Relative deterrence of infringements for risky driving behaviours: does time to next infringement differ based on offence type?

Ms Hayley McDonald1, Associate Professor Janneke Berecki-Gisolf1, Dr Karen Stephan1, Associate Professor Stuart Newstead1
1Monash University Accident Research Centre, Monash University, Australia

In 2017, 1226 people died in accidents on Australian roads. Whilst these accidents have many contributing factors, illegal driving behaviour increases their likelihood. Drivers found violating a road rule in most cases receive an infringement, requiring payment of a fine and demerit points placed on their licence. These infringements have a specific deterrence aim. If drivers are successfully deterred, they should change their driving behaviour to avoid receiving further traffic infringements. The aim of our study was to examine the relative deterrence effect of infringements for different traffic offence types, different fine amounts and number of demerit points issued.

Using VicRoads data, we analysed licensing and infringements records. Drivers in our study received their first Victorian licence after January 1st 1990 and were born on or before December 31st 1974. We followed each drivers’ full Victorian licence history through to May 21st 2016. Using time-to-event analysis, we explored the time between infringements, censoring drivers who did not reoffend.

Records for 1,044,358 drivers were used. 631,255 drivers had at least one traffic infringement and 422,003 had received at least two. Within 6.40 years of first licence, 50% of drivers had received an infringement. Within 2.45 years after first infringement, 50% of those drivers received a further infringement. This presentation will report the results of our analyses, and consider the relative effectiveness of the current Victorian driving infringements system in achieving deterrence from further traffic offending, for a range of offence types including speeding, drink and drug driving and mobile phone use.


Hayley McDonald has completed a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Criminology from Monash University and a Graduate Certificate of Applied Statistics from Swinburne University. She is currently completing her PhD with the Monash University Accident Research Centre, looking at the deterrence of risky and illegal driving behaviours.

Professionals views on how to conduct investigative interviews with minimally verbal adults

Madeline Bearman1, Martine Powell1, Lydia Timms2
1Centre For Investigative Interviewing, Griffith University, Mount Gravatt, Australia, 2Curtin University, Perth, Australia

Adults with complex communication needs are vulnerable to abuse and are over-represented as victims of crime. Investigators of abuse (who need to establish whether or not a criminal offence has occurred) rely largely on current interview protocols, which emphasize the importance of using non-leading open-ended questions to elicit narrative accounts. The current study addressed the issue of whether narrative-based protocols are appropriate for those adults who have minimal expressive language (i.e., use two- to five- word sentences). The procedure involved individual qualitative interviews with various experts (speech pathologists, trainers, psychologists) who have considerable experience working with people with major communication impairment. The themes arising from these in-depth interviews are discussed, and directions for future research are offered.

Madeleine is a final year PhD candidate at Griffith University conducting a thesis titled “Interviewing adults with limited expressive language”. She has 4 years experience working for the Centre of Investigative Interviewing as a researcher and senior interviewer trainer. Her research focuses on interviewing vulnerable people, interviewer training, mock interviews, coding and question types. She manages the specialist investigative interviewer training course which has been delivered in South Australia since 2016.

The rise of criminal infringement notices: a cause for concern?

Elyse Methven1
1University Of Technology Sydney, Haymarket, Australia

In the previous two decades, governments and police organisations in many Australian jurisdictions have expressed a willingness to accelerate the use of on the spot fines, and have them available for an expanding number of criminal offences. On the spot fines (also referred to as criminal infringement notices  or ‘CINs’ in NSW, CCINs in WA, expiation notices in SA, and more generally, penalty notices) are notices to the effect that, if the person served does not elect to have the matter determined by a court (court-elect), they must pay the amount prescribed for the offence within a fixed time period. A once unconventional sanction limited to traffic and parking breaches, CINs are now a familiar component of the criminal justice system, particularly in the policing of public order CINs in Australia. The author examines key concerns about CINs, including their disproportionate impact on Indigenous and vulnerable Australians;  their imposition of a uniform penalty regardless of the culpability of the offender or their ability to pay the fine; the unusual character of these sanctions, which is neither completely civil or criminal; and the lack of judicial (or any adequate) oversight of the use of CINs by police. The author also reports on preliminary findings from her early career research project on the use of CINs, police discretion, and their impact on Indigenous and/or vulnerable people.

Dr Elyse Methven is a Lecturer in law at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). She recently completed her PhD on offensive language crimes and the relationship between law and language. Elyse is currently undertaking an early career research project on police discretion and the use of on the spot fines for disorderly conduct. Elyse also researches the intersection between criminal law and immigration powers.

The Criminalisation of Fantasy Material

H Al-alosi1
1Western Sydney University, Bexley, Australia

This presentation explores the increasing trend for countries around the world to criminalise sexually explicit material portraying fictitious characters who appear to be children. Traditionally, child abuse material has been defined in legal instruments as images depicting real children. However, the rhetoric of crime prevention and concerns about child sexual abuse in the 21st century have led to the expansion of the law to include material depicting fictional children. This has led to an international divide to whether this unduly interferes with individual freedoms. This presentation is based on an extensive four-year socio-legal study that examined the possible theoretical justifications for criminalising FICTIONAL child abuse material (“fantasy material”). Therefore, this presentation provides exclusive insight into the significant findings of the research, which have been published earlier this year in the book titled: “The Criminalisation of Fantasy Material: Law and Sexually Explicit Representations of Fictional Children”.

Dr Hadeel Al-Alosi is a lecturer in the School of Law at Western Sydney University and is also a lawyer. She has conducted extensive socio-legal research on Australia’s child abuse material and has a strong interest in the work of community legal centres and addressing access to justice issues for vulnerable groups. Hadeel’s main research interests explore sensitive topics, including child sexual abuse, domestic and family violence and the use of technology to facilitate such abuse. Her research spans across multiple disciplines, such as law, criminology, and psychology. She is regularly invited to present as an expert speaker at conferences and enjoys spreading her research interests by engaging with the media.


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