An expert consortium conducting world-leading research into serious violent and sexual offending has been launched at Swinburne, following $1.6 million state government funding.
Minister for Corrections Gayle Tierney officially opened the Catalyst Consortium at Swinburne’s Hawthorn campus on Wednesday 26 April.
Forensic psychologists Professor James Ogloff AM, director of Swinburne’s Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science, and Professor Michael Daffern will oversee a network of researchers in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Exploring the causes of violence
Catalyst has a number of aims including to improve our understanding of what causes repeat violent and sexual offending, to help authorities better manage offenders and to increase community safety.
“By learning more about what causes repeat violent and sexual offending, we’ll be in a better position to reduce reoffending to improve community safety,” Minister Tierney says.
“Victoria is a world leader in the management of serious sex offenders and this global research hub will ensure we remain at the forefront of keeping our community safe."
Supporting mental health
The consortium will also look at forensic mental health and how we can better support people with mental illness in the justice system.
The consortium is part of the Labor Government’s response to the Harper Review, commissioned after the tragic death of 17-year-old Masa Vukotic.
Action has been taken over the last two years to provide stronger oversight and management of serious offenders.
The range of offences that can be used to breach a serious sex offender on a supervision order has been widened to include acts of violence.
In the past, these acts could only be breached if they had committed a sexual offence. The post-sentence scheme is being expanded to include serious violent offenders.