The Spatial Haunting of Child Sexual Abuse

Dr Dave McDonald1
1University Of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

In December 2017 the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse came to a close. Throughout the course of this inquiry, the Victorian town of Ballarat was a key site of the commission’s investigations, identifying the vast scale of sexual abuse against children over several decades. This paper examines how this has transformed Ballarat – both in terms of the recognition of prolific institutional child sexual abuse, as well as the space of the town itself. The way in which crime haunts victims and communities is widely recognised. Here I explore how crime haunts in the aftermath of prolific abuse, coverup, denial and silencing, and practices of acknowledgement and memorialisation that seek to do justice in the aftermath. What does it mean to mark out crime scenes after decades of silencing? How do these practices reconfigure such sites? And what ethical questions arise from encounters with these practices of acknowledgment and memorialisation? In this paper I take up these questions to explore the ways in which space is haunted by crime.


Dr Dave McDonald is a Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Melbourne. He researches in the area of child sexual abuse and paedophilia, with a particular interest in quasi-legal practices of justice. In recent years he has spent extensive time conducting fieldwork in the town of Ballarat, and investigating the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. He is also the author of numerous publications on the legal, cultural and historical construction of the category of paedophilia.

The Homeless Encounter in Public Space

Ms Kajsa Lundberg1
1University Of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

This paper scrutinises the visual aspects of the encounter with the homeless as well as the homeless’ encounter with public space. Such analysis is prompted by the recent increase in the criminalisation of homelessness in Australia, which follows a similar trend to many other English-speaking countries.  Aesthetic expectations imposed on people but also on spaces are instrumental in the construction of homeless individuals and their place in and right to public spaces. Through the lens of visual criminology, this paper draws from interviews with volunteers at various homelessness services to consider the visual aspects of our understanding of people experiencing homelessness. Such a commitment to scrutinise the visual aspects of living life in public space contributes to the understanding of the criminalisation of homelessness, opens up for new and better ways of supporting homeless people, and contributes to a paradigm that demands attention to the visual in criminological research.


Kajsa Lundberg completed a Master of Criminology at the University of Melbourne in 2018, with particular interest in homelessness, visual criminology, and urban environments.

Mapping Epistemologies and Geographies of Memoralisation: Street Harassment and Online Disclosure Practices

Dr Bianca Fileborn2
2University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Deidre Davis, writing on Black lesbian women’s experiences of street harassment, termed this phenomenon the ‘harm that cannot be named’. Women and LGBTQ+ communities have harnessed the veritable explosion of social media platforms as spaces for resistance and disclosure of this routine public harassment and intrusion. Online projects such as the Everyday Sexism Project and Hollaback, alongside platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, bear witness to thousands of accounts of street harassment and its harms, challenging the notion that such public encounters or entanglements are ‘minor’ or ‘trivial’. In short, such sites become a public record of or memorial to these countless ‘small’ intrusions. While the existence of such spaces may suggest that street harassment is no longer the harm that cannot be named, important questions arise regarding whose and which experiences come to be known or are ‘knowable’. In this discussion I draw on research with those who have encountered street harassment, regarding disclosure in online spaces, and I argue that the construction and remembering of street harassment through these practices can only ever occur in partial and limited ways.


Dr Bianca Fileborn is a lecturer in the School of Social Sciences, UNSW. Her work examines assemblages of space/place, identity, culture and sexual violence, and concepts of justice in relation to sexual violence. She is the author of numerous publications, including Reclaiming the Night-Time Economy: Unwanted Sexual Attention in Pubs and Clubs (2016).

