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Dr Benjamin Spivak

Senior Lecturer, Forensic Psychology

Biography

Dr Benjamin Spivak holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and a Ph.D. from Monash University. He is the leader of the culture, psychology and law research stream and co-leader of the psychology and legal processes research stream. Benjamin conducts research on a wide range of topics including jury and judicial decision-making, violence risk assessment, cross-cultural disparities in crime and health outcomes, psychometrics and research methodology. Dr Spivak's work focuses on applying novel methodology to evaluate and improve criminal justice policy. He has conducted research collaborations at all stages of the criminal justice system including corrections, courts and police. 

For prospective students his current interests are in:

Demographic disparities in risk assessment - examining the extent to which widely used instruments to predict risk of violence or future offending function differently when applied to people from different demographic groups (e.g. race, sex, sexual orientation, gender) and what methodology can be used to reduce disparities.

Policing and diversion of young people - When young people are charged with a crime, police are able to choose between processing young people through the criminal justice system or diversion into non-criminal justice related systems. This project examines the extent to which changes in policing policy can increase the number of young people diverted away from the criminal justice system and what the longer term effects of diversion might be.

The deterrent effect of arrest on family violence - A considerable number of studies have examined whether mandatory arrest policies in relation to domestic violence can reduce repeated perpetration. These studies have shown mixed results, but have suffered from some methodological limitations. This project seeks to apply a novel design that overcomes these limitations to assess whether arrest can reduce family violence.

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Supervisor.

PhD topics and outlines

Policing and diversion of young people: This project examines the extent to which changes in policing policy can increase the number of young people diverted away from the criminal justice system and what the longer term effects of changes in diversion rates might be

The deterrent effect of arrest on family violence: A considerable number of studies have examined whether mandatory arrest policies in relation to domestic violence can reduce repeated perpetration. These studies have shown mixed results, but have suffered from some methodological limitations. This project seeks to apply a novel design that overcomes these limitations to assess whether arrest can reduce family violence.

Honours

Available to supervise honours students.

Fields of Research

  • Causes And Prevention Of Crime - 440201
  • Race/ethnicity And Crime - 440213
  • Forensic Psychology - 520103

Teaching areas

Forensic Psychology

Publications

Also published as: Spivak, Benjamin; Spivak, B.; Spivak, B. L.; Spivak, Benjamin L.
This publication listing is provided by Swinburne Research Bank. If you are the owner of this profile, you can update your publications using our online form.

Recent research grants awarded

  • 2022: Research Services for the NJC *; Court Services Victoria
  • 2021: Evaluation services for the Embedded Youth Outreach Program *; Victoria Police (for Contracts)
  • 2020: Emergency department presentations for mental illness, substance use, and self-harm among family violence victims and perpetrators: Identifying opportunities for prevention. *; Barbara Dicker Brain Science grant
  • 2020: Family Violence Investigation Unit Case Prioritisation Tool Research Consultancy *; Victoria Police Research Contracts
  • 2019: Evaluation of Magistrates’ Court of Victoria Family Violence Reforms *; Court Services Victoria
  • 2016: Effective judicial supervision of offender rehabilitation project *; Victorian Legal Services Board Grants Program

* Chief Investigator


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