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CRC funded reports

2006/07

The Council received seven reports of completed research projects during the year. 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.

  1. The extent and impact of money laundering in and through Australia and the region in 2003
  2. Preventative detention for 'dangerous' offenders in Australia: a critical analysis and proposals for policy development
  3. Getting the story in forensic interviews with child witnesses
  4. The relation between psychological adjustment and post-release challenges to community reintegration for ex-prisoners: development of a multi-variable reintegration model
  5. An investigation into serious violence associated with motor vehicle use: is 'road rage' a valid or useful construct?
  6. The young adult outcomes of childhood and adolescent antisocial behaviour: an Australian cohort
  7. Schizophrenia and offending: area of residence and the impact of social disorganisation and disadvantage

The extent and impact of money laundering in and through Australia and the region in 2003

Neil Jensen, John Walker, John Van Groningen, Gavin Brown and Michael Benes, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).
Criminology Research Council grant ; (33/03-04)

This research project was commenced to review and revise John Walker's 1995 report, Estimates of the extent of money laundering in and through Australia. The 2004-05 study was also intended to consider money laundering and terrorist financing linkages within the Asia-Pacific region.

Since the 1995 report was published by AUSTRAC, there has been little work done to quantify money laundering at national levels. The 1995 report considered a variety of sources and suggested that between AUD $1.0 and $4.5 billion per annum were generated by crime in Australia and laundered either in Australia or elsewhere, with a most likely figure of around AUD $3.5 billion, with the bulk of this quantum generated by fraud and then drugs.

The 2004-05 study built on the 1995 Walker report, again involving surveys of Australian law enforcement officials, overseas financial intelligence units, and researchers in Australia and overseas; a literature review; and analysis of official statistics, including data held by AUSTRAC. These data provided a range of estimates, which enabled the derivation of a likely range of the quantum of money laundering in or through Australia. The results suggest that crime in Australia generates between AUD $2.8 and $6.3 billion, with a likely figure of AUD $4.5 billion. Fraud and drugs are still believed to be the major generators of proceeds of crime. This is well below the range of $14.7 to $36.7 billion that would equate to the IMF's often quoted range of two to five percent of global GDP. Also, hard to quantify shadow economy activities and transfer pricing techniques that may involve underpayment of tax, cannot be readily estimated and could increase this figure.

The study found some areas for further study, particularly noting the need for further research at national levels, the need for more comprehensive and reliable data, and observed that there may be value in conducting this type of research more frequently than once every 10 years.

Preventative detention for 'dangerous' offenders in Australia: a critical analysis and proposals for policy development

Bernadette McSherry, Arie Freiberg and Patrick Keyzer
Criminology Research Council grant ; (3/04-05)

The management of 'dangerous' offenders is of crucial community concern. This report focuses on the key debates concerning the policy and legal issues raised by post-sentence preventive detention. It analyses focus group discussions in Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne concerning three different management regimes for high-risk sex offenders: post-sentence continued detention in prison, indefinite detention, and extended supervision orders in the community. It recommends that consideration be given to the new Scottish model of life-long restriction orders, arguing that post-sentence preventive detention should be seen as a last resort in the management of high-risk offenders.

Getting the story in forensic interviews with child witnesses

Pamela Snow and Martine Powell, Monash University
Criminology Research Council grant ; (4/04-05)

Increased rates of child abuse reporting over recent years have resulted in closer attention being paid to the interviewing techniques employed by police and human services staff to elicit children's accounts of alleged abuse incidents. Serious and pervasive problems with such accounts have been identified in the literature on investigative interviewing with child witnesses. This study provided empirical evidence of the importance of using open-ended interviewing techniques for child witnesses in sexual assault cases to assist in eliciting responses with so-called 'story grammar content', which considers the setting, initiating event, internal response, plan, attempt, direct consequences, and resolution of an incident when interviewing children. The research examined the content of 51 de-identified transcripts of police interviews with children aged three to 16 years (with a mean age of eight years). It was found that twothirds of the 9,881 questions were specific and one-third of children's responses showed 'story grammar' content. The two-thirds of specific questions elicited as much content as the one-third open-ended ones. The results showed the importance of eliciting 'story grammar' from children using open-ended, as opposed to specific, questions. It was concluded that current interviewing procedures potentially undermine the ability of children to provide coherent and credible reports of abusive events. Improving the narrative coherence of children's reports of abusive events can potentially be achieved by increasing interviewers' use of openended questions. Recommendations for interviewer training and further research were also outlined.

