 2010-11 CRC Assessment Panel Members—Professor Alan Borowski and Associate Professor David Indermaur for their reviews of grant applications.

Laurie Glanfield AM
Chairman
Criminology Research Council

Agency Overview

The CRC was established by the Criminology Research Act 1971 and is an integral part of a state, territory and Australian Government approach to research criminological issues in Australia today.

The principal objectives of the CRC are to support research that is relevant to current and future public policy issues, foster the undertaking of quality criminological research and ensure that CRC-supported research is disseminated effectively.

The CRC provides a forum for attorneys-general around Australia and their representatives to assess needs in the field of criminological research and to fund specific research projects in universities, government agencies and elsewhere. The fund receives contributions every year from the Australian Government and state and territory governments.

Research funded by the Council addresses the National Research Priorities in a number of ways. Priority Areas 4 and 2—Protecting Australia from terrorism crime and Strengthening Australia’s social and economic fabric—are of particular relevance. Research has improved the evidence base for policy and practice, as well as public awareness of major types of offending, victimisation risk factors and effective measures to reduce and prevent crime.

The Council’s funds may be disseminated through the research grants program, as well as via a consultancy program. For its consultancies, the Council identifies topics of policy importance for research and then develops proposals that are publicly advertised. These consultancies are designed to meet highly specific objectives to which the Council has accorded priority. Such research, for example, could be designed to contribute to, or complement, the work of national initiatives by other organisations or state and territory initiatives that have clear policy or best practice implications for other governments within Australia.

Through the AIC’s JV Barry library, the CRC-funded research reports are listed on Libraries Australia and also on CINCH—the Australian criminology database—which is publicly available online. With hundreds of libraries Australia-wide participating in Libraries Australia, CRC reports receive wide coverage. Details of CRC-funded projects and the reports submitted in fulfilment of the projects, are posted on the CRC’s website.

Under grant funding arrangements, grantees are able to distribute their final report themselves. Many researchers choose to publish in the form of reports and journal articles, making their research readily available to the community. They also distribute copies to appropriate government departments and agencies. Grantees also provide a draft paper, which may be produced for publication in the AIC’s Trends & Issues series or, where appropriate, in the Research and Public Policy series.

Governance

Enabling legislation

The CRC was established under section 34 of the Criminology Research Act 1971 as a body corporate. The functions of the CRC, as stated in section 40 of the Act are:

… to control and administer the Fund in accordance with Part IV and, for that purpose, to examine, and determine the relative importance and urgency of, projects for which the expenditure of moneys from the Fund may be authorised.

In the 2010–11 Portfolio Budget Statement, the CRC had one outcome:

Criminological research by funding projects relevant to the public policy of both Australian and State and Territory Governments.

The principal objective of the CRC is:

… to support research which is relevant to current and future public policy issues, foster the undertaking of quality criminological research and ensure CRC-supported criminological research is disseminated effectively.

This is achieved by:

The CRC’s deliverable is:

research reports based on identified needs and priorities.

The Council

The Council does not employ administrative staff members; the AIC provides secretariat and administrative services. These include the provision of internal auditing of the Council’s activities as well as participation in the AIC’s internal governance structure which is designed to ensure compliance with statutory and other external requirements aimed at achieving best practice in administrative and financial management. The AIC advises the Council in relation to the need for criminological research as required under the Act.

The Council consists of nine members who represent the Australian Government and state and territory governments. This composition ensures that areas targeted for research funding reflect both national and state and territory priorities.

The Australian Government representative is appointed by the Attorney-General; state and territory representatives are appointed by the Attorney-General on the nomination of the responsible state or territory minister.

The Council meets three times a year and broadly dedicates the meetings to the following issues:

Members and meetings are identified in Appendix 1.

The Council funds a Research Fellow, who is located within the AIC and undertakes research at the direction of the Council. Dr Lorana Bartels was appointed and commenced duty on 17 September 2007 on a part-time basis. In 2010–11, Dr Bartels produced the following reviews, reports and papers for the Council, as well as assisting in the Council’s research activities:

The Fellow prepared a research proposal and undertook preliminary research on a proposal approved by the Council at its November 2010 meeting, Classifying domestic violence perpetrators: Identifying opportunities for intervention and prevention (CRC 50/10–11). In addition, the Fellow presented a paper at the 4th Australian and New Zealand Critical Criminology Conference on domestic violence issues, which was subsequently published in the refereed conference proceedings. The Fellow was also invited to present her research on confiscation schemes and unexplained wealth laws to delegations from the United States Department of Justice and Indonesian justice representatives. Dr Bartels resigned from her position in June 2011 in order to take up a position at the University of Canberra. The Council extends its thanks to Dr Bartels for her work as CRC Fellow over the past four years.

