Family Violence in the Age of Technology: Analysing the role of smart-home and remote access devices in the perpetration of Digital Coercive Control

Miss Andi Brown1

1Monash University, Clayton, Australia

The aim of this project is to investigate the current existence and potential for family violence assisted by the use of new and emerging technologies. The focus of the work is upon the use of emerging technologies, such as smart-enabled home features and remote access devices, to control victim environments and behaviour. Digital coercive control is centred as the concept of understanding this issue in order to recognise that there is a gendered nature to these forms of abuse while also drawing attention to the individualized manners in which these technologies can be used to command control of victims. The links between corporate, government and private expectations of control and agency are examined in the context of neoliberalism to identify the broader social constraints which allow, and arguably encourage, the proliferation of digital coercive control perpetrated using smart-home and remote access devices. By conducting surveys and interviews with companies producing these technologies and a range of professionals and survivors within the family violence sphere, the project aims to identify the current extent to which these forms of abuse are being perpetrated as well as the future potential for their existence, and actions required to address the issue.


Andi Brown is a PhD Candidate in Criminology at Monash University, Australia. Her thesis explores the role of smart-home technology and remote access devices in the perpetration of Digital Coercive Control. Andi’s broader research interests and experience includes feminist and critical criminology issues, cybercrime, and media analysis of crime reporting. She is also a Teaching Associate in the School of Social Sciences at Monash University.

Pushing for Gun Control on Social Media: the relationship between social movements, social media and legal change. Lessons from the students from Parkland, Florida, USA.

Mr Alexandre Fleck1

1University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Debates today no longer take place exclusively in public squares, as Habermas writes, but rather increasingly occur on social media (Habermas, 1996; Isin, 2000). Our network society has shifted its democratic battleground from the public sphere to the virtual world.

Mason (2013) and Castells (2015) have investigated about the impacts that the internet and social media have had in connecting protesters and activists. Social media is enabled people to connect, organize themselves and promote their agenda by sharing information and campaigning. However, Sunstein claims Facebook has created echo chambers, enabling populism and assisting in the confusion between fact and opinion (2017). Howard (2017) argues it has enabled elective affinity and encouraged selective exposure, threatening to impoverish the political debate.

This research analyses the interactions between social media and social movements seeking legal changes to critically evaluate the possibilities and limitations of social media as a novel communicative space and tool to shape legal activism. This research examines by way of case study the dynamics of the #NeverAgain movement (#NA) which is in turn located predominately within the scholarship of the Law and social movements. Specifically it will build on the work of Galanter, McCann and others, taking the literature into new arenas, that is, beyond the study of activism that seeks to enforce rights through litigation to non-lawyers seeking legal change beyond courts. The answers to the case specific sub-questions will then be utilized to draw broader indicative claims on the relationship between social movements, social media and legal change.


PhD Candidate at UNSW

Evaluating court diversion in Western Australia as a means of addressing the over-representation of persons with mental impairment in the criminal justice system.

Miss Rhianna Chisholm2

1University Of Western Australia, School of Law, Crawley, Australia , 2Curtin Law School, Curtin University, Bentley, Australia

This project, currently in its infancy, will evaluate the effectiveness of court diversion in the criminal justice system for persons with mental impairment in Western Australia. Court diversion emerged as a means of addressing the underlying causes contributing to offending behaviour in order to break the cycle of offending and reduce recidivism. The focus of this research is the Intellectual Disability Diversion Program (‘IDDP’), operating with a dedicated Magistrate. Established in 2003, the IDDP is an inter-agency project open to participants with intellectual or cognitive disability and/or autism spectrum disorder, designed to divert applicants away from traditional criminal justice pathways to community alternatives.

The emergence of new, contextual approaches to analysing the interaction between disability and the law, particularly critical disability theory, have displaced the prevailing ‘medical’ model of disability internationally. These paradigm shifts in disability theory, exemplified by the entry into force of the Disability Convention, are drastically altering the way in which mental impairment and capacity interact with the law and its institutions. While consideration of the impact of the shifting paradigms in this area is taking place in the literature, further research is needed. Further research is particularly important in the criminal justice context (which to date has received the least attention in the literature). Western Australia offers a unique context to conduct this research due to the exceptionally high adult imprisonment rates, even higher imprisonment rates of Indigenous persons and the prevalence of certain forms of impairment, such as Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, in Indigenous communities.


