Criminology team wins excellence award

The winning criminology team: Troy Allard, Susan Dennison, Lisa Broidy, Belinda Crissman, April Chrzanowski, Carleen Thompson, Emily Hurren-Paterson and Anna Stewart.

Led by Professor Anna Stewart, a team from the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice has won the 2015 Vice Chancellor’s Research Excellence Award for their research project — The Queensland Linkage Project: Advancing Life-Course Criminology.

Associate Professor Susan Dennsion, Dr Troy Allard, Dr Carleen Thompson, April Chrzanowski, Emily Hurren Paterson, Associate Professor Lisa Broidy, Dr Belinda Crissman and Professor Stewart were presented with their award at a ceremony at the Gold Coast campus this week.

The team’s research collaboration began in 2002 when, working on a Criminological Research Grant, Professor Stewart and Associate Professor Susan Dennison examined the links between child maltreatment and youth offending.

They used data from the Department of Families child protection and youth court databases to carry out a quantitative study examining how victims of maltreatment can progress to youth offending.

This work formed the basis for a growing research agenda (and an expanded team), that relies on linked administrative data to assess the theoretical mechanisms that explain how both early and contemporary risks lead to antisocial outcomes in adolescence and adulthood.

Professor Stewart said: “Over the years I have been very fortunate to work with a great team on research that makes a difference in the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our society. I am very pleased that the work of this team has been acknowledged with this award.”

Over the past decade, the team has been involved in the development and ongoing expansion of three population-based longitudinal linked administrative databases. They have identified and examined the accumulation of risk factors, the time of exposure to risk and their key points of transition in childhood, adolescence and adult development.

With support from its most recent ARC Linkage grant (Understanding the relationship between mental illness and offending: Implications for crime prevention and the management of mentally ill offenders) and six industry partners, the team is undertaking its most ambitious data linkage project to date. The project will link 13 administrative datasets including child protection, mental health, youth and adult offending, births, deaths and marriages.

The resulting longitudinal population based datasets will contain more than 2000 variables for about 200,000 people and provide the basis for another 10 years of valuable research.