CRC funded reports
The Council received reports from 11 completed research projects during the year 1993-94. A second report was received for a project, originally completed in 1990 (28/88), following further data collection and analysis. Summaries of these reports are given below. These reports are held by the Australian Institute of Criminology's JV Barry Library and are available on inter-library loan. For full bibliographic information on any report, search the Library's Catalogue.
- The general prevention of drinking and driving
- Situational factors in the relationship between violence and the public use of alcohol
- Queensland Aboriginal Trust community initiatives in taking responsibility for social control
- Investigation of the incidence and analysis of cases of alleged violence reporting to the accident and emergency centre of St Vincent's hospital
- Identification of biological material for forensic analysis, application of new DNA technology to an old problem
- A rational approach programme development model for crime victims
- A preliminary investigation into perceptions of Australian criminal, civil and family law prevalent among the Indo-Chinese settled in Australia
- Alcohol use among Aboriginal youth and its relationship to delinquent behaviour
- Corporate law sanctions and the control of white collar crime
- The relationship between critical development experiences during childhood and pubescence, hostility and negative evaluation and adult sexual interest in and abuse of children
- Fraud in nonprofit organisations
Report title: The General Prevention of Drinking and Driving (PDF 1.9MB)
Grantees: Prof Ross Homel, Griffith University, Queensland
Criminology Research Council grant ; (11/87)
The products of this research, comprising various papers and journal articles, have been bound in one volume under the project's title.
The overall purpose of the research was to explore the general preventive effects of drink-drive law. The research developed the work of Homel (1986) on general deterrence, and extended the international research of Snortum, Berger and their colleagues to Australia. Since Australia has a relatively high rate of alcohol consumption but also appears to have one of the most successful drink-drive countermeasures in random breath testing (RBT), the extension of the international research to Australia added a new dimension to our understanding of the impact of drink-drive law in Australia. Comparisons were drawn specifically with the USA and Norway.
The Australian survey, completed in June 1988 by ANOP, included face-to-face interviews with 1,505 drivers over the age of 17, 1,133 of whom drank at least once per year. The survey was carried out in rural and metropolitan areas of NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia. At the time of the study neither Queensland nor WA had RBT, although both had had vigorous "random stopping programs". A prediction of the study, which was confirmed, was that NSW respondents would report higher levels of compliance, be more deterred, and be more condemning of drink-driving behaviour.
The interview schedule sought information in four areas: (a) behaviour - usual alcohol consumption, details of alcohol consumed and travel arrangements on the last occasion on which alcohol was consumed away from home, etc.; (b) exposure to and perceptions of formal and informal sanctions - perceptions of the risk of apprehension, moral beliefs about drinking and driving, perceived pressure from friends, etc.; (c) knowledge - penalties and regulations, understanding of the relationship between alcohol consumption and blood alcohol concentration (BAC); and (d) population descriptors - age, sex, etc.
Striking differences in social norms, attitudes, and behaviours surrounding drinking and driving were found in the three countries. Norway appeared to have progressed farthest toward general prevention, whereas Australia relied more on general deterrence, reflecting the impact of RBT in the most populous States. Both general deterrence and general prevention appeared relatively weak in the US.
Self-reported violations were considerably higher in Australia and the US than in Norway. Australia reported more often than drivers in the other two countries that they travelled by motor vehicle to a drinking occasion in the last two weeks. This illustrates the structural pressures to drink and drive in Australia and the relative lack of planning to use other methods of transport.
Norwegians and Australians had a better knowledge of the law than Americans. Australians were less cynical than Americans about the operation of the law, and reported more often than Americans that fear of arrest is the main reason for exercising control. Australians had a stronger moral commitment to drink-driving laws than Americans, but not as strong as Norwegians.
Comparing States of Australia, the analysis suggested that regardless of State, many Australian drivers attempt to comply with drink-driving laws. An important result was that many drinkers who normally drank very heavily moderated their consumption on the last occasion on which they drank away from home, although a majority of the heavier drinkers elected not to drive. This tends to confirm the deterrent impact of RBT on heavy drinkers reported by Homel (1988).