Rhianna Chisholm is an Associate Lecturer at Curtin Law School, Curtin University and Research Assistant at the University of Western Australia (UWA). Rhianna has a Bachelor of Laws from Murdoch University and a Master of Laws from the University of Western Australia. During her Master of Laws, Rhianna focused on developing expertise with respect to criminology, human rights and mental health law. She is currently completing her PhD at the University of Western Australia on the effectiveness of court-based diversion for persons with mental impairment in Western Australia.

Gross National Happiness: A Middle Path to Effective Administration of Justice?

Mr Karma Tshering1

1University Of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

The proposed presentation relates to one of the theoretical frameworks of the PhD thesis.

As a theoretical framework, it was argued that like it guided the economic and social progress of the country, GNH could also influence, guide, and direct the legal development of fair trial principles and help secure justice generally and to self-represented defendants in criminal trials (SRLs) particularly. This assumption was tested by interviewing 16 judges from across the courts in Bhutan. They were asked what a fair trial meant to them and whether GNH has any significance to ensuring fair trials to SRLs. The presentation will reveal the thematic findings of the study. The findings reveal that a fair trial is judicially perceived as a broad legal concept that requires judges in Bhutan to consider a case in a more holistic manner. The findings also reveal that the judges see GNH as a: legislated responsibility of the judiciary to facilitate the pursuit of happiness by the litigants while administering justice; procedure to a fair trial and satisfied litigants and vice versa; an inspiration for the judges to be sensitive and fair and adopt more humane and inclusive approach to administration of justice. The findings, therefore, fundamentally suggest that GNH could also offer a middle path to an effective administration of justice by providing a normative orientation to the judiciary and inspiring and encouraging it to reconsider its conventional justice delivery framework.


Karma Tshering is a PhD candidate at the T C Bernie School of Law, University of Queensland. Karma’s PhD examines self-represented defendants in criminal trials in Bhutan through a comparative assessment of Australian experiences. The research investigates how self-represented criminal defendants are managed in Australia, and explores how self-representation in criminal trials in Bhutan might be managed to ensure a fair trial.

Karma completed a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Legislative Law Honours at the NALSAR University of Law, India, a Master of Arts HSG in International Law at the University of St Gallen, Switzerland, and a Postgraduate Diploma in National Law at the Royal Institute of Management, Bhutan. He joined the civil service of Bhutan as a qualified lawyer and worked with the Judiciary for over six years as a Court Registrar before starting his present academic endeavour.

His research interests include criminal justice, court process, governance and law reform.

Public Attitudes Towards Police and Body-Worn Cameras

Miss Mickela Pinto1, Associate Professor  Lynne Roberts1

1Curtin University School of Psychology, Bentley, Australia

The Western Australia Police Force is implementing police use of body-worn cameras (BWCs) to capture police-citizen interactions. As research exploring public attitudes towards officers using BWCs is limited, this mixed methods research aimed to investigate public attitudes towards police officers using BWCs in Western Australia from a procedural justice perspective. It was hypothesised that a) public attitudes towards procedural justice in policing would predict attitudes towards police use of BWCs, and that the strength of this relationship would be moderated by socio-economic status, and b) public attitudes towards procedural justice in policing would vary when police use of BWCs in police encounters is specified. Additionally, the qualitative component aimed to provide insight on how police use of BWCs might influence public perspectives on the fairness of police encounters. An online questionnaire was completed by 267 Western Australian adults (184 females, 83 males; M = 31.95 years, SD = 12.59). The data was analysed using a moderated regression analysis, t test and mixed content analysis. Findings indicate socio-economic status does not moderate the relationship between attitudes towards procedural justice and police use of BWCs. There was no significant difference in procedural justice attitudes when police use of BWCs in police encounters was specified compared to when it was not. Findings further suggest the public are supportive of the implementation, but have concerns regarding police discretion in using and managing the devices. In this presentation, I will discuss the implications for the roll-out of police use of BWCs in Western Australia.


Mickela Pinto is a Honours student completing her Bachelor of Psychology degree at Curtin University. Her research interests include public attitudes towards crime and justice, and stigma and attitudes towards mental health in the Australian mining industry. Specifically, the focus of her Honours research is public attitudes towards procedural justice in policing and the introduction of police use of body-worn cameras in Western Australia.

