Members of the Centre produce a range of research outputs in the areas of law, criminology, and policing studies.

Research outputs by members of the Centre can be found on their personal pages at this Centre website or via searches for “Centre for Law and Justice” or by the name of a Centre member made at

Faculty Research Area : Law, Justice and Resilience

Emma Colvin

Dr Emma Colvin
Research Area Leader

The Law, Justice and Resilience Strategic Research Area in the Faculty of Business, Justice and Behavioural Sciences focuses on creating and maintaining an inclusive and just society for individuals and communities. Our research contributes to and enhances the Flourishing Communities and Resilient People research spheres of the Charles Sturt University Research Narrative. Research in this area aims to address inequalities in society through improving access to justice and examine the impact of inequality in the criminal justice system, and society more broadly, and exploring means to overcome disadvantage and marginalisation. Our research has been published in high impact academic journals such as the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, the British Journal of Criminology and Police Practice and Research. Our academics have attracted funding from the Criminology Research Council and the Australian Research Council.

We are actively engaged in high-profile, high-impact research projects that influence government policy and practice. We engage in legal and community advocacy. We contribute to law reform debates and advance scholarly debate in criminology, law and related disciplines. Our research aims to not only focus on addressing inequality and overcoming disadvantage - it extends to weighing up individual rights, such as privacy, and community rights, such as public safety, for all members of the community.

Our members are driving research in a number of important areas. These include examining the impact of discourses, policies and practices of the securitisation of migration and the criminalisation of irregular migration. Further, our research examines issues of human security such as the balance between community and individual interests in relation to the use of new technology, particularly biometrics, in criminal justice and health contexts. Other research in this area explores how both the praxis and processes by which state and non-state agencies and actors provide security can enable or impede aspirations for a just and inclusive society. A key strength of our research program is our projects that focus on the over-representation of people with experience of out of home care in the justice system. Additionally, we are leading research nationally on the incorporation of Indigenous cultures, histories and contemporary social realities in law and justice curricula and building the skills of legal and criminal justice professionals.

Dr Ruth Delaforce


Kim Bailey


Discipline Coordinator and Senior Lecturer in Law, Centre for Law and Justice


Associate Professor Phil Birch

Phil Birch 

Associate Professor in Criminology and Policing, Centre for Law and Justice

Port Macquarie

Lisa Coates

Lisa Coates 

Lecturer in Law, Centre for Law and Justice


Dr Emma Colvin

Emma Colvin 

Senior Lecturer, Centre for Law and Justice


Dr Anna Corbo Crehan


Senior Lecturer, Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security

Off Campus

Dr Ruth Delaforce

Dr Ruth Delaforce 

Lecturer, Centre for Law and Justice


Dr John Gaffey

John Gaffey 

Senior Lecturer, Centre for Law and Justice


Dr Bede Harris

Dr Bede Harris 

Senior Lecturer and Law Discipline Head, School of Business

Albury / Wodonga

Associate Professor Valerie Ingham

Valerie Ingham 

Associate Professor, Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security


Dr Piero Moraro


Adjunct Lecturer, Centre for Law and Justice


Professor Mark Nolan

Mark Nolan 

Director, Centre for Law and Justice


Dr Marcus Smith

Marcus Smith 

Associate Professor, Centre for Law and Justice


Simone Thackray

Simone Thackray 

Lecturer in Law, Centre for Law and Justice


Project Name Brief Description Partners/Funding BodiesInvestigators

May the Force Be With You: Furthering Fresh Futures for NSW Police Psychological Strengths, Wellbeing and Retention

There is international emphasis on cultivating the well-being of police but there is little research explicating key psychosocial drivers. Fresh solutions are urgently needed to address complex issues underpinning unsustainable rates of NSW Police medical leave, retirement & psychological stress that adversely impact on well-being & capacity to safeguard Australians. Capitalising on powerful longitudinal design, gold standard statistics & cutting-edge interdisciplinary & multi-method theory/research we will explicate psychosocial drivers of NSW Police well-being, commitment, resilience & retention & critical characteristics of effective police command units to further fresh futures & enrich the international research agenda.