Of immense theoretical and practical importance, nearly two-thirds of NSW young drivers reported that when with friends they used police breath testing as an excuse to limit their drinking, compared with only one-third of WA young drivers. The overall evidence for the far greater intensity of police enforcement of drink-driving laws in NSW compared with WA was overwhelming. There is clear evidence that the intensive enforcement of RBT in NSW had succeeded in changing the social environment of RBT in NSW, and that beliefs about drinking and driving were beginning to change as a result of the enforcement and publicity of the law.
Report title: Situational Factors in the Relationship between Violence and the Public Use of Alcohol (PDF 3.2MB)
Grantees: Prof Ross Homel, Griffith University, Queensland
Criminology Research Council grant ; (42/88)
The products of this research, comprising various papers and journal articles, have been bound in one volume under the project's title.
The purpose of this research was to document the nature of the "apparent statistical association" between alcohol use and violence through an examination of police incident reports and police recording practices; and to explore, through detailed observations of clubs, pubs, and discos, ways in which the association between alcohol consumption and violence may be produced in the specific context of public drinking locations.
Observers visited 17 establishments in Sydney during 1989, making a total of 55 visits to 23 separate sites in the 17 establishments with a total observation time in excess of 300 hours. The licensed premises selected for study included some with a longstanding reputation for violence, as well as some with a reputation for handling violence in an effective way. The method used was qualitative and relatively unstructured, but was focused around features of the management of the establishment and the physical and social environment. The key question was: What aspects of management, security staff, the patrons, or the drinking environment tend to promote or to prevent the occurrence of violence?
It was found that there is a substantial link between public drinking and publicly occurring violence. This link is possibly far greater than previously thought by researchers, especially in certain types of drinking locations. The majority of incidents of violence occurring in and around drinking establishments are not reported or recorded, and so official crime statistics understate the true incidence of such offences.
Assaults taking place in and around drinking establishments are probably less likely to be officially recorded by police because it is often difficult to identify a victim. It seems likely that the majority of assaults occurring in public places in NSW (and elsewhere) are alcohol-related. Much unreported violence derives from specific premises that are "regularly violent". There are at least several dozen such venues in the Sydney area and many have been regularly violent for years. 30 assaults were observed during the observational study. Police were called to three of these and took action in only one case.
The majority of victims are "legitimate" victims. Despite common beliefs about pub "brawls", most attacks observed were not victim-precipitated. Attacks were usually directed at male victims who were disadvantaged by their drunkenness, youth, small size, or lack of companions. Most victims do not report attacks.
Contributing to the generation of violence in these premises are environmental factors such as: boring atmosphere; lack of comfort - loud music, crowding, limited seating, lack of ventilation; high levels of drunkenness; unavailability of substantial food; and aggressive and unreasonable bouncers. One-quarter of assaults observed were unwarranted attacks by bouncers on patrons. The prominence of these factors suggests that licensees should no longer be able to argue that regular violence is caused solely by individual patrons, and is not a management responsibility.
Whatever the exact causal role of alcohol consumption in leading to violence, there is no doubt that violence is a regular occurrence in many public drinking establishments, and that the incidence of violence could be reduced by modifications to management practices and to the drinking environment. The liquor industry is aware of the problem, and is keen to work with researchers and health professionals to improve the quality of life for patrons of licensed premises.
Report title: Queensland Aboriginal Trust Community Initiatives in Taking Responsibility for Social Control / Barbara Miller. 1993 (PDF 5.5MB)
Grantees: Aboriginal Co-ordinating Council, Cairns, Queensland
Criminology Research Council grant ; (2/88)
The context of this literature review and commentary is the loss of community control of social and justice issues by Indigenous people, and the need to restore it. The Discussion Paper provides an overview of literature relating to components of the criminal justice system, and to aspects of justice which affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Meetings and consultations with indigenous people are reported on and cited in the commentaries. Some critical analysis is included. The Discussion Paper makes reference to Aboriginal community courts, non-judicial dispute resolution, community by-laws, customary law, the court system, policing, custody and alternatives to custody, and crime prevention. A position is taken and recommendations made in relation to each of these areas.
