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OPENING ADDRESS Powered By Docstoc


              21- 22 NOVEMBER 2005

                 Opening Address

                LAURIE GLANFIELD, AM

Thank you Charles for your warm welcome to country.

I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, the
Gadigal people of the Eora nation.

On behalf of the Australian Institute of Criminology and the NSW

Attorney General’s Department I welcome you all to this

conference. The NSW Attorney General, the Hon. Bob Debus has

asked me to convey his sincere apologies for being unable to

attend this morning. He has a very strong interest in the issues

being discussed here over the next two days.

He is personally committed to developing criminal justice policies

directed to reducing the contact people have with the criminal

justice system. An area of particular concern to both of us is the

need to address the appalling over-representation of Aboriginal

people within the criminal justice system. It is a concern I expect is

shared by everyone in this room. All of you are engaged in

activities that either directly or indirectly assist in preventing crime

and reducing the impact of crime in the community.

Effective crime prevention depends on effective communication

between policy makers, researchers, service providers and most

importantly the local community. Over the next two days we will

be hearing from a number of international experts in this area

together with some of Australia’s foremost criminologists, policy

makers and program or service providers.

There are few communities that are not troubled by crime and

often expectations on government are so great that programs are

implemented hastily without regard to existing evidence or

research and often without a plan for evaluation. During this

conference we will hear how research, policy and practice should

work together and inform each other.

The challenge for policy makers and researchers is to establish

better working relationships founded on an appreciation of each

other’s role and expertise. Only by working together and with the

community will we see the maximum benefit from crime prevention

initiatives. This conference will provide an opportunity for greater

interaction and understanding.

In recent years the term “evidence-based policy” has received

significant prominence yet many crime prevention projects have

not benefited from existing research nor have they been evaluated.

Times are changing and the need to base crime prevention

programs on evidence of what works is now more widely

recognised. Of course, evidence can take many forms and is not

limited to research.

Sometimes we need to use innovative methods to collect

evidence, especially when there is very little to be found in existing

research. The recent work undertaken by the NSW Aboriginal

Child Sexual Assault Taskforce highlights the difficulties of

collecting evidence from victims and their communities. Marcia Ella

Duncan, Chair of the Taskforce and Mandy Young of my

Department will be presenting some of their findings tomorrow.

Many evaluations of successful programs and projects, which

come across my desk, emphasise the benefits of dynamic project

or community leaders and effective communication within a project


The Marrickville Council’s Stamp Mentoring project, funded by my

Department, is a good example of a local solution to a local

problem of the rehabilitation of newly released offenders. The

enthusiasm of volunteer mentors keeps this project going and a

paper will be presented on the program this afternoon.

Perceptions about crime influence the way in which a whole range

of people and organisations make decisions - policy makers, small

business operators, Local Councils, shopping centre managers,

police and governments.

Effective crime prevention policy is not based on perceptions and

beliefs but often perceptions can drive policy making, especially in

the absence of objective evidence.

In NSW perceptions about the impact of technology have

influenced the use of closed circuit television technology by the

courts. This technology is predominantly used for vulnerable

witnesses, such as child sexual assault victims. It reduces the

trauma experienced by victims of sexual assault who give

evidence during court proceedings.

Many lawyers believe that the only way for a witness to give

evidence is from the witness box inside the courtroom. Of course,

this is how it has been traditionally done for centuries. They

believe it is more compelling for a witness to be present in the

courtroom, as it allows the jury to properly assess his or her

demeanour. This belief leads some lawyers to object to the use of

closed circuit television technology for witnesses on the basis that

it impacts on the fairness of the trial.

However, there are compelling reasons for saying that victims

should not be treated just like any other witness and in the area of

sexual assault matters this is overwhelmingly the case. Proposals

for extension of video or closed circuit television presentation of a

victim’s evidence in sexual assault cases have been strongly

opposed by lawyers and judicial officers. It is said by prosecutors

that the personal presence of a victim is essential to ensuring the

greatest prospect of a conviction.

In December last year my Department commissioned a study from

the Australian Institute of Criminology to test some of these

concerns in the area of sexual assault. There was little research in

this area as we have a high regard for the innovative research

skills of Toni Makkai and her staff at the Institute, we engaged the

Institute. The key question the study sought to answer was:

   “Would the provision of evidence by an adult sexual assault

   victim, if given via a television monitor rather than face-to-

   face in the courtroom, influence the outcome that a jury

   would arrive at in determining guilt or innocence?”

The study focused on whether the giving of evidence by a witness

by way of pre-recorded video or closed circuit television had an

impact on a juror’s decision. The study involved eighteen mock

trials, hearing the same evidence from a sexual assault victim both

in person and by television.

The study found that there was no significant difference in jury

responses across the different means in which the complainant’s

evidence was given.

Interestingly the study found that jurors’ preconceived views about

sexual assault and personal values are more likely to influence

their views about victim credibility, empathy and guilt than the

mode of delivery of the evidence.

Clearly we have a lot to learn about how juries receive evidence

and come to reach their decision within the jury room.

The findings of the study challenge the common reservations of

lawyers and judicial officers about the use of closed circuit

television by witnesses. This research provides new evidence that

will inform future policy-making by the NSW Government when it

considers expanding the use of pre-recorded and closed circuit

television evidence in sexual assault trials.

On behalf of the Attorney General, Bob Debus, I am pleased this

morning to officially launch the report entitled “The Impact of Pre-

Recorded Video and CCTV Testimony by Adult Sexual Assault

Complainants on Jury Decision-making: an experimental study”. I

also congratulate the researchers Natalie Taylor and Jacqueline

Joudo for undertaking such ground-breaking research and for the

high quality of the innovative project.

More information about the report, including order forms for copies

of the report, can be found on the AIC website.

The Institute study also demonstrates the value of commissioning

research to challenge assumptions and perceptions that influence

policy decisions and to add to the evidence available to inform our

policy decisions.

I am very pleased now to introduce our Keynote speaker for today.

Sandra Nutley is Professor of Public Policy and Management at

the University of St Andrews, where she is co-director of the

Centre for Public Policy and Management. Within the Centre, she

heads up the Research Unit for Research Utilisation.

Sandra’s main research interests lie in the fields of research

utilisation, the implementation of evidence-based policy and

practice, the management of change, and performance

management. Sandra has been involved in a series of reviews

that have considered how research and evaluation studies are

used (or not used) to inform the development of social policy and

the delivery of public services. These reviews have encompassed

the health, criminal justice, education and social care sectors.

They have sought to develop a better understanding of research

use and how this can be improved.

Prior to becoming an academic, Sandra worked in local

government and since joining academia she has had periods of

secondment to work in the Scottish Executive and in Internal Audit

Services within the National Health Service in the UK. She has

visited Australia on a number of occasions and we welcome her

here again. I’m told that her university overlooks the famous St

Andrews Golf course in Scotland (I wish my office did!) but she

prefers to spend her spare time sailing rather than on the golf

course. Sandra, we hope your time in Sydney can include a few

hours on the harbour, and in the meantime we look forward to

hearing your Keynote address, “Facing the Challenge of Delivering

Evidence-based programs.” Please welcome Professor Sandra



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