Exploring notions of “justice” for individual fraud victims from those across the fraud justice network

Dr Cassandra Cross1
1Queensland University Of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

Each year, millions of individuals experience fraud victimisation globally through a variety of approaches. The impacts of fraud can be significant and extend beyond pure financial losses to many non-financial harms. Sadly, there is a consistent body of research that documents the overwhelmingly negative experiences faced by fraud victims in seeking to lodge their complaint with authorities and receive what they perceive to be a satisfactory response to their incident. In some cases, it can be argued that part of any additional trauma suffered by victims is based upon unrealistic expectations of what they can actually expect in terms of an official response by agencies across the fraud justice network (including police/banks/remittance agencies/other government/private sector organisations) contrasted against what they believe is “justice”.

In order to better understand the discrepancies between organisational and individual perspectives, this presentation shares insights from thirty-one professionals across the fraud justice network in London (UK) and Toronto (Canada). Professionals were asked what they thought “justice” looked like for the many fraud victims they interact with. Dominant answers included getting their money back as well as references to traditional criminal justice outcomes (such as arrest, prosecution and imprisonment).

However, given that both of these are unlikely, this has significant implications for how “(in)justice” is experienced in the context of fraud. Combined with what is known from victims, the presentation ponders how justice can be realistically achieved (if at all) for fraud victims and what this might look like.


Dr Cassandra Cross is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Justice, Queensland University of Technology. Previously, she worked as a research/policy officer with the Queensland Police Service, where she commenced research on the topic of online fraud. In 2011, she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to examine the prevention and support of online fraud victims worldwide. Since taking up her position at QUT in 2012, she has continued her research into online fraud, across the policing, prevention and victim support aspects. With colleagues, she has received highly competitive Criminology Research Grants, the first in 2013 to conduct the first Australian study into the reporting experiences and support needs of online fraud victims, and another in 2016 to examine the policing of cybercrime in Australia. She is co-author (with Professor Mark Button) of the book Cyber frauds, scams and their victims published by Routledge in 2017.

“Drugs? Online? Naaaah surely not”: perceptions of risk and reward amongst darknet drug vendors

A/Prof. James Martin1
1Swinburne University, Hawthorn, Australia

The encrypted darknet is increasingly used as a means by which people buy and sell illicit drugs. This trend is particularly evident in Australia, which has the 2nd highest concentration of online drug vendors per capita of any country. Despite the growing proportion of the global illicit drugs trade that is conducted via the darknet, very little is known about those who use these advanced digital technologies to sell illicit drugs.

This research is intended to help fill this critical gap in knowledge by engaging directly with people who use the darknet to sell illicit drugs. Using data gathered from interviews with online drug vendors conducted through encrypted chat applications, this paper will explore the perceptions of risk and reward of those who sell drugs on the darknet, and how those involved in online drug trading perceive other differences with the conventional street-based drugs trade.


Associate Professor James Martin is Criminology Convener at Swinburne University, and is one of the leading researchers working in the area of cryptomarkets and online drug trading. His book, ‘Drugs on the Darknet: How Cryptomarkets are Transforming the Global Trade in Illicit Drugs’ was the first research monograph published in the world on this topic, and was cited in the trial of Ross Ulbricht, administrator of the infamous cryptomarket, Silk Road.

Legal and Theoretical Frameworks for Responding to Online Political Extremism: Lessons for the Australian Context

Dr Imogen Richards1
1Deakin University, Waurn Ponds, Australia

In recent years, societies internationally have experienced an intensification and escalation of online political extremism. This has related to, amongst other things, attacks perpetrated by neo-jihadist organisations, the international mobilisation of far-right political entities, and a mass displacement of people from Africa and the Middle East, in what has been described as “the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the United Nations [in 1945]” (UN News 2017).

Extreme political polarisation, or the ‘hyper-tribalism’ of those with politically extreme views, has also been reinforced by these entities’ participation in social media. Political polarisation and extremism is in particular facilitated by the architectures of social media platforms, which comprise of ‘bubble bias’ algorithms, and the re-mediating functions of ‘likes’, ‘shares’, and ‘re-tweets’.

This paper reflects on characteristics of social media that can be perceived to encourage violent extremism, and legislation that has been developed internationally to prevent and counter  online violent extremist expression. It combines a socio-legal analysis of hate speech laws and national security legislation, with insights from media theory, to identify characteristics of extremist media which to this point have been under-explored and under-addressed. Drawing from high profile international cases and situations, the paper proposes policy lessons for addressing online extremism in the Australian context.