Consultancies

For consultancies, the Council identifies topics of policy importance for research and then develops proposals which are publicly advertised. These consultancies are designed to meet highly-specific objectives to which the Council has accorded priority. Such research, for example, could be designed to contribute to, or complement, the work of national initiatives by other organisations, or state and territory initiatives which have clear policy or best practice implications for other governments within Australia.

Funding grants

The Guidelines For Grants, issued by the Council to applicants, includes the following criteria adopted by the Council in consideration of applications:

Criminology Research Fund

In the 2010–11 Portfolio Budget Statement, the total Australian Government appropriation for the CRC was $205,000. The appropriation to the CRC was to meet administered costs for the single government outcome.

Contributions to the Criminology Research Fund by the participating governments for the 2010–11 financial year totalled $205,000. Each state and territory made contributions on a pro-rata population basis as shown in the table below.

Selection panel

A panel comprising two senior criminologists, selected by the Council from recommendations by the President of ANZSOC, considers applications for general grants. The panel this year consisted of Professor Alan Borowski and Associate Professor David Indermaur. Panel members were required to assess all applications for research funding submitted to the Council independently and completed an assessment sheet for each application. Their assessments were discussed at a meeting held with the Academic Adviser to the Council, Mr Peter Homel, who submitted final recommendations to the CRC for consideration at its November meeting.

Report on performance

New projects for 2010–11

CRC 20/10–11: Determining the impact of opioid substitution therapy upon mortality and recidivism among prisoners: A 22-year data linkage study

Professor Louisa Degenhardt, Dr Lucy Burns, Dr Donald Weatherburn, Associate Professor Tony Butler, Dr Amy Gibson, Dr Jo Kimber, Professor Richard Mattick, Associate Professor Christopher Doran, Dr Devon Indig, Dr Tim Slade, Deborah Zador, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre University of New South Wales

Prisoners are a marginalised group placing considerable costs on society. They experience very high rates of drug dependence, health problems and premature mortality. Without intervention they are highly likely to come into further contact with the criminal justice system, creating further health risk.

This study will quantify the impact of opioid substitution therapy (OST; methadone or buprenorphine) on two important outcomes for opioid dependent prisoners: mortality, particularly in the post-release period; and subsequent criminal activity. Using linked data, the study will have almost 600,000 person-years of follow-up over 22 years, allowing fine grained analyses of disadvantaged subpopulations. This evidence cannot be obtained with accuracy from small studies or randomised controlled trials. Study results will have clear implications for the health and welfare of this population, and will provide evidence of potential health and crime reduction gains, and the cost savings that might result.

CRC 38/10–11: Understanding criminal careers: Targeting individual and community based interventions to reduce Indigenous over-representation

Dr Troy Allard, Ms April Chrzanowski, Associate Professor Anna Stewart, Griffith University

The project will adopt a criminal careers framework and determine: (i) differences in the nature and cost of offending trajectories across the youth and adult justice systems based on Indigenous status and gender; and (ii) whether the spatial distribution of offender groups and the cost of these groups is a useful approach for targeting community crime prevention interventions. The project involves construction and analyses of a Queensland based offender cohort, which includes all contacts that individuals born in 1990 have had with police cautioning, youth justice conferencing, youth court and adult court to age 20. Trajectory models will be produced using the Semi-Parametric Group-based Method (SPGM), with separate models based on Indigenous status and gender. It is anticipated that Indigenous offenders will have different offending pathways from non-Indigenous offenders, the chronic Indigenous offender group will be more costly than other groups and the spatial distribution of offender groups will facilitate targeting of community-based interventions to particular locations.

CRC 44/10–11: Reoffence risk in intrafamilial child sex offenders

Professor Jane Goodman-Delahunty, Professor Stephen C Wong, Charles Sturt University

The Violence Risk Scale-Sexual Offender version includes dynamic and static factors. It has the potential to contribute significantly to recidivism risk assessment by predicting sexual violence, identifying treatment targets and evaluating treatment change. This study tests the validity and reliability of the VRS-SO, previously validated on incarcerated Canadian extrafamilial sex offenders, in an Australian sample of 214 intrafamilial sex offenders in a community-based setting. Findings will have implications for practice (use of the instrument for this population), theory (increased knowledge about sex offender typologies) and policy (viability of legislated pre-trial diversion program for biological/non-biological parents who commit child sex offences).