Al Shabab and Kenya: the role of space and place in shaping manifestations of terrorism

Ms Linet  Muthoni1
1Griffith University School Of Criminology And Criminal Justice  , Bowen Hills , Australia

Terrorism studies have not been sufficiently sensitive to the unique role of geography and local dynamics in shaping manifestations of terrorism at the meso level within countries. The focus has mainly been on individuals, groups and country level explanations of terrorism, implicitly assuming that country-level analyses are generalizable across different regions within countries. This article adopts a spatial criminology perspective in analyzing the spaces within which terrorist activities occur by considering cross-border movement, recruitment, and attacks, by Al Qaeda’s East Africa affiliate, Al Shabaab in Wajir and Kwale, towns located in the north-eastern and coastal regions of Kenya respectively. The diffusion of violent extremist ideology and activities over physical and virtual spaces as illustrated by ISIS in the recent past, inform the need to develop a framework to analyze perspectives of terrorism at the meso and micro levels. Additionally, understanding the influence these spaces have on the nature of terrorist activities is important in developing resilience strategies for the spaces and the communities within them


Linet Muthoni is a Ph.D. candidate at Griffith University School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. She has research interest in manifestations of violent crimes in developing countries as well as terrorism. Before enrolling at Griffith University, she taught Public International Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution at the Faculty of Law in Strathmore University in Kenya. Prior to that, she studied law at the University of Kent, Canterbury and the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. Linet also worked as a defense legal investigator in the matter of the Prosecutor v. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta before the International Criminal Court.

Challenging the narrative of broken communities: informal social controls and the 2011 English Riots

Dr Deborah Platts-Fowler1
1Victoria University Of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

The 2011 English were framed by concerns over moral decline and a lack of self-restraint. Those who participated were associated with a nihilistic ‘gangsta’ culture. The Prime Minister concluded that pockets of society were not just broken, but frankly sick.

The manifestation of looting was touted as evidence by politicians, as well as some criminologists, that the riots were not political. Despite the police shooting of a young black man in suspicious circumstances and the context of recession and austerity, rioters simply went shopping.

This paper presents case study research to challenge this narrative. It highlights that in one of the worst affected cities, there was barely any looting. Violence was targeted against the police as a response to repressive and discriminatory policing in certain parts of the city.

Far from trashing their neighbourhoods, rioters were responsive to community controls, which mitigated violence locally; and, in places where informal social controls were supported by formal controls and integrated into the public order response, violence was averted altogether.

The paper concludes that ‘broken communities’ were not the problem in 2011. Communities were part of the solution where public agencies knew how to support and engage with them.


Deborah is interested in crime and disorder in neighbourhoods, with a focus on relationships within and between communities, and between communities and the state. She has conducted research in urban locations associated with violence, gangs, and ethnic conflict. She is a critical criminologist interested public criminology. In the UK, she has advised  Ministers, the police and a range of other state agencies on issues relating to her research.

The Moral Contestability of Finance: Embodying the financial markets in the City of London

Dr Alexander Simpson1
1University Of Brighton, Brighton, United Kingdom

Drawing on a three-year ethnographic study of financial life in the City of London, this paper critically explores the cultural legitimation of market practice to examine the way in which financial actors neutralise the harms of their occupation. By embodying practices of speed, intelligence and discipline, market actors compete to become the market and, in doing so, culturally neutralise the harms of financial action. The unending trial of market competition forms a naturalising force of economic progress and social development that ensures that the ‘the most intelligent individuals’ are ‘continually selected’, while weakness is punished. Financial life, therefore, becomes a trial in controlling and embodying the unpredictabilities of the market. Those who succeed become part of a ‘separate, sacred group’ that ritualises their own exclusivity and adherence to the embedded values of the market. Specifically, this manifests itself as a common internalisation and embodiment of a ruling system of market capital; speed, intelligence and discipline. As a set of embodied strategies, market actors are able to fine tune their skills to hone in on and control the rapid fluctuations of the market. Embodying the market in this way (re)produces the symbolic violence of market capitalism, in which the dominant are dominated by the rules of the game to establish an ‘immediate submission to order’ (Bourdieu, 1990, p. 54). This paper contributes to a deeper understanding of how the market enters the body to instil a tacit complicity insofar as individuals remain unconscious to the violence of their actions.


Dr Alex Simpson is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the School of Applied Social Science. Having joined in September 2015, his work focuses on the criminology of harm, issues of elite deviance, cultural marginalisation and the sociology of political economy. Alex undertook his PhD at the University of York. Supported by an ESRC studentship, this ethnographic study examines the culture of finance and the neutralisation of deviance within the City of London.