The purpose of this research is to generate research-derived strategies for improving NSWPF wellbeing, resilience, and retention. We propose to:

(1) Undertake longitudinal, large-scale temporal ordering modelling studies to test the effects of psychosocial determinants on key outcomes (e.g. burnout, PTSD, medical leave/retirement, stress, conflict, trauma) and protective factors that mitigate these problems for the retention of new recruits and long-serving officers;

(2) Test anecdotal evidence that there is substantial variation among the 76 NSWPF command units in terms of key outcomes (e.g., wellbeing; sick leave; medical retirement; retention plans; psychological strengths);

(3) Identify critical organisational characteristics (e.g. culture/climate, managerial style) evident in the most successful commands that can serve as a blueprint for a paradigm shift in the NSWPF away from a paramilitary approach, to one of autonomy, competence, and collaborative supportive leadership (e.g. Atkins, 2008; 2011);

(4) Juxtapose perceptions of new recruits and long serving officers in order to provide a basis for making NSWPF more attractive to the substantial number of new recruits who leave within the first five years of service;

(5) Adapt, validate, and extend existing psychometrically sound measures and newly developed positive psychology measures of wellbeing and psychological strengths and test their psychometric properties for the total sample and sub-groups (new recruits, longer serving officers) to create an innovative suite of research-demonstrated measures to assess psychosocial drivers of success in NSWPF and enrich and drive international research in this critical field; and

(6) Explicate novel and innovative solutions to critical limitations in existing policing research, thereby contributing significant new knowledge and a model paradigm to the international research literature.

By clarifying these issues and offering novel and methodologically sound evidence-based approaches, our research will improve NSWPF capacity to protect and serve the community, elucidate the psychosocial drivers that seed success in enhancing NSWPF wellbeing, build Australian human capital by retaining police officers, and enrich and advance the international police research agenda in relation to theory, research, and practice.

Australian Research Council and NSW Police


Dr Phil Birch (CSU)

Non CSU Co-Investigators

Professor Rhonda Carven, Professor Herbert Marsh,

Australian Catholic University, Associate Professor Alexandre Morin, University of Quebec - Outaouais, University of Sherbrooke and Australian Catholic University, Dr Paul Atkins Australian Catholic University, Dr Philip Parker Australian Catholic University, Dr Philip Birch, Charles Sturt University, Mr Peter Gallagher, NSW Police Force, Professor Felicia Huppert

University of Cambridge, UK and and Australian Catholic University, Professor John Meyer, University of Western Ontario, Canada, Professor Richard Ryan, University of Rochester, USA and and Australian Catholic University, Ms Charlene York, NSW Police Force

Children in Out-Of-Home-Care (OOHC) in the criminal justice system: The view of Frontline Criminal Justice Professionals


Young people in Out-of Home-Care are over-represented in the criminal justice system (McFarlane 2010, 2016; Weatherburn 2007, 2016). A paucity of research exists on the drivers and dynamics of over-representation and on what constitutes international best practice in decriminalisation innovation. Thus, this research aims to:

  • Identify perceptions of frontline criminal justice professionals - NSW Police Force, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Family and Community Services, OOHC service providers, lawyers, Magistrates - on processes of criminalisation of young people in OOHC in the criminal justice system;
  • Identify international best practice in OOHC and decriminalisation;
  • Identify perceptions of Indigenous community/organisational representatives on the problem and solutions to the over-representation of Indigenous young people in the criminal justice system; and
  • Identify regional disparities in over-representation of young people in OOHC in the criminal justice system across regional/metropolitan areas.

Criminology Research Council ($47,496)

Dr Kath McFarlane, Associate Professor Alison Gerard, Dr Emma Colvin, Dr Andrew McGrath (School of Psychology)

Bail decision-making and pre-trial services: A comparative study of magistrates courts in four Australian states

This research project looks at how bail decisions are made in Magistrates Courts. The central principle is that bail is granted on the basis that the defendant will answer bail, and will not offend in the intervening time in a way that will harm the community.

A central policy question that has interested researchers and funding agencies is how to reduce the growing remand population, while maintaining confidence in the courts.  In addition, every criminal justice agency recognises that an increasing proportion of defendants have social problems, and some have multiple problems such as mental illness, homelessness, drug use and poverty.   This study will add to our understanding of bail decision making and how bail orders are working.   It will also assist criminal justice agencies in documenting a need for more resources and better services to address the needs of defendants.