The relation between psychological adjustment and post-release challenges to community reintegration for ex-prisoners: development of a multi-variable reintegration model

Joe Graffam, Alison Shinkfield and Stephen Mihailides
Criminology Research Council grant ; (14/04-05)

The study examined the multiple interactive variables influencing successful reintegration of ex-prisoners, with a specific focus on the role of emotional state in the reintegration process. Participants were 101 adult prisoners who completed a questionnaire one month prior to their release that focused on prison-related variables, participant background, and anticipated conditions upon release. A second questionnaire was administered to the same participants at 1-4 weeks and 3-4 months post-release, focusing on the quality of life conditions experienced following release. As well, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), and the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI-2) were completed at each interview. Results indicated that mean BDI-II scores and scores for state and trait anger were significantly higher at pre-release than postrelease, while mean anxiety scores were unchanged over the period under investigation. There were significant statistical relationships between numerous reintegration variables and emotional state following release. Theoretical implications for reintegration theory are discussed, together with practical applications.

An investigation into serious violence associated with motor vehicle use: is 'road rage' a valid or useful construct?

Andrew Carroll and James Ogloff, Monash University
Criminology Research Council grant ; (18/04-05)

This study examined data from convicted offenders in Victoria to examine whether the perpetrators of, and interpersonal triggers for, violence occurring on the roads differ between road and non-road contexts. A case-control methodology was used to compare data from 31 cases of road violence with 31 cases of violence against strangers which resulted in similar charges but which occurred in non-road contexts. Information regarding perpetrators and the triggering incidents leading to the violence was obtained from prosecution legal files. Psychiatric contact information was obtained from the Victorian public mental health database on both cases and controls. There were no significant differences between cases and controls on any demographic, criminological or psychiatric variables, except for ethnicity. Although a sizeable proportion of incidents of road violence were perpetrated by persons who had not previously been criminally violent, this proportion was not significantly different from that found in the controls. Within the road violence sample, those with no prior criminal violence were more likely to be in employment than those with a past history of violent offending. In the road context, the triggering incident was most likely to be coded as an act of recklessness, which appeared to pose a threat to the safety of the other party. Off the roads, the most common trigger was an apparent threat to the other party's status. In both contexts, the initial trigger was as likely to be perpetrated by the eventual victim as the offender. The study provides support for causal models of road violence that emphasise personological rather than environmental factors, and also has implications for preventative strategies.

The young adult outcomes of childhood and adolescent antisocial behaviour: an Australian cohort

Jake Najman, William Bor, Michael O'Callaghan, Gail Williams and Tara McGee, University of Queensland
Criminology Research Council grant ; (27/04-05)

Antisocial behaviour in young people and adults remains a costly and continuing problem for Australian society despite some decrease in recorded crime levels. In addition there is substantial evidence that antisocial behaviour in children and adolescents leads to a range of adverse adult outcomes from ongoing antisocial actions, poor mental health, strife laden relationship and poor employment histories. One model utilised to understand the relationship between early antisocial behaviour and its adult sequelae is a typological approach which distinguishes between groupings such as persistent, adolescent onset or childhood limited antisocial behaviour. The Mater University Study of Pregnancy is a longitudinal data set that followed up children from birth to age 21. This dataset was used to test the relationship between typologies and young adult functioning. Using the typologies described above the study found that while the persistent group had an increased risk for a range of self reported poor adult outcomes, the adolescent onset group also experienced poor adult functioning. The childhood limited group experienced few adult problems. The results suggest policy needs to be directed at programs to both prevent the development of the persistent group as well as intervene with the severe adolescent onset antisocial group.

Schizophrenia and offending: area of residence and the impact of social disorganisation and disadvantage

Frank Morgan, Vera Morgan, Assen Jablensky, Anna Ferrante and Guilietta Valuri, University of Western Australia
Criminology Research Council grant ; (30/04-05)

The study investigated the correlation between socio-structural characteristics of postcodes and the prevalence of arrest, schizophrenia diagnosis and the joint prevalence of schizophrenia diagnosis and arrest. It showed that there are strong correlations between them, but that these indicators of social disorganisation are more strongly associated with arrest and with the joint prevalence of schizophrenia diagnosis and arrest than they are with schizophrenia. The largest increases in prevalence occur for postcodes in the highest quartiles of disadvantage, ethnic heterogeneity, residential mobility and inequality. However, areas of different population size exhibit only small differences in the prevalence of these crime and mental health measures.

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