A Road Map for the Next Generation of Spatial Criminology Decision Support Systems; leveraging Current Advancements of Spatial Data Infrastructures

Dr Soheil Sabri1, Mr Ged Griffin1, Mr Doug Bowles2, Dr Yiqun Chen1, Professor Abbas Rajabifard1
1The University of Melbourne, Department of Infrastructure Engineering, Centre for Spatial Data Infrastructures and Land Administration and Centre for Disaster Management and Public Safety, PARKVILLE, Australia, 2Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia

The spatio-temporal link of criminal offending has been recognised a key area of research within criminology and this has led to the development of the concept of spatial criminology.  However, despite the large amount of digital data available, the major problem is limited capability for data sources to facilitate reliable and timely crime analysis for decision making. Recent research and development on Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs) has addressed this challenge by facilitating multi-sourced and multi-dimensional data access and integration. Yet, there is a lack of research in spatial criminology on how the current SDIs can be leveraged to support more realistic and timely analysis and decision making. This paper aims to develop a conceptual framework as the road map for the next generation of spatial criminology decision support systems. Based on data available at the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN), crime data custodians, local governments, and Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) a demonstrator has been developed in an Intelligent Decision Support System (IDSS) to support national macro and meso level criminological analysis. The demonstrator accesses and integrates a range of data sets through web services to help researchers develop their own tools and visualise potential offending hotspots and discover underlying drivers of this behaviour.  The paper concludes by proposing the road map for development of next generation spatial criminology decision support systems for more advanced analytical products to establish crime risk and resilience ratings as the features of urban liveability indices.


Soheil Sabri is an Urban Planner and Spatial Scientist. He holds a PhD and Master degree in Urban Planning and worked as a consultant, senior lecturer, and researcher in urban planning and spatial analysis. He is currently a Research Fellow in Urban Analytics in the Centre for SDIs and Land Administration at The University of Melbourne. His research focuses on enabling spatial information and technological innovation in smart urban planning and design to improve urban quality of life. Soheil has recently managed developing an Urban Analytics Data Infrastructure as a new generation of Spatial Data Infrastructures.

Riots, cat killers and regulated vices: collective anxiety and the management of danger in two neighbourhoods in Singapore

Dr Laura  Naegler1  Joe Greener2
1Northumbria University , Newcastle Upon Tyne , United Kingdom, 2University of Liverpool, Singapore

Based on ethnographic research in two neighbourhoods in Singapore, this paper explores how political, media and public debate construct certain communities as ‘high-crime’ and dangerous. This underpins material and concrete interventions by state authorities such as heavy investment in security technologies and on-the-street surveillance. Geylang not only has a high influx of migrant workers but is known as the city’s main area for illegal and vice activity including sex work, illegal gambling and trade in counterfeit pharmaceuticals. Considerable effort by authorities goes into regulating criminal and vice activity in the area. However, there is a strongly performative aspect to this control of Geylang which is aimed at permitting and containing vices, rather than halting them altogether. Yishun is a lower-income neighbourhood with low-crime rates according to national statistics. However, reports on cases of, for example, animal abuse, a (satirical) blog claiming the neighbourhood being ‘cursed’ and several social media memes playing on this image led to a perception of Yishun as a high crime area. Both case studies are expressions of collective anxieties about security, safety, crime and danger in the small island city state. These collective anxieties are driven by the ambivalences of life and politics in Singapore, such as the state’s need to maintain the image of a low-crime crime nation while at the same time making it appear that the threat of crime is ever present, the perception that crime could easily propel into chaos if not contained, and the downplaying of actual existing social problems.


Laura Naegler, PhD, is a lecturer in criminology at Northumbria University. Her research interests are critical and cultural criminology, urban sociology, resistance studies and political theory, with a focus on the study of social movements, social unrest, and “new” forms of democratic participation.