Criminology Research Council


Dr Emma Colvin (Co-Investigator)

Non-CSU Co-Investigators: Dr Max Travers (Principal Investigator, University of Tasmania), Professor Rick Sarre (University of South Australia), Dr Isabelle Bartkowiak-Theron (University of Tasmania), Dr Christine Bond (Griffith University),

Professor Andrew Day (James Cook University)

Review of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998

The Review of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 involved advising the State’s child welfare regulatory body on a model to improve the safety and wellbeing of children in OOHC, particularly those at risk of involvement in the justice system.

Category 2 grant 0000102112


Dr Kath McFarlane


Tracey Kerr


State Crime and the Right to Health: Accountability for Australia’s Pathogenic Immigration Detention Regime

Associate Professor Alison Gerard

Tasia Power


Irregular migration and delivery Australia’s humanitarian aid

Associate Professor Alison Gerard

Nadia David


Consent to bodily harm: Sexually submissive heterosexual women in sadomasochistic relationships and the criminal law

Dr Phil Birch and Dr Emma Colvin

Ineke Romeyn


Pathways of child poly-victimisation: A study of repeat victimisation of children reported to NSW Police for child abuse

Dr Phil Birch and Dr Andrew McInnes

Louise (Lulu) Sicard


Music Therapy and treatment interventions for offending behaviour and complex needs

Dr Phil Birch and Professor Tracey Green

Leighann Spencer


The role of identity and territory in vigilantism and state complicity

Dr Piero Moraro


Dr Phil Birch

Criminal and Community Justice Policy and Practice

  • Police, Probation and Parole Policy and Practice;
  • Assessment, Treatment and  Management of Offenders;
  • Gender and sexuality  inclusive Domestic and Family Violence (DFV)/Inter-partner Violence (IPV).

Sex and Deviancy Studies

  • Sex Work, Sex Workers and Procurement;
  • LGBTIQA+ Criminality and Deviancy.

Dr Emma Colvin

  • Bail
  • Court processes and procedures
  • Access to justice
  • Prisons and remand imprisonment
  • Therapeutic jurisprudence and 'problem' solving initiatives
  • Risk and social control
  • Care-experienced people and the criminal justice system

Dr Ruth Delaforce

  • military-crime nexus
  • private military and security companies
  • insurgency and counterinsurgency studies

Dr John Gaffey

  • Crime and the media
  • Crime and popular culture
  • Media and discourse

Adjunct Professor Alison Gerard

  • The securitisation of migration and refugee women
  • Criminalisation of young people in out-of-home care
  • Asylum seeking in Hong Kong
  • Prisons, privatization and the prison-industrial complex
  • Sex work, labour and mobility
  • Feminist legal theory and intersectionality
  • Gender and punishment
  • Conflict transformation

Dr Kath McFarlane

  • Care-criminalisation
  • prisons and community  corrections
  • women and punishment
  • institutionalisation;
  • youth justice;
  • sentencing;
  • indigenous social justice  issues; and
  • human rights.

Dr Piero Moraro

  • Ethics, Law And Political  Philosophy;
  • Civil Disobedience

Dr Marcus Smith

  • Evidence law
  • Health law
  • Biometric identification
  • DNA evidence

Since establishment of the Research Area in July 2016


Ireland, J.L., Birch, P. and Ireland, C.A. (eds.) (2018) Routledge International Handbook on Human Aggression: Current issues and perspectives London: Routledge.

Ireland, J.L., Ireland, C.A., and Birch, P. (eds.) (in press – due September 2018) Violent and Sexual Offenders: Assessment, Treatment and Management (2nd ed.), London: Routledge.

Smith, M., Mann, M. and Urbas, G. (2018). Biometrics, Crime and Security. New York: Routledge.

Vecchio, F. and Gerard, A (Eds) (2018) The Entrapment of Asylum Seekers: Social, Legal and Economic Precariousness, Palgrave MacMillan, London.