CRC 47/10–11: Homicide and the night-time economy

Professor Stephen Tomsen, University of Western Sydney, Mr Jason Payne, Australian Institute of Criminology

Australian national homicide monitoring is comprehensive. Nevertheless, key aspects of this crime are not fully understood, including the uneven long-term decline between offences occurring within distinct locations and social relations between parties. This study comprises a unique analysis of homicide producing new quantitative and qualitative information about the full prevalence, trends and locations of killing related to aspects of the expanding night-time economy. It will advance knowledge of the range of related public and private or domestic offending to inform official strategies with more specific knowledge about levels of higher risk and the possibilities of prevention in key social settings and communities.

CRC 48/10–11: Community variations in hoax calls and suspicious fires: Geographic, temporal and socio-economic dimensions and trajectories

Dr Jonathan James Corcoran, Dr Michael Townsley, Dr Rebecca Leigh Wickes, Dr Tara Renae McGee, The University of Queensland

Malicious hoax calls for service (MHCs) and suspicious fires (SFs) are a significant burden to the community, financially and in the potential danger they present, yet little is known about the dynamic associated with their prevalence. This research will comprehensively examine these offences using unit-level location data supplied by the Queensland Fire & Rescue Service. The aim of this research is to identify the temporal and spatial patterning of MHCs and SFs. Analysis will use advanced methods of geographic visualisation and spatially based temporal modelling. Understanding the pattern of these offences will provide the foundation for future crime prevention activities.

CRC 50/10–11: Classifying domestic violence perpetrators: Identifying opportunities for intervention and prevention

Mr Jason Payne, Mr Josh Sweeney, Ms Sarah MacGregor, Australian Institute of Criminology

This project seeks to identify a typology of domestic violence perpetration by triangulating officially recorded criminal history records, detailed case management files and offender/victim interviews for clients of the Tasmanian Safe at Home program. Key research issues include to what extent case management and interviews with perpetrators and victims contribute to the development of domestic violence profiles and how such a typology can be used to inform early intervention policies and offender programs. The data gathered will help to develop a more complete profile of domestic violence offending, as well as facilitating an analysis of concordance between multiple data sources.

Continuing projects for 2010–11

CRC 11/09–10: Sentencing of Indigenous offenders in the lower courts: A study of three Australian jurisdictions

Dr Samantha Jeffries, Dr Christine Bond, Queensland University of Technology

The CRC made a grant of $15,086 for this project.

CRC 38/09–10: Addressing the ‘crime problem’ of the Northern Territory Intervention: Alternate paths to regulating minor driving offences in remote communities

Dr Thalia Anthony, Dr Harry Blagg, University of Technology, Sydney

The CRC made a grant of $33,000 for this project.

CRC 24/07–08: Analysis of supervision skills of juvenile justice workers

Associate Professor Chris Trotter and Professor Gill McIvor, Monash University

The CRC made a grant of $154,105 for this project.

CRC 26/08–09: Developing successful diversionary schemes for youth from remote Aboriginal communities

Dr Kate Senior, Dr Richard Chenhall, Mr William Ivory and Dr Tricia Nagel, Menzies School of Health Research

The CRC made a grant of $186,208 for this project.

Reports of completed research

CRC 04/06–07: Jury sentencing survey

Professor Kate Warner, Dr Julia Davis, Dr Maggie Walter, Dr Rebecca Bradfield, University of Tasmania

The CRC made a grant of $174,050 for this project.

The project aimed to improve the measurement of public attitudes to sentencing matters and the level of public knowledge of sentencing and related issues. A three-phase research design surveyed jurors in trials with a guilty verdict immediately following the verdict and again after the jurors were provided with sentencing information. Survey results were supplemented by follow-up in-depth interviews with a reflective sample of jurors. The results of the research will allow policymakers to respond to informed public opinion with the ultimate aim of improving confidence and confronting public punitiveness.

CRC 42/08–09: ID scanners in night-time economy: Social sorting or social order?

Dr Darren Palmer, Dr Peter Miller and Dr Ian Warren, Deakin University

The CRC made a grant of $56,452 for this project.

