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Indigenous victims in criminal sentencing and sentencing legislation: a postcolonial perspective

Project Member(s): Anthony, T.

Start year: 2014

Summary: This project involves qualitative analysis of Indigenous gender constructions in sentencing decisions of higher courts and sentencing debates within Northern Territory and Commonwealth parliaments. Drawing on postcolonial methodology, it seeks to match analysis of official (dominant) discourse with the voices of Indigenous people (including female victims of crime and those involved in the administration of community justice). The project's sources include sentencing matters involving serious family violence offences; sentencing matters in which victims and community members have requested the courts to accommodate a form of Indigenous law punishment; parliamentary hansards on debates to sentencing changes for Indigenous offenders; law reform commission and government inquiries where female victims and community members have been interviewed, audio-visual and internet materials, court transcripts, books and articles by or including the voices of Indigenous people, and Indigenous and non-Indigenous media. Based on my previous research, I have identified the corpus of key sentencing decisions and sentencing debates, which form the foundation of this project's research sources. This project will study these sources with a view to unpack how the Indigenous victim is portrayed. It will also rely on new sentencing matters, such as the recent and authorative High Court of Australia decision of Munda v Western Australia [2013] HCA 38 at [57] (22 August 2013).


Anthony, T & Grant, E 2016, 'Courthouse Design Principles to Dignify Spaces for Indigenous Users: Preliminary Observations', International Journal for Court Administration, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 43-59.
View/Download from: Publisher's site

Anthony, T 2015, 'Two Laws: Indigenous Justice Mechanisms in Context', Journal of Australian Indigenous Issues, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 99-115.

Anthony, T, Bartels, L & Hopkins, A 2015, 'Lessons lost in sentencing: Welding individualised justice to Indigenous justice', Melbourne University Law Review, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 47-76.

Anthony, T 2014, 'Keynote address: Critical Research and Institutional Violence: the institutionalisation of crime statistics', 8th Annual Australian and New Zealand Critical Criminology Conference, Monash University, Melbourne, pp. 13-33.

FOR Codes: Criminology, Criminal Justice, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Development and Welfare