Current PhD projects


Heather Wolbers

my doctoral thesis I aim to better understand patterns of intimate partner violence offending and predictors of these patterns. I have developed a quantitative survey to collect information on these matters in a sample of Australian men and women. The results of my research will help piece together why some offenders limit their offending to partner violence (i.e., specialised offending) while others commit a broad range of offences (i.e., versatile offending). I am focusing on two theoretically relevant predictors of these offending patterns, sexist attitudes and low self-control.

Preliminary analyses reveal that high levels of sexist attitudes are associated with specialisation, and low levels of self-control are associated with versatility. Understanding these identified differences between specialised and versatile offenders as well as what causes their use of violence can be used to develop a more effective criminal justice response to the serious issue. It's possible that different prevention and treatment efforts may be required for different types of offenders.


Moses Amagnya

This thesis explores key criminal justice and anti-corruption officials’ perceptions of corruption in Ghana’s criminal justice system through the lens of rational choice, routine activity, and crime pattern theories as well as situational crime prevention framework. It involves in-depth interviews with judges, prosecution lawyers, high-level police officers, defence lawyers, and officials of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). Using interview data from 65 criminal justice and anti-corruption officials across three regions of Ghana, this thesis addresses six research questions.

These are 1) What is the nature of criminal justice corruption in Ghana; 2) Which institutions and processes in Ghana’s CJS are affected by corruption and how; 3) What factors account for the occurrence and persistence of corruption in Ghana’s CJS; 4) What measures exist for controlling criminal justice corruption in Ghana; 5) Are existing measures to control corruption in Ghana’s CJS adequate and effective; and 6) How can Ghana control corruption in its CJS effectively?

The results demonstrate that corruption concentrates at entry points of Ghana’s CJS and institutions; deficiencies in the internal operations of the CJS, institutional (in)actions and lack of guardianship create opportunities and motivations for widespread corruption; and low literacy and a lack of awareness among the public about criminal justice operations, procedures and services serve as key facilitators of corruption. Also, criminal justice officials variously explain and justify the occurrence and prevalence of corruption in Ghana’s CJS. This thesis makes significant contributions to the corruption literature from the perspectives of opportunity theories and organisational context, with important implications for developing evidence-based measures that can help to control corruption.


Eslam Hassan

Road policing is a key strategy for encouraging driver compliance with road rules. Despite the fact that deterrence theory remains the predominant framework to underpin practices in road policing context, there has been a minimal investigation of deterrence perceptions among repeat traffic offenders, particularly within the Australian context.

The overall aim of this research is to determine offending patterns of repeat traffic offenders to promote safe driving behaviours and to apply deterrence theory to explore offending patterns and the role of sensation seeking and perceptions of risks in a sample of repeat traffic offenders. This research proposes two studies to address the significant gap within the literature regarding repeat traffic offenders’ perceptions of classical deterrence constructs, Stafford and Warr’s (1993) reconceptualised model and informal deterrence.

Study 1 will draw on cross-sectional data obtained from Blacktown’s (NSW) Traffic Offending Program (TOP) between 2014 and 2019. This study aims to identify the characteristics of repeat traffic offenders by analysing administrative data, including self-reported offences. Study 2 builds upon study 1 and involves collecting data using a survey from a sample of repeat traffic offenders participating in Blacktown’s TOP. Study 2 aims to examine the influence of classical deterrence constructs, Stafford and Warr’s (1993) reconceptualised model, informal deterrence mechanisms, sensation-seeking traits and perceptions of risk on offending patterns in a group of repeat traffic offenders.

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