The project investigated the introduction of ID scanners in ‘high-risk’ entertainment venues in Geelong (Victoria) as part of an attempt to enhance community safety. Recently the inner city area of Geelong has been transformed into a significant ‘night-time economy’. However, such developments come with potential harms, such as increases in crime and anti-social behaviour. Networked ID scanners are a unique innovation introduced to address these issues. The project documented what has been done, why, with what impact and potential (or actual) harms existed to serve as a model for future policy and program development.

CRC 02/09–10: Assessing the therapeutic climate of prisons

Associate Professor Andrew Day, Dr Sharon Casey, Dr James Vess, Deakin University

The CRC made a grant of $45,554 for this project.

Correctional administrations across Australia have, in recent years, dedicated considerable resources to the development of offender rehabilitation programs. While few controlled evaluations of Australian correctional programs have been conducted, there is a long history of anecdotal and ethnographic observations relating to the nature of prison cultures and their possible deleterious effects on rehabilitative outcomes. This project aimed to investigate the social climate of Australian prison units, validate a brief scale (the EssenCES) for assessing prison social climates, provide a comparison between different types of units and develop recommendations for improving the therapeutic context in which rehabilitation programs are offered.

CRC 50/09–10: Amphetamine use among detainees at the East Perth watch house: What is the impact on crime?

Mrs Natalie Gately, Dr Catherine McGregor, Ms Jenny Kessell, Professor Steve Allsop, Dr Anthony Gunnell, Dr Celia Wilkinson, Edith Cowan University

The CRC made a grant of $55,521.75 for this project.

Existing data from the Western Australian arm of the Drug Use Monitoring Australia (DUMA) project and reported crime in Western Australia was analysed. Firstly, amphetamine use indicators from the DUMA data between 1999 and 2009 and the types of crime for which amphetamine users were being detained were identified and significant relationships analysed. Secondly, amphetamine use indicators were analysed in relationship to Western Australian reported crime statistics for the period 2002–08 to identify significant relationships between amphetamine use indicators and reported crime in Western Australia.

CRC 13/09–10: Child sexual abuse and subsequent offending and victimisation: A 45-year follow-up study

Professor James Ogloff, Emeritus Professor Paul Mullen, Ms Margaret Cutajar, Monash University

The CRC made a grant of $43,652 for this project.

This study aimed to examine the relationship between child sexual abuse (CSA) and subsequent criminal offending and victimisation, and to examine the mediating role of mental illness on apparent associations. This 45-year follow-up study involved the linkage of 2,759 CSA cases derived from records from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine to a Victorian Police database, identifying contacts for criminal and victimisation matters. The CSA cohort was compared with a control group matched on gender and age to determine whether victims of CSA were at an increased risk of offending and victimisation, which was hypothesised to be affirmative.

CRC 38/08–09: ‘Sudanese refugees’ experiences with the Queensland criminal justice system

Dr Garry Coventry, Dr Glenn Dawes, Dr Stephen Moston & Dr Darren Palmer, James Cook University

The CRC made a grant of $134,811 for this project.

This study consisted of an 18-month longitudinal study which focused on how Sudanese refugees interacted with the Queensland criminal justice system. The study was original because it employed a multi-methodological approach in gaining the perceptions of Sudanese people who were either the victims or perpetrators crime. Other data sources included examination of key police databases, interviews with police and support agencies and a discourse analysis of media reportage about Sudanese integration in the state. Another potential significant outcome of the research related to the development of a streamlined procedure for measuring race related crime.

CRC 19/07–08: Crime in neighbourhoods: Individuals and families in context

Dr Tara McGee, Dr Rebecca Wickes, Professor Jake Najman, Dr William Bor

The CRC made a grant of $57,361.52 for this project.

This project simultaneously examined individual, family and neighbourhood predictors of adolescent antisocial behaviour. This paper drew on the Mater University Study of Pregnancy and the Australian Bureau of Statistics census data to examine the between neighbourhood variation in incidences of antisocial behaviour in adolescence while controlled for a range of individual and familial factors. Analyses explored the dynamic relationship between individual and social factors and their relationship to antisocial behaviour across the statistical local areas located in the South-East Queensland region. Individual and maternal factors and family processes were more important than neighbourhood characteristics. The small observed area effects may have had pronounced impacts on outcomes and the present research suggests that disadvantage may exacerbate antisocial behaviour. However, these effects were secondary to other individual and familial factors.

CRC 10/08–09: Oral language competence and interpersonal violence: Exploring links in incarcerated young males

Dr Pamela Snow & Prof Martine Powell, Monash University

The CRC made a grant of $76,196 for this project.