Book Chapters

Auhl, G., Gainsford, A., Hill, B., Zundans, L. (2017). Promising Practices in Indigenous Teacher Education - Indigenous Cultural Competence: The Why, What, Who and How of Building Coherent Courses in Teacher Education, Springer Publishing

Birch, P. and Prenzler, T. (2017). Community-based Crime Prevention in Prenzler, T. (eds.) Understanding Crime Prevention: The Case Study Approach. Queensland: Australian Academic Press.

Ireland, J.L, Birch, P. and Ireland, C.A. (2018) Human Aggression: How far have we come? in International Handbook on Aggression: Current issues and perspectives, Ireland, J.L., Birch, P. and Ireland, C.A. (eds.), London: Routledge.

Birch, P. Ireland, J.L. and Ninaus, N. (2018) Treating Stalkers: A framework for understanding process components in International Handbook on Aggression: Current issues and perspectives, Ireland, J.L., Birch, P. and Ireland, C.A. (eds.), London: Routledge.

Birch, P., Ozanne, R.L. and Ireland, J.L. (2018) Homophobic and Non Homophobic Aggression: Examining its portrayal in print media in International Handbook on Aggression: Current issues and perspectives, Ireland, J.L., Birch, P. and Ireland, C.A. (eds.), London: Routledge.

Birch, P. and Veljanova, I. (2018) Raising awareness, improving victim safety: Exploring the efficacy of DFV proactive prevention measures in International Handbook on Aggression: Current issues and perspectives, Ireland, J.L., Birch, P. and Ireland, C.A. (eds.), London: Routledge.

Birch, P., Vickers, M., Galovic, S. and Kennedy, M. (in press – due September 2018). Cultivating wellbeing amongst police officers: Examining challenges in the workplace in M. De Guzman & D. K. Das (eds.) Urban Security: Challenges for 21st Century Global Cities and policing. Florida: CRC Press.

Birch, P. and Wintle, E. (in press – due September 2018) Sex Offender Registration and Public Protection: Rethinking the management of sex offenders in the community in Violent and Sexual Offenders: Assessment, Treatment and Management (2nd ed.), Ireland, J.L., Ireland, C.A., and Birch, P. (eds.), London: Routledge.

Birch, P and Ireland, J.L. (in production, due October 2018) Working with offenders convicted of violent offences: what works? in The Routledge Companion to Rehabilitative Work in Criminal Justice, P. Raynor, F. McNeill, F. Taxman, C. Trotter, P. Ugwudike and H. Graham (eds), London: Routledge.

Delaforce, R (2016) ‘Plural Policing and Private Security.’ In McGarry, R and S Walklate (eds) The Handbook of Criminology and War, Palgrave MacMillan, London

Evans, M., Gainsford, A., George, R. (2018).Indigenous postgraduate education: Intercultural perspectives – Respect and Challenge: Relational leadership through Indigenous research postgraduate supervision. Information Age Publishing USA

Gerard, A. Gainsford, A. & Bailey, K. (2018) ‘Embedding Indigenous Cultural Competence in a Bachelor of Laws at the Centre for Law and Justice, Charles Sturt University: A case study’ in The Future of Legal Education, Thompson Reuters.

Gerard, A. (2017) ‘Contesting entrapment: women asylum seekers in Hong Kong’ in Vecchio, F. & Gerard A., Entrapping Asylum Seekers, Palgrave MacMillan, London.

Gerard, A. &Vecchio, F. (2017) ‘Entrapping Asylum Seekers’ in Vecchio, F. & Gerard A., Entrapping Asylum Seekers, Palgrave MacMillan, London.

Gerard, A., & Kerr, T. (2016), 'Gendered and Racialised Violence in Australia's Offshore Detention Centres: Interrogating Official Accounts' in Fitzgibbon, K & Walklate, S (eds) Murder, Gender and Responsibility, Routledge.

Journal Articles

Baumgaertner, R., Colvin, E. and Birch, P. (2018) ‘Moral Panic and Perceptions of Community Fear: A local community study examining drug use’. Salus 6(2).

Birch, P., Vickers, M., Galovic, S, and Kennedy, M. (2017) ‘Wellbeing, Occupational Justice and Policing Practice: An ‘affirming environment’?. Police Practice and Research: An international journal 18(1): 26-36.

