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Victoria, Australia

Darwinkel E.,Deakin University | Powell M.,Deakin University | Tidmarsh P.,Victoria Police
Criminal Justice and Behavior | Year: 2013

We examined whether specialist police training on the dynamics of sexual offending can modify officers' victim-blaming attitudes and negative perceptions regarding likely case authorization. The sample included 77 Australian police officers specialising in sexual assault investigation. The training, delivered face to face over 4 weeks, included focus on identifying elements of grooming in offending relationships and how these elements can be elicited from victims and suspects within a narrative interviewing framework. Officers' perceptions of cases were assessed immediately pre- and posttraining using a series of case scenarios. For each scenario, officers rated (on a 10-point Likert-type scale) their confidence that the case should be authorised to proceed to prosecution and the responsibility attributable to the victim. For each case, officers also listed up to 5 factors to justify their case authorization decision. Overall, confidence in case authorization increased from pre- to posttraining, whilst perception of victim "responsibility" decreased. The pattern of results, including the qualitative evidence to justify officers' decisions, support that the attitude change was due to greater understanding of the dynamics of sexual offending. The implications for police trainers, and directions for future research, are discussed. © 2013 International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology.

van Oorschot R.A.H.,Victoria Police | Ballantyne K.N.,Erasmus Medical Center | Mitchell R.J.,La Trobe University
Investigative Genetics | Year: 2010

DNA analysis is frequently used to acquire information from biological material to aid enquiries associated with criminal offences, disaster victim identification and missing persons investigations. As the relevance and value of DNA profiling to forensic investigations has increased, so too has the desire to generate this information from smaller amounts of DNA. Trace DNA samples may be defined as any sample which falls below recommended thresholds at any stage of the analysis, from sample detection through to profile interpretation, and can not be defined by a precise picogram amount. Here we review aspects associated with the collection, DNA extraction, amplification, profiling and interpretation of trace DNA samples. Contamination and transfer issues are also briefly discussed within the context of trace DNA analysis. Whilst several methodological changes have facilitated profiling from trace samples in recent years it is also clear that many opportunities exist for further improvements. © 2010 van Oorschot et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Bennett D.J.,Victoria Police | Ogloff J.R.P.,Monash University | Mullen P.E.,Monash University | Mullen P.E.,Institute of Psychiatry | And 3 more authors.
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica | Year: 2011

Objective: To examine the relationship between committing homicide, the presence of schizophrenia, substance misuse and past criminality. Method: The study employed a data linkage design, using contacts recorded on two statewide databases, one of which recorded public mental health services contacts and the second of which recorded contacts with the police. The estimated rates of schizophrenia disorders, substance abuse and criminal convictions found among a population of 435 homicide offenders were contrasted with estimated rates in two composite comparison samples. Results: Of the 435 offenders, 38 (8.7%) had been diagnosed with a schizophrenia disorder, which was RR 13.11 (95% CI 9.14-18.80) times more likely than a comparison sample. Rates of known substance abuse between homicide offenders with and without schizophrenia and community-dwelling residents with schizophrenia did not differ significantly. However, these rates were higher than those found in the general community. A similar pattern emerged for comparisons regarding offending histories between these same groups. Conclusion: The association between homicidal violence and having a schizophrenia disorder cannot be explained away simply on the basis of either comorbid substance abuse or prior criminal offending. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

Stough C.,Swinburne University of Technology | Downey L.A.,Swinburne University of Technology | King R.,Swinburne University of Technology | Papafotiou K.,Swinburne University of Technology | And 2 more authors.
Accident Analysis and Prevention | Year: 2012

Objectives: Illicit drugs such as MDMA and methamphetamine are commonly abused drugs that have also been observed to be prevalent in drivers injured in road accidents. Their exact effect on driving and driving behavior has yet to be thoroughly investigated. Methods: Sixty-one abstinent recreational users of illicit drugs comprised the participant sample, with 33 females and 28 males, mean age 25.45 years. The three testing sessions involved oral consumption of 100 mg MDMA, 0.42 mg/kg methamphetamine, or a matching placebo. The drug administration was counter-balanced, double-blind, and medically supervised. At each session driving performance was assessed 3 h and 24 h post drug administration on a computerized driving simulator. Results: At peak concentration overall impairment scores for driving (F 2,118 = 9.042, p < 0.001) and signaling (F 2,118 = 4.060, p = 0.020) were significantly different for the daytime simulations. Performance in the MDMA condition was worse than both the methamphetamine (p = 0.023) and placebo (p < 0.001) conditions and the methamphetamine condition was also observed to be worse in comparison to the placebo (p = 0.055). For signaling adherence, poorer signaling adherence occurred in both the methamphetamine (p = 0.006) and MDMA (p = 0.017) conditions in comparison to placebo in the daytime simulations. Conclusions: The findings of this study have for the first time illustrated how both MDMA and methamphetamine effect driving performance, and provide support for legislation regarding testing for the presence of illicit drugs in impaired or injured drivers as deterrents for driving under the influence of illicit drugs. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Downey L.A.,Swinburne University of Technology | King R.,Swinburne University of Technology | Papafotiou K.,Swinburne University of Technology | Swann P.,Vic Roads | And 2 more authors.
Forensic Science International | Year: 2012

dl-3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and methamphetamine are commonly used illicit drugs that are thought to impair driving ability. The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) are utilized widely to detect impairment associated with drugs other than alcohol in drivers, although limited evidence concerning MDMA and methamphetamine consumption on SFST performance exists. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the SFSTs were a sensitive measure for identifying the presence of the specific isomer . d-methamphetamine and MDMA. In a double-blind, within-subject, counter-balanced and placebo-controlled study, 58 healthy and abstinent recreational drugs users were administered three treatments: 100. mg of MDMA, 0.42. mg/kg . d-methamphetamine, and placebo. For each condition the SFSTs were administered at 4 and 25. h post treatment. . d-methamphetamine was not found to significantly impair SFST performance unlike MDMA, which significantly impaired SFST performance in comparison to placebo with 22% of the sample failing the test at the 4. h testing time-point. No differences were observed at the 25. h testing time-point for any of the conditions. It was concluded that the SFSTs are not efficient in identifying the presence of low level . d-methamphetamine, and are significantly better at detecting the presence of MDMA at the levels assessed. © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

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