UN News 2017, “UN aid chief urges global action as starvation, famine loom for 20 million across four countries”, United Nations, accessed 30 May 2018, https://news.un.org/en/story/2017/03/553152-un-aid-chief-urges-global-action-starvation-famine-loom-20-million-across-four


Imogen is a member of the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, and a lecturer in criminology at Deakin University. She has written and published on the political-economy of neo-jihadist organisations, terrorist, counterterrorist, and extremist communications, and the ethical dimensions of hacktivism, among other subjects. She has presented aspects of her work on comparative extremism research at events including the 2016 Vox-Pol: Mid-Project Conference: Taking Stock of Research on Violent Online Extremism at Dublin City University in the Republic of Ireland, and the 2017 Terrorism and Social Media conference at Swansea University in Wales.



Crime and Justice in Digital Society

Prof. Murray Lee1, Associate Professor Anastasia Powell2, Dr Robin Cameron2, Dr Carolyn McKay1, Dr Greg Stratton2
1University Of Sydney, Camperdown, Australia, 2RMIT, Melbourne, Australia

As digital technologies become progressively embedded into our everyday lives, so too are human-technological interactions embedded into everyday crimes, as well as in cultural representations and justice responses to crime. This panel explores the ways in which criminology is increasingly, if belatedly, extending its analysis into the digital realm. Using a new book series as a platform, the round table discusses a range of these emergent fields of study and sets a challenge for scholars to involve themselves in digital criminology.

Themes explored include; Thinking Digital, Acting Global – understanding the analytical, conceptual and territorial borders we need to overcome to comprehend crime and technology; Rape Culture in Digital Society – discussing how in the age of seduction communities, incels, image-based abuse and networked misogyny, we are to understand and challenge rape culture in digital society?;  Simulated Policing – exploring the impact of digital technology in policing and our understanding of police; The Digital Prisoner – How audio visual links are now prison technologies as they are melded into the infrastructure of prisons, and firmly embedded into penal policy, offender management and legal procedure.

This roundtable will take the form of short introductions to each theme followed by and inclusive discussion between speakers and attendees aimed at stimulating further discussion around what has become a key research theme in contemporary criminology.


Robin Cameron is a Lecturer in Justice and Legal Studies at RMIT University. He teaches subjects on global crime, terrorism, human rights and digital criminology. Robin’s current research focuses on masculinity and extremist violence in urban and online spaces, and the effects on community resilience. He has also conducted research into 9/11, the war on terror and security responses to other crises such as disasters and protests, as well as the broader study of crime and justice in digital society. He has published on these topics and explored them in the co-authored book Digital Criminology (2018, Routledge).

Murray Lee is Professor in Criminology at the University of Sydney. Murray’s research focuses on representations and perceptions of crime and how these intersect with processes of criminalisation. This includes the increasing mediatization of crime and crime control and the development of new forms of media and communication that create new crime risks and anxieties, but also new forms of surveillance, control and governance. His current research interests involve fear of crime, police body-worn cameras, policing and the media, ‘sexting’ and young people and crime prevention. Murray’s most recent book is The Routledge International Handbook on Fear of Crime (2018).

Carolyn McKay is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Sydney Law School. Her research examines the impacts of audio visual technologies (video links) on prisoners’ court appearance and access to justice. Carolyn’s research interests include technologies in justice, prisons and prisoners, visual criminology, surveillance, policing and interdisciplinary research methodologies. In 2013, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law, Spain. Carolyn has previously consulted on anti-dumping trade disputes and indirect taxation in both Sydney and Tokyo and worked in digital media.

Anastasia Powell is Associate Professor in Criminology at RMIT University.  Her research examines the intersections of gendered violence, technology, justice and digital culture. She has published widely in these fields including four books (both sole and co-authored): Sex, Power & Consent (2010,), Domestic Violence: Australian Public Policy (2012), Sexual Violence in a Digital Age (2017), and Digital Criminology (2018); and two edited collections.  Anastasia’s recent research has investigated technology-facilitated sexual violence, image-based sexual abuse (known colloquially as ‘revenge pornography’), online justice-seeking or ‘digilantism’, and the broader study of crime and justice in digital society (with Drs Cameron and Stratton).

Greg Stratton is a Lecturer in Justice & Legal Studies at RMIT University and is also the manager of The Bridge of Hope Innocence Initiative at RMIT University. His research interests focus on wrongful conviction, state crime, media and crime, and identity in the digital age. Greg’s recent research has investigated the traditional and social media’s influence on wrongful conviction, public perceptions of criminality, and the broader study of crime and justice in digital society. He has published articles on these topics in criminology, media, and cultural studies journals and explored them in the book Digital Criminology (2018, Routledge).