Birch, P., Baldry, E. and Hartley, V.H. (2017) ‘Procuring sexual services: Evidencing masculinity diversity and difference through sex work research’. Sexuality and Culture, 21(4): 1106–1119.

Birch, P., Ozanne, R. and Ireland, J.L. (2017) 'Examining the portrayal of Homophobic and Non Homophobic Aggression in print media through an Integrated Grounded Behavioural Linguistic Inquiry (IGBLI) approach'.  Journal of Forensic Practice 19(3): 239-244.

Colvin, E. (2017). Bail Justices in Victoria: Perceptions and Experiences. Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 29(2), 123-136.

Colvin, E., McFarlane, K., Gerard, A., & McGrath, A. (2018). ‘We Don’t do Measure and Quotes’: How Agency Responses Criminalise and endanger the Safety of Children Missing in Care in New South Wales, Australia. The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice 57(2): 231-49.

Gainsford, A., Evans, M. (2017). Indigenising Curriculum in Business Education, Journal of Australian Indigenous Issues, Volume 20 (1) 57-70

Gerard, A., McGrath, A., Colvin, E. and McFarlane, K (2018) "‘I’m not getting out of bed!’ The criminalisation of young people in residential care", Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology

Ireland, J.L., Birch, P., Kolstee, J. and Ritchie, A. (2017) ‘Partner abuse and its association with emotional distress: A study exploring current LGBTIQA+ relationships’. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 54:107-117.

Kennedy, M. and Birch, P (2018) ‘Changing the perception of police culture: Recognising masculinity diversity and difference in a ‘dirty hands’ vocation’.  Journal of Forensic Practice, 19(1): 1-6.

McFarlane, K., Colvin, E. McGrath A. & Gerard, A (in press) “‘Just another policy document?’ Can a protocol end the criminalisation of kids in care?” Alternative Law Journal.

McFarlane, K. (2017). Care-criminalisation: the involvement of children in out-of-home care in the NSW criminal justice system. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 51(3), 412-433

McFarlane, K. (2017). Criminalisation of children in out-of-home care: findings from an Australian research study. The Chronicle: journal of the International Association of Family Judges and Magistrates, July 2017, 61-66.

McFarlane, K. (2017). Improving data collection to better support children in out-of-home care at risk of offending. Child Family Community Australia, 1-1.

Moraro, P. (2018) “On (not) Accepting the Punishment for Civil Disobedience”, The Philosophical Quarterly, 68 (272): 503–520

Moraro, P. (2018) “Against Epistocracy”, Social Theory and Practice, 44(2): 199-216

Moraro, P. (2018) “Is Boss-napping Uncivil?”, Raisons Politiques (Special Symposium on “Uncivil Disobedience”)69(1): 29-44

Smith, M. (2018). Three stages in the development of DNA evidence in Australia. Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences. 50(6).

Smith, M. (2018). Universal forensic DNA databases: Balancing the benefits and individual rights considerations. Alternative Law Journal. 43(2) .

Smith, M. (2018). The contribution of the Senate to criminal law reform.  Criminal Law Journal 42(1).

Journal Special Issues

Birch, P., and Crofts, N. (2017) Law Enforcement and Public Health: Papers from the 3rd Annual Law Enforcement and Public Health Conference 2016.  Special Edition - Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice 3(3): 1-54.

Research Reports/Submissions

Birch, P and Emmerton, E, (2017) ‘Immediate Response Service Provision for Victims of Violent Crime: An Examination of Good Practice’. Research Report for Windermere Victim Support Service, Victoria. Port Macquarie: Charles Sturt University.

McFarlane, K. (2017). Incarceration Rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People: Submission. Australian Law Reform Commission.

McFarlane, K. (2017). Report to the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian: The efficacy of the current functions of the Children’s Guardian in protecting the safety and wellbeing of children in out-of-home-care. Bathurst: Charles Sturt University.

Book Reviews

Birch, P. (2018) ‘Higher Education and Police’, Edited by C. Rogers and B. Frevel.  Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, special issue on Higher Education in Policing.