ARC grants to promote research into citizenship and child sexual abuse law

3 October 2016
Research into citizenship and child sexual abuse law

Two of our staff were successful in the latest round of Australian Research Council (ARC) funding. 

ARC grants

Citizenship rights 

Conditional citizenship? Revocation’s implications for Australians 

Dr Rayner Thwaites received a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award for this project. 

Proposal summary 

This project will study the implications of the proposed citizenship changes in Australia. Spurred by a potential terrorist threat from citizens, the federal government has proposed expanded powers to strip a person of their Australian citizenship “in specified circumstances where a dual citizen engages in terrorism related conduct”. 

Proposed as an instrument of counter terrorism policy, the expansion of powers over citizenship also has significant implications for fundamental principles of Australian law and for the very nature of Australian citizenship, which is a key legal link between individual and state. The project plans to draw on the experience of countries comparable with Australia and relevant theory. 

It aims to provide guidelines for policy makers and to benefit debate on the legal constitution and nature of the Australian community. 

Sexual abuse prosecutions

Threshold decisions in determining whether to prosecute child sexual abuse 

This project will be investigated by a team led by Professor Judith Cashmore AO and including Professor Patrick Parkinson and Associate Professor Rita Shackel (DipEd(Second) ’91 BSc ’91 MA ’92 LLB ’95 PhD(Law) ’06), along with colleagues from Deakin University and Charles Sturt University. 

Proposal summary 

A disturbingly small proportion of cases of child sexual abuse reported to the police are prosecuted in court. Recent research in New South Wales and South Australia for the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse indicates that this can vary by state, by the age of the child at the time of the alleged offence, how old they are when it is reported, what type of offence is involved and whether the victim is male or female. 

This project aims to examine how police and prosecutors decide which cases proceed and why, and how they confer with each other as well as when and how they consult with complainants and their families. 

It is a five stage project that involves policy analysis, file analysis, interviews and work with police and prosecutors, and developing and testing practice tools and principles for police and prosecutors, with expected benefits for both them and the families involved.

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