Doing justice in virtual reality: results of a randomised controlled trial

Prof. David Tait1
1Western Sydney University, Penrith South, Australia

Digital technologies are transforming the way courts do business  – just as they have for every other part of the justice system and those who come into contact with them.  Justice processes increasingly use files and evidence in digital form. They employ on-line platforms to collect information, machine learning to assist decision-making and video links to connect participants. This paper outlines the next frontier – a possible future in which some justice hearings take place entirely in virtual reality. Participants remain in their own spaces but see the other participants, life-size, embedded in a virtual courtroom environment created entirely by software. The courtroom could be presented as holograms, 3D video or immersive 2D series of screens.  Each participant makes eye contact with the person they are addressing and receives sound from the direction of the person speaking.

This talk presents the preliminary results of a randomised controlled trial comparing co-present and virtual hearings in terms of how witnesses experience the process of a neighbourhood dispute hearing. The study is part of a six-year project funded by the Canadian SSHRC through the  University of Montreal, with fellow team members Fred Lederer (William and Mary College, Virginia), Christian Licoppe (Paristech) and Meredith Rossner (LSE).  The paper reviews how such technologies could enhance, or undermine, justice.


David Tait is Professor of Justice Research in the Digital Humanities Research Group at the University of Western Sydney, and Professeur associé
 at Telecom ParisTech.  His interests include court architecture, justice rituals, and technologies used in court and tribunal hearings.  He has led five Australian Research Council projects in these areas together with scholars in architecture, psychology, law, forensic science and media studies.  His work has challenged the the use of cages or docks to contain defendants on trial, and developed immersive technologies to provide a less prejudicial alternative.

Ransomware: Crime script analysis

Dr Susan Goldsmid1, Merryn King1, Georgina Fuller1

1Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Barton, Australia

Ransomware is a form of malware that renders the victim’s computer unusable or inaccessible. A ransom is then demanded from the victim, which the ransomers state will result in the provision of the decryption key. Instructions for ransom payments are often left in files created by the malware and saved in various locations on the victim’s computer, or provided via an email address that the victim is instructed to contact. Ransomware generates hundreds of millions of dollars in losses annually for individuals, and organisations, many of whom never regain access to their computer files. WannaCry, NotPetya and Petya are some of the most well known forms of ransomware. This presentation will outline ransomware crime script analysis findings, and include a discussion of the pseudo-franchise model, dubbed ransomware-as-a-service. A discussion of trends in ransomware attacks domestically will be supported by trend analysis based on victim experiences as reported to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network.


Dr Susan Goldsmid is the resident Criminologist and Manager Strategic Intelligence, Research & Engagement within Cybercrime Intelligence at the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission. Prior to this role, Susan was a Principal Research Analyst with the Australian Institute of Criminology, where she led a research program exploring the future workforce and technical capability requirements of Australian law enforcement.

She has extensive experience of working on law enforcement related issues, having previously had an established career as a sworn member within the Australian Federal Police, holding various roles in operational, intelligence and training areas.



Preserving eyewitness accounts with iWitnessed

Dr Helen Paterson1, Dr Celine van Golde1, Dr Chris Devery2, Professor Nicholas Cowdery1, Professor Richard Kemp3
1University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, 2NSW Police Force, Sydney, Australia, 3UNSW Sydney, Sydney, Australia

In the immediate aftermath of an incident, limited police resources often restrict opportunities for police to thoroughly interview witnesses for several days or even weeks after the incident. Additionally, sometimes witnesses do not come forward to report incidents immediately after they occur. Such delays are problematic because research on memory shows us that forgetting occurs very rapidly and that our memories are susceptible to contamination. Inconsistencies or inaccuracies in eyewitness accounts can hinder investigations and undermine the perceived value of this evidence, leading to failed prosecutions. In response to this issue, a team of researchers in the fields of psychology and law have worked with the NSW Police Force to develop iWitnessed, a free smart phone application designed to collect and enhance the quality of eyewitness evidence. Using our collective expertise in empirical memory research, policing practices, legislation and admissibility of evidence, we have developed a tool that will facilitate police investigations and prosecutions. In this presentation we will describe the background to the development of iWitnessed. We will then present promising findings from recent empirical studies investigating the efficacy of iWitnessed in terms of usability, memory preservation, and impact on psychological well-being.


Dr. Helen Paterson is a Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology at the University of Sydney. She is an expert in the areas of applied social and cognitive psychology. She has published over 30 scientific papers, predominantly in the area of eyewitness memory. She has experience working with the New South Wales Police Force, Fire and Rescue NSW, and WorkCover NSW. She regularly gives presentations about eyewitness memory to judges, lawyers, and police officers.