Investigation of the incidence and analysis of cases of alleged violence reporting to the accident and emergency centre of St Vincent's hospital
Report title: Investigation of the Incidence and Analysis of Cases of Alleged Violence Reporting to the Accident and Emergency Centres of a Metropolitan and Rural Hospitals (the second of two reports) / 1993 (PDF 1.8MB)
Grantees: M Cuthbert, F Lovejoy and Dr G Fulde
Criminology Research Council grant ; (28/88)
This report primarily studies the victims of violence who presented as "alleged assaults" to the Accident and Emergency Centres (AECs) of St Vincent's in the six-month period from 25 December 1988 to 30 June 1989, and also to Albury Base Hospital in NSW in the three months from December 1991 to March 1992 and at two hospitals in Victoria - Wodonga District Hospital and Wangaratta District Base Hospital in the six months from January 1992 to June 1992.
A comprehensive profile of these cases is revealed from the structured Victim Survey that was the research tool. A further survey of the nursing staff at St Vincent's Hospital demonstrates that staff are often required to cope with violence against self and that guidelines and education are required to assist them to deal effectively with this situation.
This study demonstrates that the victims of violence are a significant population within the cases seen in busy accident and emergency departments both in metropolitan and country hospitals. The report also gives strong indications that violence is a prevalent problem for the whole community. This is a problem which cannot be conveniently brushed aside as media sensationalism. Evidence of this is revealed through a comparison of the "alleged assault" presentations with the "worker's compensation, motor vehicle accidents, alcohol and drug related" presentations at St Vincent's General Hospital. Additionally, these figures are correlated with local and statewide police figures on violence and related to the reporting of incidents to the police.
Data produced on cases of violence presenting to AECs are a valuable source of additional information for police, policy analysts, and health planners. Recommendations for the AEC include establishment of a computerised information system in each AEC, education for all staff members in the recognition of victims of violence, in handling the victims, their relatives and friends, and in engendering an awareness of the support systems available for them.
Education is also required in handling and treating violence victims, in dealing with violent and potentially violent situations and in the defusing of the aggression generated. Further recommendations include education for the prevention of violence commencing at the earliest possible age, involving the community in projects which encourage service to and caring for others, projects which emphasise the role of alcohol in contributing to violence, and in projects which will provide alternative options for dealing with situations which would usually generate violent reactions or behaviours.
Identification of biological material for forensic analysis, application of new DNA technology to an old problem
Report title: Identification of Biological Material for Forensic Analysis, Application of New DNA Technology to an Old Problem (PDF 1.3MB)
Grantees: Dr Simon Easteal, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, Australian Capital Territory
Criminology Research Council grant ; (19/89)
The results of this research are given in a summary report and a number of journal articles which have been bound in one volume. The objectives of the research were to (1) develop methods of detecting genetic variation at HLA Class II genes for the purpose of individual identification in the context of forensic investigations, with particular emphasis on the HLA DPB1 gene; (2) determine the frequencies of these genetic variants in an Australian Caucasian sample; and (3) identify and characterise any new genetic variants that might be detected in the above sample or in the course of other work and develop routine methods for detecting these.
The initial objectives of the project have all been achieved. When the project began there were 19 HLA DPB1 alleles officially recognised by the World Health Organization. A simple and accurate method of detecting these alleles was developed. The method is based on amplification of the variable portion of the DPB1 gene by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) followed by restriction enzyme digestion of the PCR product at sequence-specific restriction sites. The method, now commonly referred to as PCR-restriction fragment polymorphism (RFLP) analysis, has a number of advantages over alternative typing methods in terms of accuracy, reliability, efficiency and sensitivity that are particularly relevant in the context of forensic investigations. The reliability of the method has been tested by applying it to the typing of cell lines prepared for the Tenth International Histocompatibility Workshop, that had previously been typed by other methods.
There are now 44 recognised HLS-DPB1 alleles and the typing method has been modified and updated to enable all the new alleles to be detected. The principles on which the typing method is based are explained. The HLA-DPB1 typing method has been applied to samples of unrelated individuals from ten populations from the Asia-Pacific region and the frequencies of the different alleles have been determined. In the process, a number of new alleles were discovered.