This project built on prior research conducted by the principal investigators, who showed that unidentified oral language deficits were present in over 50 percent of a community sample of male youth offenders. Such deficits included difficulties using and understanding everyday spoken language and may have been undetected or misinterpreted by the communication partner. In this study, the prevalence of such deficits was examined in an incarcerated sample (n=100), and links to violent offending (the most severe form of disrupted interpersonal behaviour) was examined. Findings informed both theory and practice in offender treatment programs, where verbally mediated interventions are common.

Appendix 1: CRC members

CRC members at 30 June 2011
Jurisdiction Member and deputy Appointed
Australian Capital Territory Member: Ms Kathy Leigh 27/11/09
Deputy: Mr Stephen Goggs 13/06/07
Australian Government Member: Mr Iain Anderson 02/07/10
Deputy: Ms Sarah Chidgey 27/03/09
New South Wales Member: Mr Laurie Glanfield AM (Chair) 30/07/91
Deputy: Mr Brendan Thomas 08/11/07
Northern Territory Member: Mr Richard Coates 19/09/02
Deputy: Ms Marianne Conaty 15/06/11
Queensland Member: Mr Terry Ryan 24/05/04
Deputy: vacant
South Australia Member: vacant 02/06/11
Deputy: vacant
Tasmania Member: Mr Norman Reaburn 09/10/00
Deputy: Mr Peter Maloney 08/08/00
Victoria Member: Ms Penny Armytage 19/06/03
Deputy: Dr Marion Frere 08/06/11
Western Australia Member: Ms Cheryl Gwilliam 14/03/08
Deputy: Mr Andrew Marshall 01/01/10

Notes

Mr Russell Caldwell attended the June meeting as an observer for the Northern Territory, Ms Jenny Lang attended the June meeting as an observer for Queensland, Ms Mini Dharmasenan attended the June meeting as an observer for South Australia, and Ms Kathrina Lo attended the June meeting as an observer for New South Wales.

There was a 94 percent attendance rate by Australian Government, state and territory representatives this financial year.

The meeting on 21 July 2010 was held at the Department of the Attorney-General in Perth. The meetings on 10 November 2010 and the final meeting of the Council on 30 June 2011 were held at the AIC in Canberra.

At the meeting on 30 June 2011, the Council acknowledged the significant contribution of Mr Laurie Glanfield as Chair of the Council for 20 years.

Appendix 2: Statutory reporting requirements

Freedom of information

This statement is provided in accordance with section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982. It refers to the structure of the CRC and the categories of documents it holds, with information as to how access can be made.

Categories of documents

Freedom of Information requests during 2010–11

The Council received no requests for information under the provisions of the Act during the year ending 30 June 2011.

Requests can be made in writing to the General Manager, Corporate Services, Australian Institute of Criminology, GPO Box 2944, Canberra ACT 2601.

Ombudsman

There were no reviews undertaken by the Ombudsman.

Advertising and market research

The Council did not engage any vendors for advertising or market research in 2010–11.

Appendix 3: Mandatory reporting in this report

Requirement Page
Covered in the CRC report
Letter of transmittal 2
Table of contents v
Index 147
Contact officer iv
Internet address of agency and annual report 112–113
Review by Director 114
Agency overview 114–115
Agency role and functions  
Organisational structure
Outcome and program structure 116
Review of performance in relation to programs and contribution to outcomes 119
Narrative discussion and analysis of performance 119
Trend information  
Developments since the end of the financial year that may affect future operations or results 112
Statement of main corporate governance arrangements 116
Certification of compliance with Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines
Significant developments in external scrutiny
Judicial and administrative tribunal decisions
Reports by the Auditor-General, Parliamentary committees or the Ombudsman 124
Statement of new consultancy services contracts 117
Absence of provisions in contracts allowing access by the Auditor-General
Contracts exempt from
Financial statements 128–146
Freedom of information 124
Advertising and market research 124
Grant programs 117
Correction of material errors in previous annual report
List of requirements 125
Covered in the AIC report
Performance in relation to deliverables and KPIs set out in PBS/PAES 47
Discussion and analysis of financial performance 57–59
Agency resource statement and resource table by outcome
Assessment of effectiveness in managing and developing human resources to meet objectives
Staffing statistics 54
Agreements and AWAs 53
Performance pay
Effectiveness of assets management
Assessment of purchasing against core policies and principles 58
Performance on implementation of Commonwealth Disability Strategy
OH&S 74
Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance 74

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