Crime study gives voice to victims

Victims of crime advocate Jonty Bush
Victims of crime advocate Jonty Bush

Working with victims of crime has become a lifelong passion for Master of Criminology and Criminal Justice student Jonty Bush.

The 2009 Young Australian of the Year and former CEO of the Queensland Homicide Victims Support group said the degree had helped her work to enhance victim participation within the criminal justice system, as well as challenging societal expectations as to how victims should behave.

“I’m interested in the social responses to crime, how we conceptualise and view criminal acts, who we recognise as victims of crime and what we as a society believe should be done to enhance community safety.”

Fascinated by concepts such as the ‘innocent’ victim, Jonty said she was intrigued by how society responds in different ways to victims of crime.

“Some have a high media profile and community support whereas whereas others struggle for the same or even partial recognition.”

By the time Jonty decided to pursue postgraduate study she had been working with families bereaved by homicide for more than eight years and her dedication to the One Punch Can Kill campaign achieved national recognition.

“I wanted to complement this practical experience with a recognised qualification,’’ she says.

“But I had actually put off further study for many years, worrying that I wouldn’t be able to find the time to work in a demanding role and honour my study commitments.

“However, the flexibility that Griffith offers its students – allowing me to study off campus and participate with students and lecturers from my home office – certainly made it a manageable feat!”

Jonty said the Masters degree gave her the opportunity to explore areas that have very real practical and policy outcomes for victims and offenders.

“The lecturers have been great, very accessible, approachable and knowledgeable – always encouraging and affirming in their feedback.

“The content has achieved a balance of blending historical theories of justice with contemporary application and examples.”

Jonty’s work with victims of crime continues and she will start an honours degree this year with ultimate aim of completing a PhD.