HLA-DPB1 is one of the most polymorphic genes in the human genome and therefore of great potential use in forensic DNA typing. With 44 known alleles it is, for example, much more polymorphic than HLA-DQA1 at which only six alleles are routinely detected in forensic typing. A reliable and efficient method of detecting variation at this locus has now been developed. The method is based on simple routine procedures and requires very little in the way of specialist equipment or reagents. It is already proving useful in clinical applications and should be equally useful in a forensic context.
Report title: Victims of Crime: The NT Experience / Ronald K. Penney, Sonia Gerhardy and Simon Canny. 1993 (PDF 4MB)
Grantees: Assoc Prof R K Penney, Northern Territory University, Northern Territory
Criminology Research Council grant ; (9/91)
This research was requested by the Crime Victims Advisory Committee, with a view to establishing the needs of victims of crime in the Northern Territory. Data were collected from Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal samples, using different methodologies which took into account the cultural differences between the two groups.
This study has clearly demonstrated that the victim is in a less powerful situation following the crime, and they may be suffering physical, emotional, social, and financial effects. Thus, the victim may benefit from knowledge concerning both generic and specific services which are presented in an organised and clear manner, as a matter of routine, rather than arising from an expression of need, or by demonstration of inadequate coping.
The many similarities of victims across crime type, however, should not be used as a reason to provide, either, all victims with support, or all victims' with one type of support. It has been demonstrated that the historical assumption that the needs of victims as being met by a general "payment" of recompense or act of discipline by society and the state does not meet the needs of those affected.
The results indicate that victims are seeking greater information, control, and involvement with the police and criminal justice system. The types of improvement that they have indicated, on the whole reflect realistic approaches in an attempt to problem-solve the situation in which they have come to find themselves. It is recognised that, following the crime being committed, the only possible solution is to minimise its impact, and the impact of the criminal justice system procedures.
The improvements to service provision that victims suggest reflect their experiences of the system. Thus, they emphasised the practical and the provision of information. Suggestions made were: (i) the provision of a counsellor who is aware of issues of race and gender as they affect the victim; (ii) training of police officers on the effects of crime on a victim and the victim's role; (iii) a central contact officer responsible for each victim; and (iv) recognition of the victim/witness role by head office and local branches, as well as greater police community involvement.
Suggestions were also made for improvements for the court system: (i) minimising time delays and numbers of adjournments; (ii) more appropriate sentencing, a formalised bail process which includes procedural notification to the victim of relevant decisions; and (iii) greater support for emotional/counselling and a protective environment for the victim.
In addition to improvement in the functioning of the existing criminal justice system structure, victims of crime involved in this study have also made suggestions relating to new services for victims. These are services primarily designed to reduce the impact of the initial experience of the crime.
A preliminary investigation into perceptions of Australian criminal, civil and family law prevalent among the Indo-Chinese settled in Australia
Report title: A Preliminary Investigation into Perceptions of Australian Criminal, Civil and Family Law Prevalent among the Indo-Chinese Settled in Australia (PDF 5.2MB)
Grantees: Dr Mayoury Ngaosyvathn
Criminology Research Council grant ; (33/91)
This study encompasses three communities - Cambodian, Lao and Vietnamese - of new settlers in Australia. Interviews were undertaken with members of the communities in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane as well as with community workers, solicitors and police.
The main body of this study focuses first on the low crime profile of these new settlers in Australia. Despite the trauma of internment in refugee camps, the Indochinese in Australia present a reassuring image of quiet and thriving settlers. Indochinese people are less likely to be imprisoned, and are under-represented in the crime figures.
An important issue remains with the generally negative perception that Indochinese people have of the police in Australia. The main reason for this is previous negative experience in their home countries and refugee camps, as well as the situation in their adopted country. This situation threatens to offset efforts of Australia's police to create an atmosphere of confidence and cooperation. Confidence-building measures are needed to help create a working relationship between police and members of the Indochinese communities.