I am (not) that (kind of) girl. A research project exploring the role of the media in (re)producing dominant social constructions of gender in reporting on sexual assault. Criminology research project in support of the degree of Master of Criminology, University of Sydney. Supervised by Gail Mason.

Ms Gemma Worboys1

1University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

I am (not) that (kind of) girl explores the role of the media in (re)producing dominant social constructions of gender in reporting on sexual assault.

Feminist scholarship considers gender as socially constructed, performed through idealised masculine and feminine norms and behaviours. As a discursive text, the media is reported to be an important tool in the construction of gender. It does this not simply by reflecting and expressing already existing meanings, but by actively constructing reality through selecting and presenting, or structuring and shaping narratives.

This project examined representations of gender in 33 newspaper reports on a high profile Australian sexual assault case (the ‘Mullins case’). Critical discourse analysis (CDA) was employed to assess the media’s influence on gender constructions. CDA was selected in light of the effectiveness of this method in identifying the constructive effects of discourse in text.

Three distinct discourses were detected in the newspaper articles; Mullins the ‘rapeable’ victim; Lazarus the pitiful victim; and, Lazarus the powerful predator. These discourses were supported by ten identified discourse strands.

Representations of the complainant, Mullins, were overwhelming consistent with characteristics of contemporary hegemonic femininity. Discourses relating to the accused, Lazarus, were consistent with dominant constructions of masculinities, albeit in contrasting ways. That these opposing discourses coexisted in the reporting, to relatively equal extents, is arguably evidence of the power of rape myths in shaping public perceptions of sexual assault.

It is concluded that that newspaper reporting does (re)produce dominant social constructions of gender in reporting on sexual assault.


Bio to come

Black lives matter: The violence of Indigenous incarceration

Mrs Kirstie Broadfield1

1James Cook University, Cairns, Australia

Almost 30 years on from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, 28 percent of the Australian prison population is Indigenous and there have been over 340 Indigenous deaths in custody; Indigenous incarceration has reached breaking point.  This is a crisis that demands far greater attention, investigation, and action than it is currently receiving.  This project, therefore, has national significance because it thinks outside the box on Indigenous incarceration rather than revalorising imprisonment as a frontline criminal justice strategy.  This research will highlight the violence of Indigenous incarceration embedded within the Australian criminal justice system by unveiling the extent to which relations of power contribute to forms of violence towards Indigenous Australian people in the criminal justice system. To achieve this a mixed-method approach has been adopted within an emancipatory research paradigm. Official statistics are being analysed to identify any unusual observations that may indicate a pattern or trend that can be correlated, or corroborated through the qualitative data.   Interviews with Indigenous ex-offenders are being used to evaluate the previously silenced voice of Indigenous people by gaining their perceptions about their experiences in the Australian criminal justice system. Ultimately, this project will contribute valuable knowledge to an area that is under-investigated, under-theorised, and most importantly, under-acknowledged.


I found my passion in Indigenous Australian Studies at JCU in 2014 and was awarded an Academic Medal for my Bachelor coursework.  I went on to study honours in Anthropology to compliment my undergraduate degree.  I was awarded the 2017 University Medal for my honours thesis entitled ‘Ethnodevelopment: Indigenous Development In Indigenous Hands’.

I am an active research assistant with projects including a systematic review of outcomes of Indigenous youth substance abuse demand control programs, which was published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.  I have also researched the effectiveness of cultural programs for Indigenous sex offenders, and a review of edutourism in Cambodia.

Saving the ‘orphans’ from poaching and plunder? Neutralisation techniques evident in social media profiles of exotic pet owners and antiquities collectors

MS Zara Bending, Ms Lauren Dundler1

1Macquarie University, North Ryde, Australia, 2Macquarie University, North Ryde, Australia

Despite multiple and varied regulatory attempts, the illicit trade of protected wildlife and antiquities continues to be an issue due to pervasive market demand. Exotic pet owners and antiquities collectors are regular users of social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube, where they promote their values and behaviours to a wider, global audience. Within these profiles and posts, owners and collectors justify their engagement with the market through use of cognitive strategies that reshape criminal behaviour as morally acceptable. These cognitive strategies, identified by David Matza and Gresham Sykes in the 1950s as Neutralisation Techniques, are commonplace in the narratives disseminated by antiquities and protected wildlife market participants on social media. Such narratives position owners and collectors of illicit products as “saviours”, and the wildlife and antiquities they collect as “orphans” in need of their protection from environmental and socio-political forces.