Transnational white nationalism: The digitally-mediated globalism of contemporary hate culture

Dr Robin Cameron1
1RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

This paper seeks to delve beneath the populist rhetoric of white nationalism in order to highlight the complex transnational solidarities that underpin digital hate culture. The 2016 election of Donald Trump represented the culmination of a series of reactionary political movements that rose to prominence throughout Europe and in settler colonial countries such as Australia. While this nationalist rhetoric works very well for the purposes of electoral populism, it is important to note that it is underpinned by complex, often contradictory, interconnected technosocial cultures of patriarchal white supremacy. It is the contention of this paper that these reactionary movements should be seen as related and co-productive rather than similar yet isolated. Towards this end this paper will suggest that there are three key factors vital to understanding this as a global phenomenon; whiteness, patriarchy and digital platforms.


Robin’s research focuses on technology, masculinity and extremist violence in urban and online spaces. This is part of a larger collaborative Digital Criminology project. He has also conducted research into 9/11, the war on terror and security responses to other crises such as disasters and protests.


“I’ve never had to go down this path before”: Applicant experiences of an online family violence intervention order process.

Prof. Stuart Ross1, Ms. Sophie Aitken2
1School Of Social & Political Sciences, University Of Melbourne, Northcote, Australia, 2Caraniche, 1/260 Hoddle Street, Abbotsford, Australia

Domestic violence protection orders are civil orders intended to protect victims from further violence. However their availability to victims and ultimately their effectiveness is limited by complex procedural requirements and court accessibility barriers. One solution has been to transfer responsibility for initiating applications to police, but this reduces victims’ control over the process, and can result in inadequate information collection and outcomes that are inconsistent with victim preferences. An evaluation of an online Family Violence Intervention Order application process trialed in three courts in Victoria, Australia showed that it simplifies the application process, enhances applicant agency and reduces stress, speeds up case processing and reduces the workload of court staff. The success of this initiative raises wider questions about the importance of participant agency and control in the family violence system.


Stuart Ross is Enterprise Professor in Criminology in the School of Social & Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne and sits on the Master of Criminology Advisory Board. The Enterprise Professor role was created to enhance the links between the University of Melbourne and industry. In this capacity, Stuart has provided consultancy research and evaluation services to a range of State and Commonwealth agencies, both directly and in partnership with other universities and consulting firms. Prior to joining Criminology at the University of Melbourne, he was Director of the National Centre for Crime and Justice Statistics in the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Sophie Aitken is Manager, Program Development for Caraniche, a provider of forensic psychology programs in the youth and adult justice sector. She has oversight of program development across the full range of the company’s forensic and general psychology services.

Predicting Crime Rates Using Demographic Data and Features Derived From Social Media

Mr Tony Moriarty1, Mr Richard Nichol1, Mr Praveen Kumar1, Mr Chao Sun2, Dr Roman Marchant3
1The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, 2Sydney Informatics Hub, The University of Sydney | Faculty of Arts and Social Science, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, 3Centre for Translational Data Science, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Social media is a recent phenomenon whose usage pattern is constantly evolving, presenting an interesting challenge and an opportunity to enhance the analysis of patterns of crime. Social media features that may be predictive of crime rate include those derived directly from the text used in social media posts, and text-independent features derived from metadata or data aggregations which may indicate transient and shifting population characteristics not captured in static demographic statistics.

In this study we examine associations between social media and crime and attempt to predict the rates of certain categories of crime in NSW local government areas (LGAs).

We use Natural Language Processing techniques to analyse the Tracking Infrastructure for Social Media Analysis (TRISMA) historical twitter data from 2016, focusing on aggregating tweets by 130 LGAs. Augmenting the models with demographic information obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016 Census, we model our target data, crime statistics for 6 crimes by LGA (2016); from NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR, 2018).

We find that a spatial model based entirely on Twitter data is predictive of crime rate across all 6 crime categories we analyse. We further find evidence that Twitter derived features may be used to enhance the accuracy of crime rate predictions for some crime categories through an ensemble result which improves on a demographic model in 4 of 6 crimes of which 2 are significant.


From fraud detection to predicting customer behaviour, Tony Moriarty worked on these projects and more in his former life as a Machine Learning Engineer at a Fortune 500. During this time he devised a system for ranking job candidates, as well as using behavioural analysis and outlier detection to identify employees stealing intellectual property. His Masters of Data Science thesis shifted his focus more broadly to quantitative criminology.

He is currently co-founder of a startup performing data mining in the real estate sector.


The society is devoted to promoting criminological study, research and practice in the region and bringing together persons engaged in all aspects of the field. The membership of the society reflects the diversity of persons involved in the field, including practitioners, academics, policy makers and students.

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