Law by name and criminology by vocation, Griffith University’s Jessica Law can’t wait to experience some “prime crime time” in England.
The 25-year-old Gold Coast criminology student leaves Australia in September for a four-month study exchange in the School of Law (Criminal Justice and Criminology) at the University of Leeds.
Eager to access the resources of the university’s renowned criminology program, Jessica will also liaise with Yorkshire justice departments and visit facilities including HM Prison Leeds, better known as the notorious Armley Prison.
“It’s a very hands-on program and it’s a fantastic opportunity to broaden my experience in a different environment,” Jessica said.
After completing high school in Port Macquarie, NSW, in 2005, and then living in Wollongong, Jessica arrived on the Gold Coast in 2010 and started at Griffith University in 2012. Her interest in criminology, which began watching television police dramas such as CSI and Law & Order, has only broadened with the university experience.
“I did a class on offender profiling and it involved a case in which a woman had killed her de facto partner in a particularly gruesome way,” Jessica said.
“It was a truly shocking case, but as I looked further I was surprised at how difficult it was to find information on violent women that wasn’t salacious.
“This is a topic that everyone has an opinion on, because there are so many elements – psychological, sexual, home circumstances, children – that can come into play.
“I’m drawn towards contemporary, female-driven issues such as “ladette” culture, violence committed by girls, globalisation and the sex trade and sexuality and society.
“I’m interested in learning why a woman has resorted to an act of extreme violence, then applying that evidence-based knowledge to improve understanding and outcomes.”
Along with peer leadership and mentoring roles on the Gold Coast, Jessica is vice-president of Griffith’s Criminology Student Society.
“We go to men’s and women’s prisons, consult with the police, attend court and even conduct ghost tours at Brisbane’s old Boggo Road prison,” she said.
Jessica has also undertaken an internship researching “Women, Girls and Violence” through the Criminology Undergraduate Research Interchange Program (CURIP) under Dr Christine Bond.
“It’s all about accessing as much information as possible with a view to broadening knowledge, improving understanding and, ultimately, making for better professionals.”