Many problems derive from Indochinese people attempting to live as they did in their home country, which may not be acceptable under the Australian legal system. As the authority of traditional leadership and networks decays, there is a reduction of social cohesion. Although the new social environment offers the Indochinese rewarding opportunities such as increased independence for women and improved education for the children, adverse effects have included increasing violence in the family, soaring divorce rates, and increasing numbers of youth at risk. Traditional customs disappear with the second generation of Indochinese, who are more likely to commit crimes as parents lose control over them.
The research argues for reinforcing traditional leadership and values among Indochinese settlers in Australia in so far as this enhances law and order and contributes to enriching multiculturalism. In this regard, a more self-restrained attitude in some quarters of the mass media would be appropriate.
Report title: Alcohol, Drugs and Juvenile Delinquency - The Relationship Among Aboriginal Youths / 1993 (PDF 5.5MB)
Grantees: Aboriginal Sobriety Group and University of South Australia, South Australia
Criminology Research Council grant ; (15/91)
The aim of this study was to examine the nature of the relationship between substance abuse and juvenile delinquency among Aboriginal youth. The purpose of the study was to aid the Sobriety Group in the development of a facility that would help deal with Aboriginal substance abuse and juvenile offending. By examining the nature of the relationship between drug use and delinquency it was believed that more effective programs could be developed for dealing with the problem.
A questionnaire was administered to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal school students between the ages of 10 and 18 years in order to determine whether there is a relationship between drinking, drug taking, and delinquent behaviour. Interviews were conducted with members of the police force and with Aboriginal youths from both recreational and correctional facilities in an attempt to better understand the nature of the relationship as it applies specifically to Aboriginal youths.
The major findings of the school study were that: fewer Aboriginal students reported drinking alcohol than is generally expected; alcohol use increased with age although less than half of the total sample of Aboriginal students indicated that they drink alcohol; non-Aboriginal students reported drinking more often than Aboriginal students; marijuana use was found to be very extensive in both groups but the use of "hard" drugs was found to be fairly rare; Aboriginal students were involved in serious delinquent activities and acts of interpersonal aggression more often than non-Aboriginal students; and alcohol use appeared to be closely related to delinquency for Aboriginal students in particular, while marijuana use was found to be related to involvement in delinquent activities for both groups of students.
Results from the interviews also suggested that substance abuse is related to Aboriginal juvenile offending in the following ways.
Many youths who commit crimes use alcohol and other drugs quite extensively; many youths reported that they commit crimes when they are under the influence of certain substances, and they often commit crimes in order to obtain alcohol and other drugs. Substance abuse and delinquency appear to be related in that they both seem to arise from common "causes". Peer group pressure and boredom were the primary reasons given by the youths when they were asked to indicate why they use drugs and why they commit crimes.
Although the results do not suggest that Aboriginal youths drink alcohol or use other drugs more often than non-Aboriginal youths, they do suggest that substance abuse among Aboriginal youths is closely related to juvenile offending. The fact that the Aboriginal students were found to be involved in serious delinquent activities and acts of aggression against other people more often than non-Aboriginal students, and that alcohol use was found to be closely associated with juvenile delinquency for Aboriginal students but not for those who were non-Aboriginal, suggests that programs which deal with substance abuse among young Aboriginal people can do much in reducing the rate of juvenile crime.
The report provides a detailed discussion of the findings and of the complex nature of the relationship between substance abuse in juvenile offending. It also discusses the role that negative attitudes towards school and the police may play in the development of delinquent behaviour patterns. Suggestions are then made as to how these findings can be used in order to make programs that deal with substance abuse and juvenile delinquency more effective when dealing with Aboriginal youths.