Dr Kholofelo Mothibi1
1University Of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa

The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of the measures in the prevention and control of organised crime by government agencies based in Limpopo Province. The research was qualitative in nature and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 law enforcement officers from the DPCI, DSSL, SAPS, Home Affairs, SARS Customs and Excess, AFU, and the NPA PCLU. Data was analysed though thematic analysis. The results revealed that government strategies in Limpopo still require concerted efforts in the prevention and control of organised crime. The government has identified measures to fight organised crime and has adopted the criminal justice response/ institutional and the legislative response to the crime. Measures taken by various units are found to be ineffective in dealing with organised crime since organised criminal networks are often flexible, dynamic, innovative and resilient. Furthermore, corrupt activities and collusions by law enforcement officers hinder the effective implementation of the strategies to control organised crime. The study highlighted poor implementation of the multi-agency approach as one institution is expected to facilitate and lead the prevention of organised crime. The findings further highlight, for example, that the smuggling of illegal cigarettes is currently a challenge for the provincial government as a highly committed organised crime. The study recommends for the development, by the government, of an Organised Crime Threat Assessment in order to effectively recognise the need for responses The study further recommends the adoption of relevant multi-agency approaches in addressing organise crime – both operational and policy or regulatory.


Dr Mothibi attained a Bachelor of Arts at the University of the North (now the University of Limpopo) in 2004 and Bachelor of Arts Honours (Criminology) in 2005. In 2007 she obtained a certificate from Rhodes University qualifying as an accredited assessor.  Studied for the Master of Arts Degree in Criminology at the University of Limpopo and the degree was awarded in 2008. In 2012 she completed PhD in Criminology and the degree was conferred in May 2013.  Later completed Masters in Public Administration (MPA) at the Turfloop Graduate School of Leadership (TGSL) in 2016. Currently employed as a senior lecturer and Head of Department in the Criminal Justice Department at the University of Venda and was previously Head of Criminology Department and senior lecturer at the University of Fort Hare (Alice Campus), and worked at the University of Limpopo the 10 years. Beyond research successes, Dr Mothibi has a wide range of teaching and research experience and taught both undergraduates and postgraduates courses (Specialises in crime prevention, policing, victimology, criminological theories, community policing and individual crime studies). Has extensive experience as a postgraduate supervisor and has successfully supervised 24 honors students (mini-dissertations) and 5 masters dissertations and 1 PhD; currently supervising 4 honors, 3 masters’ students and 1 PhD. Papers have been published in an accredited and peer reviewed journals and also reviewed various papers published in accredited journals.    Currently serving as Criminological Society of Africa (CRIMSA) secretary (2018-2020).


Segregation, inequality and crime: Examining the link across Australian neighbourhoods

Dr Michelle Sydes1, Associate Professor  Rebecca  Wickes2

1University of Queensland , Brisbane, Australia, 2Monash University , Melbourne , Australia

Segregation is argued to weaken social controls and undermine a community’s regulatory capacity through mechanisms associated with social inequality and social isolation. However, empirical support for this relationship is far from conclusive. To date, most segregation-crime studies concentrate on segregation patterns at the city level using indices that ignore the spatiality of segregation. In this paper we employ highly spatialized measures of local residential segregation to unpack the relationship between segregation, inequality and crime across 297 neighbourhoods located in two Australian cities with differing immigration histories and ethnic compositions. Drawing on survey, census and crime data, we additionally consider the role collective efficacy plays in mediating or moderating the association between segregation, inequality and crime.


Michelle Sydes is a Research Fellow at the School of Social Science at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Her research is primarily interested in examining communities over time with particular focus on how changes in immigration, disadvantage and residential segregation impact neighbourhood crime. Michelle uses innovative statistical techniques to further enhance our knowledge of the temporal and spatial dimensions of communities and crime.

Rebecca Wickes is an Associate Professor at the School of Social Sciences at Monash University where she is the Director of the Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre and the convener of the criminology program. She is also the Chief Investigator of the Australian Community Capacity Study (ACCS), a multi-million, multi-site, longitudinal study of 298 urban neighbourhoods in Victoria and Queensland. Her research focuses on the spatial concentration of social problems with a particular focus on how physical and demographic changes in urban communities influence social cohesion, the informal regulation of crime, crime and victimisation.




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