Academic Staff

Dr John Gaffey

B.Soc Sci. (Hons), PhD

Senior Lecturer in Criminology
Building 1400 Room 1-10


Dr John Gaffey is a senior lecturer in Criminology in the Centre for Law and Justice at Charles Sturt University. John has been working in tertiary education since 2002 delivering and leading a variety of Criminology and Sociology topics at Western Sydney University, Charles Sturt University, and research methods for the University of Tasmania School.

At Charles Sturt, John is also Justice Studies Discipline Lead in the Centre for Law and Justice’s Bachelor of Criminal Justice and Bachelor of Policing and Public Safety programs. Since his appointment with Charles Sturt in 2011, John has also served as Justice Studies Course Director (2011-2013 and 2016-2017).

John’s research interests centre on crime in the media, with a particular focus on the way risks are communicated by the media and understood by audiences. John’s latest book ‘The Construction of Truth in Contemporary Media Narratives about Risk’, published by Routledge UK in 2021, examines risk in the media, including both traditional and online media sources.


    In addition to Research Supervision, John currently teaches:

  • JST205 – Criminology: History and theory
  • JST204 – Young People and Crime
  • JST338 – Crime, Media, and Culture
  • JST220 – Gender and Crime
  • At Charles Sturt, John has also previously taught:

  • JST228 – Policing and the Community
  • JST220 – Policing and Society
  • JST320 – Drugs and Crime
  • SOC102 – Social Inequality
  • JST438 – Honours Research Methods
  • JST442 – Honours Criminological Theory


John’s main research interests are in the area of crime and the media, with a focus on risk and risk communication. Some of John’s recent research has examined media risk communication and authority, which was also the topic of John’s doctoral research.

Recent research and publications have examined the role of expert knowledge versus non-expert knowledge in risk communication and media communication about risks such as crime. This also includes examinations of police as experts in risk communication.

John’s current research is examining a range of risk, crime and media topics including media coverage and public perceptions of police and policing communication during natural disasters.


John is available for Honours and PhD Supervision in the following research areas:

  • Risk and risk communication
  • Crime and the media
  • Crime and digital/social media
  • Policing and the media

Current Supervision

  • Co-Supervisor of PhD – Emotional First Aid and Police Officers: Examining the role of family members (2019– Present)
  • Co-Supervisor of PhD – Online extremism and ideological expression on social media (2020 – Present)

In the Media

Journalist Monique Patterson publishes book on Stephanie Scott's death, 'United in Grief' – 09/03/20

‘Risk’ news – who do you believe? – 19/12/17


2018 – AGSPS Teaching Excellence Award

2018 – AGSPS Contribution to Discipline Award

Selected publications

The complete list of John's publications is available here


Gaffey, J. (2021). The Construction of Truth in Contemporary Media Narratives about Risk. Routledge.

Gaffey, J., Possamai-Inesedy, A., & Richards, K. (2005). The chameleon and the quilt: A cross disciplinary exploration in the social sciences. Sydney: Social Justice, Social Change Research Centre.

Journal Articles

Gaffey, J. (2019). Melbourne's 'African gangs' and media narratives. Salus Journal, 7(2), 68-84.

Book Chapters

Gaffey, J. (2021). Police, Media, and the Digital Age in Australia. In Australian Policing: Critical Issues in 21st Century police practice. Routledge.

Gaffey, J. (2005). Narrative in the News: Between the Audience and the Media. In J. Gaffey, A. Possamai-Inesedy, & K. Richards (Eds.), The Chameleon and the Quilt: A Cross-Disciplinary Exploration in the Social Sciences Social Justice, Social Change Research Centre.

Conference Papers

Colvin, E., McFarlane, K., & Gaffey, J. (2018). From Nagle to Now...the Changing Penal landscape. 10-10. Abstract from Critical Criminology and Social Justice Conference, Sydney, Australia.

Gaffey, J. (2016). Contemporary risk communication and experiential knowledge. Paper presented at Australia and New Zealand Society of Criminology Conference, Hobart, Australia.

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