Preventing online sexual abuse: understanding the problem as a first step to informing prevention

While it is widely acknowledged that the Internet has many positive aspects, it may be used by some individuals to engage in illegal behaviour. Durkin (1997) suggested four different ways in which the Internet may be misused by individuals who have a sexual interest in children: (a) exchanging child sexual abuse material; (b) identifying potential victims for sexual abuse in the physical world; (c) engaging in inappropriate sexual communication; and (d) corresponding with like-minded individuals. The ‘engagement in appropriate sexual communication’ involves offenders accessing Internet communication platforms (ICPs) to approach children and initiate conversations with them, which may develop into interactions in which offenders incite them to engage in sexually explicit talk and/or activities. As part of such interactions, offenders may request sexual images and exposure via webcam. This is commonly referred to as ‘online sexual grooming’. The following blog post explores the cutting edge research of Dr Juliane Kloess at the University of Birmingham, and looks at what we know about offenders, and what can be done to support young people around awareness of the risks of online abuse.

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Workers wanted, no hardhats required

Australia is set for massive growth in the number of jobs in health and social assistance over the coming years, but there are big risks including qualification silos, the undermining of our TAFE system, inadequate pay and career pathways, and a lack of diversity.

In the post below, David Hayward, Director of the Future Social Service Institute, looks at the challenges and opportunities and concludes that it’s time we started attracting more people to the social service industry, training the workforce to have the skills required to properly meet people’s needs, and developing new professions and careers.

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Restorative justice: Can short-term politics align with long-term juvenile justice policy?

David Moore is President of the Victorian Association for Restorative Justice.

In the article below he looks at the impact of 'tough on crime' approaches to youth justice in Australia and how restorative justice – "not some warm-hearted-but-soft-headed notion" – offers to resolve the apparent conflicts between short-term politics and long-term policy in youth justice.

The article looks particularly at the Victorian justice system in recent years, where more punitive policies have sparked a spiral of issues for individuals and the system, and also where restorative models are offering real hope.

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How & why do we treat tax evasion & welfare fraud differently?

In both Australia and New Zealand, policy settings treat welfare fraud as more serious than tax evasion, prompting the assumption that this reflects community views.

Not so, reports New Zealand Taxation Professor Lisa Marriott in the post below, which wraps the findings of her work published in this edition of the Journal of Australian Tax.

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Ecosystem services: it’s not all about the dollars

Nature is essential to our wellbeing. There are multiple layers of complexity and nuance to the interactions between humans and their environment, which are often referred to as ecosystem services. In this post, Manu Saunders discusses how the concept has much greater potential for improving human wellbeing and promoting nature conservation than it is often given credit for. This post was originally posted on Remember the Wild, and is republished here with permission.

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How do we design effective individual funding systems for people with disability?

A key component of the NDIS is the provision of individualised funding to people with disability, who should then have greater choice and control over how this is spent. While this sounds good in theory a new paper by Associate Professor Helen Dickinson, published in ANZSOG’s Evidence Base journal, raises doubts about the quality of the evidence in favour of individualised funding. In this post, Helen discusses the key findings of her review. This piece originally appeared on the ANZSOG blog.

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Paul Cairney's 5-step strategy to make evidence count

Dr. Paul Cairney is Professor of Politics and Public Policy at the University of Stirling in the UK and he has a message for us about how to make our evidence count. Paul is the author of The Politics of Evidence Based Policy Making (2016), which has already achieved cult status for politics enthusiasts worldwide. Read some of his insights in this week's blog post, originally posted on Paul's own blog.

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