Using examples from the social media profiles and posts of market participants, this paper will briefly outline the complex legal, ethical, and environmental issues associated with market and will demonstrate how owners and collectors distance themselves from this reality through use of neutralization techniques. Ultimately, this research highlights opportunities for education-based regulatory strategies for market demand reduction, based on both the values and behaviours of owners and collectors, and the wider public who engages with their social media.


Lauren Dundler (MRes) is a PhD candidate in the Department of Ancient History, Macquarie University. Her doctoral research focuses on the Internet market for antiquities, but she is concerned with antiquities and art crime, and the regulation of the associated markets, more broadly.

She is presenting on behalf of her collaborator, Zara J. Bending (B Soc Sci, LLB (Hons)), a PhD candidate from the Macquarie University Law school. Zara’s current doctoral research investigates the international regulation of the illicit trade in wildlife, using rhinoceros horn as a case study.

Is it “just” a harmless fantasy?: The Criminalisation of Fantasy Material


1Western Sydney University

In just five minutes, this oral presentation will delve into the criminalisation of “fantasy material” (that is, material depicting completely FICTIONAL representations of children) in a sexual context. Because we all fantasise, the law does not only impact on paedophiles and potential child molesters, but also ordinary members of the public such as you and I. It especially has an impact on those who enjoy fantasy material such as sexually explicit comics and manga that depict cute characters who appear underage. Such material has increasingly been outlawed in countries around the world, including Australia, Canada, and the United States. 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 non-existing children. This has led to an international divide to whether this unduly interferes with individual freedoms.

This disturbingly alarming and entertaining presentation is based on the Author’s PhD, which involved an extensive four-year socio-legal study examining the justifications for criminalising works of the imagination. The presentation provides exclusive insight into the significant findings of the Author’s research, which have been published in her new book titled: “The Criminalisation of Fantasy Material: Law and Sexually Explicit Representations of Fictional Children”.


Dr Hadeel Al-Alosi Lecturer in Law and Criminology at Western Sydney University. LLB/Social Science (Criminology) (Hons) (UNSW), PhD (UNSW). The Author is a recent post-graduate and ECR whose research interests focus on the criminal laws relating to child abuse and domestic violence.

Does mediation have a role in resolving conflict related to cultural property: the interface between public institutions, industry groups and the community.

Ms Helen Shurven1

1Murdoch University, Perth, Australia

This session outlines research which canvasses how public museums resolve issues related to cultural property.

It focuses on moveable, tangible objects/items and not on intangible objects/items or values. It explores what mechanisms public museums currently use to resolve conflict related to cultural property which may include court, mediation or arbitration.

The effectiveness of any mediation used to date will be explored, as will the impediments to using mediation.

There is evidence which suggests trafficking in cultural property is increasing. It is therefore likely that conflict about cultural property between government, industry groups and the community will increase.

This research will take three geographical areas, analyse the approach from museums in each area, and examine whether there are any significant similarities or differences between them. The research will also look at whether any learnings can be gleaned from each approach. Such learnings may be used by museums to inform their policy approach to issues related to cultural property, including issues related to illicit trafficking of cultural objects.

This research will use a socio-legal method to examine the systems available to participants in such conflicts and their limits in a social context. The approach will be jointly a comparative and empirical one, looking at museums in the three geographical areas, and conducting interviews with people within these museums who have been involved in, or would be likely to be involved in, these issues should they arise. This would allow an insight into the operation of the law in a practical sense.


Ms Helen Shurven is a part time doctoral student at Murdoch University.  She is an accredited mediator under the Australian National Mediator Standards and has been mediating since 1993, including in a cross cultural context. She is a member of a Tribunal in Australia and conducts mediations between multiple parties, in city and country locations.  Helen also conducts arbitrations in matters where parties cannot reach agreement.  These arbitral decisions can be subject to appeal to the Federal Court of Australia.

Helen has a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Psychology from the University of Western Australia and a Bachelor of Laws and Master of Education from Murdoch University.  She was admitted to practice as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Western Australia in 1997.

She is a member of the Australian Mediation Association and has been an adjudicator for the Schools Conflict Resolution and Mediation Program since 2003. She has also been a member of the Council of Australasian Tribunals since 2013. She was a Board member for Relationships Australia (WA) from 2008-2016, serving as President for three of those years



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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