Report title: Corporate Law Sanctions and the Control of White Collar Crime (PDF 3MB)
Grantees: Prof Roman Tomasic, University of Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Criminology Research Council grant ; (2/91)
The outputs from this project were: Corporate Crime and Corporations Law Enforcement Strategies in Australia, Discussion Paper 1/1993 by Professor Roman Tomasic, Centre for National Corporate Law Research, School of Law, University of Canberra (346.0660994 p TOM);. The following three papers have been bound in one volume: Sanctioning Corporate Crime and Misconduct: Beyond Draconian and Decriminalization Solutions by Roman Tomasic, 1992 National Corporate Law Teachers' Workshop, Centre for National Corporate Law Research, University of Canberra, also published in Australian Journal of Corporate Law, vol. 2, no. 1, 1992, pp. 82-114. Corporate Crime in a Civil Law Culture by R. Tomasic, Current Issues in Criminal Justice, vol. 5, 1994, pp. 244-55. Complex Corporate Trials and Corporate Social Control in Australia by R. Tomasic, unpublished paper for the Panel on Long-term Trends in Litigation, Research Committee on the Sociology of Law, ISA World Congress, Bielefeld, Germany, 1994 (364.0660994 fp TOM). Corporations Law Enforcement Strategies in Australia: The Influence of Professional, Corporate and Bureaucratic Cultures by R. Tomasic, Australian Journal of Corporate Law, vol. 3, 1993, pp. 192-229. Corporate Crime by R. Tomasic, in The Australian Criminal Justice System: The Mid 1990s, eds D. Chappell and P. Wilson, Butterworths, Sydney, 1994, pp. 253-69. Corporate Crime, Governance and Corporate Social Control by R. Tomasic, unpublished paper delivered at the AIC Crimes Against Business Conference, Melbourne 1994.
There have been major official and academic debates in Australia concerning appropriate methods to be adopted in sanctioning corporate and white collar crime. This project sought to address this debate by focusing upon the attitudes of key corporate law observers and actors to determine what kinds of strategies would be likely to be effective here. Field work for this project was conducted by the author in 1992 and involved interviews with key observers in five Australian capital cities. These interviewees comprised leading members of the judiciary, prosecutors, senior corporate regulators, corporate lawyers, liquidators and leading barristers.
The project found that although there are strong policy reasons for seeking to treat corporate and white collar crime in similar ways to other types of criminality, often there may be far more effective means of achieving corporate accountability and control than the resort to major criminal law trials involving such offenders. The dominance of what has been described as a civil law culture in regard to corporate conduct, makes the acceptance of criminalising corporate misconduct somewhat problematic. The project does not suggest that criminal prosecutions are inappropriate, but rather, that they should be strictly limited and that greater use should instead be made of civil recovery proceedings, administrative procedures like the disqualification of directors and corporate internal reform orders.
The definition and prevalence of corporate and white collar crime are very much affected by prevailing business attitudes in regard to various practices. All too often when corporate crime has been discussed in Australia, generalisations are made from narrow fact situations or from particular types of corporate crime. This is unfortunate as it does not serve to refine a debate which is of much public policy significance and in need of broader perspectives of the nature of the problem. It also means that from time to time the debate has been allowed to descend into overly emotional responses. In one paper from this project it was argued that in view of the considerable difficulties of definition surrounding the problem of corporate crime, it might be useful to rethink our attitude to corporate crime and start with a broader four-fold typology of corporate criminality. In the typology of corporate crime it was suggested that it was possible to identify at least four types of corporate criminality, as follows: corporate crime committed by a corporation itself for the benefit of that corporation; corporate crime committed by the agents or controllers of a corporation for the benefit of that corporation; corporate crime committed by a corporation itself against the interests of another corporation; and corporate crime committed by the agents or controllers of a corporation against the interests of the corporation.
Different responses to corporate criminality are desirable depending upon the nature of the crime which has occurred. As the research project has shown, the recent legal debate on corporate crime has tended to polarise around the virtues of criminal or of a civil approach to such conduct. It is clear that it is necessary to be far more innovative in dealing with the problems of compliance and social control in respect to the actions of corporations and their agents and officers because traditional criminal law sanctions are often too late or too difficult to use to have any useful effect. They are often too late in that by the time that a case comes to court it is often the case that assets or funds have been dissipated or removed from the easy reach of the courts or those who have been harmed, such as creditors.
