Australia is becoming increasingly diverse. The multicultural composition of the criminal justice system is also changing, which has ramifications for forensic practice. Culture can shape an individual’s worldview, norms, motivations, beliefs, expected behaviours and practices. It can also influence health-seeking behaviours, treatment considerations and how individuals interact with clinical/correctional service providers. It is therefore critical that we ensure that our professional methods are culturally fair, relevant and non-discriminatory at the intersection of psychology and law.  

Our research in this area focuses on: 

  • the cross-cultural applicability of assessment approaches 
  • identifying the needs of justice-involved multicultural clients 
  • best practices for working effectively with multicultural clients in psycho-legal scenarios. 

Researchers in this area have affiliations with key multicultural researchers from other research institutions around Australia and internationally, as well as strong partnerships with community organisations including Mahana Culture and Afri-Aus Care. 

Current and recent projects 

  • Advancing cross-cultural approaches to violence risk assessment 
  • The mental health of culturally and linguistically diverse offenders 
  • The needs of African-Australian young people who are justice-involved 
  • The consideration of culture in pre-sentence reports 
  • Culturally fair clinical assessment  
  • Evaluation of the Boon-Gim Ngaga (Deep Understanding) social and emotional wellbeing assessment package in Thomas Embling Hospital 
  • Exploring the perceptions of wellbeing and workplace adversity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corrections employees 
  • The social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people involved with the criminal justice system 

Research stream leaders 

Recent publications 

Shepherd, S. M., & Spivak, B., Ashford, L. J., Williams, I., Trounson, J., & Paradies, Y., (2020). Closing the (incarceration) gap: Assessing the socio-economic and clinical indicators of Indigenous males by lifetime incarceration status. BMC Public Health (In Press).  

Rose, A., Shepherd, S. M., & Ogloff, J. R. P. (2020). The Mental Health of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Offenders – What do we know? Australasian Psychiatry (In Press) 

Rose, A., Shepherd, S. M., Trounson, J., Connor, J., Skues, J., Daffern, M., Pfeifer, J. E., & Ogloff, J. R. P. (2019). Psychological Wellbeing, Distress and Coping Differences in Indigenous and Multicultural Prisoners in Australia – A mixed methods analysis. Psychology, Psychiatry, & Law. DOI: DOI: 10.1080/13218719.2019.1642259 

Trounson, J. S., Gibbs, J., Kostrz, K., McDonald, R. & Peters, A. (2020). A protocol for a systematic literature review: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement with disability services. Journal of Australian Indigenous Issues. 

Black, N. & Trounson, J.S. (2019). Intersectionality in incarceration: the need for an intersectional approach toward Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in the Australian prison system. Journal of Australian Indigenous Issues, 22, 45-59. 

Trounson, J. S., Peters, A., Munro-Harrison, E. (2019). Evaluation of a culturally safe education support program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men in prison. Journal of Australian Indigenous Issues, 21(4), 9-30. 

Shepherd, S. M., & Lewis-Fernandez, R. (2016). Forensic Risk Assessment and Cultural Diversity – Contemporary Challenges and Future Directions. Psychology, Public Policy, & Law, 22(4), 427-438. DOI: 10.1037/law0000102 

Munro-Harrison, E., Trounson, J. S., & Ironfield, N. (2016). A culturally safe education engagement model for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Men in prison. Aboriginal & Islander Health Worker Journal, 40, 34-35. 

Explore our other research programs

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