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July 8, 2014

Deakin Criminology at British Society of Criminology Conference

Kate @ DeskThis week the British Society of Criminology conference is being hosted by the University of Liverpool School of Law and Social Justice. The three day conference runs from Thursday 9th to Saturday 12th of July and is themed ‘Crime, Justice, Welfare: Can the Metropole Listen?’

Deakin criminologist Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon is in Liverpool to attend and present two papers at the conference. Kate’s papers draw on two recent research projects that is undertaking in 2014 examining the law’s response to ‘one-punch’ homicides in New South Wales (Australia) and the contexts within which children commit lethal violence in Victoria (Australia).

The abstracts for each of Kate’s conference papers are:

Legal responses to single-punch homicide in New South Wales (Australia): The police perspective

In the wake of the 2013 guilty plea and sentencing of Kieran Loveridge in New South Wales (NSW) for the manslaughter of Thomas Kelly, significant community disquiet and political debate emerged as to how the law should best respond to single punch homicides. In February 2014 the NSW government introduced a package of reforms targeted at improving legal responses to one-punch homicide. The reforms included the creation of a new homicide offence designed specifically to cater to this context of lethal violence, the introduction of mandatory minimum sentences for intoxicated violence as well as a series of initiatives targeted at removing the opportunity for alcohol fuelled violence in the nighttime economy.

In examining the viability of the NSW approach to reforming the law’s response to single-punch homicide, this paper presents the findings of in-depth interviews conducted in 2014 with current serving officers from the NSW homicide squad. It examines police views on how these cases differ to other forms of homicide and/or assault, the extent and nature of alcohol-related violence in the nighttime economy as well as the perceived effectiveness of the government’s response. The resulting discussion provides unique insight into the police perspective on legal responses to single-punch homicide.

Child perpetrated homicide in Victoria, Australia: A 10-year case analysis

When a child commits lethal violence the act runs counter to traditional understandings of childhood innocence and raises unique challenges for the criminal justice system. Despite recent media and political attention on youth violence in Australia, to date there is limited understanding of the contexts within which children commit lethal violence. This paper explores the findings of research examining the perpetration of lethal violence by child offenders in Victoria (Australia) over a ten-year period. An analysis of all cases of child-perpetrated homicide (n=23) finalised in the Victorian Supreme Court between 2003 and 2012 was conducted. Over the 10-year period this equated to a thematic analysis of 23 homicide cases involving an offender aged 10 to 17 years of age.

In presenting the case analysis findings, this paper provides a detailed insight into the contexts within which child perpetrated homicides occurred during this period. The importance of cultures of masculinity and violence, the contributing role of alcohol alongside the dangerous consequences of unprovoked violence and the presence of knives are discussed. The paper also considers the influence of rehabilitative programs and a history of family violence and/or family separation in preventing cases of child perpetrated homicide.

To visit the conference website click here.

To download the Conference Programme click here.

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