Whilst a custodial sentence may well be appropriate for a corporate criminal, it is also necessary to adopt an approach which takes into account the practical realities of corporate crime prosecutions, especially where they involve respected and powerful members of the community, often with no prior criminal record and able to draw out complex cases over a long period of time. Dealing with corporate criminality becomes far more difficult if the principal response is a protracted major trial or prosecution. With some corporate crimes, it is often too late to salvage a situation by the time that such a trial takes place. It may therefore be necessary to adopt other strategies as the principal response to corporate crime. Whilst this is not to suggest that corporate criminal prosecutions should be abandoned, it should be recognised that there are more cost effective and timely means of dealing with corporate crime. One of these is a greater reliance upon a regulatory response to minor matters, such as the use of fines and administrative mechanisms. Probably the most effective mechanism for dealing with corporate crime is to attach the roots of such conduct within the corporation itself. In this regard, more effective governance structures, greater disclosure to shareholders and investors and improved mechanisms of accountability within the corporation are crucial.
The relationship between critical development experiences during childhood and pubescence, hostility and negative evaluation and adult sexual interest in and abuse of children
Report title: The Relationship between Critical Development Experiences during Childhood and Pubescence, Hostility and Negative Evaluation and Adult Sexual Interest In and Abuse of Children (PDF 919kB)
Grantees: Susan McCulloch, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland
Criminology Research Council grant ; (19/91)
This study was conducted with an experimental and control group of adult male inmates held in prisons throughout South East Queensland, totalling 100 offenders. Data from the study revealed a series of characteristics attributable to the perpetrators of sexual offences against children. These can be categorised into factors associated with their own sexual molestation, with more general socialisation factors, biological factors (such as physiological reactivity and physical health), cognitive and affective factors, and behavioural factors; many of which overlap with one another.
Perusal of the features relating to child molesting in adulthood indicates that these offenders have typically failed to develop the capacity to implement effective emotional and sexual relationships with other adults. The developmental experiences reported by these subjects have seen them socially and emotionally isolated. They were typically left feeling socially inept, anxious, lonely, frustrated (and typically passively aggressive as a consequence of not knowing how to overcome their frustration) and unable to form intimate relationships by prosocial means. Fear of negative evaluation and rejection, and intra-punitive and extra-punitive hostility were also elements which featured highly in the disposition of the subjects.
Investigation of the impact of sexual molestation upon the sex offenders showed that generally, although the sex offenders were uniformly young when molested, those who were in the age range eight to 11 years experienced greater impact than those who were younger.
The research strongly supports the literature, which indicates that the experience of sexual molestation, in conjunction with other experiences, influences later sexually inappropriate behaviour by those same individuals as adults. However, researchers and clinicians remain divided on whether to regard the effects of sexual molestation as learned behaviours, or as symptoms of internal "dynamics".
This study demonstrates empirical support within the Australian context for the contention that the variables associated with child molesters exist on a continuum. It provides support for earlier findings that there is no single set of characteristics which are unique to child molesters. It also indicates that sexual urge is not the primary reason for sexual assault and that child molestation can be in part related to unresolved life issues.
From a cultural perspective, whilst many of the results replicate the overseas experience, the uniqueness and individuality of the Australian culture and history suggest that there are strongly entrenched values, beliefs and accompanying behaviours which directly and indirectly (and under a network of specific circumstances influence the vulnerable to behave in this way.
Report title: Fraud in Nonprofit Organisations (PDF 1MB)
Grantees: C McDonald, M McGregor-Lowndes and R Radich, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland
Criminology Research Council grant ; (21/91)
Reports resulting from this project are listed below and were all published by the Program on Nonprofit Organisations, Queensland University of Technology. The National Safety Council Fraud - Regulatory Slip or Systemic Regulatory Failure? by Myles McGregor-Lowndes (364.1630994 fp McG); The Challenge from Within. Organizational Commitment in Voluntary Human Service Organizations, Working Paper No. 15 by Catherine McDonald (364.1630994 fp McD); Board Members' Involvement in Nonprofit Governance, Working Paper No. 16 by Catherine McDonald (364.1630994 fp McD); Gifts, The Law and Functional Rationalism, Working Paper No. 17 by Myles McGregor-Lowndes (364.1630994 fp McG); Community Services Development: A New Approach to Government / Non-Government Sector Relations, Working Paper No. 18 by Jan Williams (364.1630994 fp WIL); An Analysis of the Differences in Audit Processes used in the Audit of Nonprofit and Profit Organisations, Working Paper No. 19, by Renee Radich (364.1630994 fp RAD); and The Application of Financial Ratios in Analysing Nonprofit Organisations, Working Paper No. 20 by Ros Kent (364.1630994 fp KEN).
This project was initiated after the financial collapse of the Victorian National Safety Council, a nonprofit organisation, primarily due to fraud by its executive director. The project adopted a multi-disciplinary approach to identifying and assessing issues pertaining to fraud and its prevention in nonprofit organisations.
The first part of the project involved a case study of the financial collapse of the National Safety Council with material drawn from interviews, court proceedings and Corporate Affairs Commission documents. This study found that the fraud was facilitated by an inappropriate legislative regime for the particular organisation, unresponsive and uncoordinated scrutiny by regulatory officials and an inattentive board of management and auditors.
To follow up these results from the case study, three further studies were undertaken on Queensland nonprofit organisations. The first study sought to ascertain the current status and ability of nonprofit boards to fulfil their governance function. The results indicated that the management of boards generally lack appropriate formal qualifications, spend little time or effort on crucial management functions and rely heavily on executive management. The study went on to recommend prescriptive indications for maximising the governance capacity of nonprofit boards and organisations.
The second study involved an assessment of the audit process in nonprofit organisations compared to profit organisations. The research involved the collection of accounting information for 22 Queensland charities. The auditors of these organisations were requested to complete questionnaires addressing their overall approach to the audit of nonprofit organisations. For 11 of these nonprofit organisations, a matched (by annual revenue) profit organisation signed by the same auditor was compared using attributes of the audit process. Attributes tested were the use of engagement and management letters, materiality, components of audit risk, extent of compliance testing, staffing levels, and time spent. The results indicate that parts of the audit process used are statistically different for nonprofit and profit organisations. These differences should be taken into account by legislators in drafting of new legislation and by the auditing profession in evaluating audit risk.
The third study examined the use of financial ratios for nonprofit organisations which could be used as benchmarks as to financial performance. This would assist regulators in identifying financial patterns which require further investigation for possible fraud or financial trouble.
The study examined ratios of a group of nonprofit organisations and assessed the applicability of the traditional profit-based ratios to nonprofit organisations. Financial statements of a sample of charities registered in Queensland are analysed. The traditional profitability, liquidity and financial stability ratios were analysed and calculated wherever practicable and compared to the typical benchmarks used in profit analysis. The traditional ratios and their benchmarks (used in the profit sector) calculated from the financial statements prepared within the present reporting framework are largely inappropriate to the nonprofit sector. Alternative benchmarks useful for the nonprofit sector are suggested. In summary, the implications of this research are as follows.
Nonprofit organisations in Queensland currently appear to be poorly placed to manage increasingly complex management and accountability requirements.
The predictive models of high levels of involvement in board management processes indicate that if organisations wish to involve their boards, they must either engage in specific recruitment drives, or, instigate deliberate strategies aimed at gradually increasing and broadening board involvement.
State and Federal instrumentalities which make grants to nonprofit organisations for the delivery of welfare services need to seriously address the developmental and educative needs of nonprofit boards. This is particularly urgent if they continue to pursue policies which require service consumers and minority group members participation in nonprofit governance.
Auditors engaging in the financial scrutiny of nonprofit organisations behave towards nonprofits as if they are for-profit organisations. In effect, they fail to appreciate the differences in management engagement and capacity, thus leaving the organisations relatively exposed.
Some standard auditing practices and benchmarks do not reflect the conditions of nonprofit organisations, thus giving misleading results. The standard ratios used by the accounting profession to assess organisational viability are themselves quite limited in their capacity to reflect the true state of the nonprofit organisation.
The National Safety Council fraud is not a mere regulatory slip but evidence of the "worst case" result from systemically flawed legislation and regulatory environment. The cloning of certain business regulatory templates is inappropriate for the control of fraud and socially undesirable practices in nonprofit organisations.
In conclusion, the regulatory and management regimes and practices surrounding nonprofit organisation need to be adapted to their peculiar circumstances, particularly if they are to continue as a major medium for the delivery of social goods on behalf of the state and society.