Criminology

Our growing Criminology list takes a critical stance and features boundary-pushing work with innovative, research-led publications.  

A particular focus of the list are books that engage with our global social challenges, both on a local and international level. We aim to publish books in a wide range of formats that will have real impact and shape public discourse. 

Criminology

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Few criminological studies have specifically set out to research responses to domestic abuse in rural communities. A small number of recent studies have arrived at the problem from a health and/or social geography perspective lending weight to the increasingly apparent significance of space and culture in rural domestic abuse. This article contributes to this research agenda, focusing on the ways in which police and other agencies respond to domestic abuse within the spatial context of rural England and victim-survivors’ experiences of such responses. The article outlines empirical work with a police partner based in the North of England. The study involved a case file analysis of police data and interviews with police officers, partner agency representatives and victim-survivors. We discuss the ways in which apparent heightened gendered conservatism and the ‘cloak of silence’ leads to difficulties in the identification of domestic abuse in rural communities and argue the importance of engaging in holistic and multi-agency approaches when responding to domestic abuse in remote and inaccessible rural communities.

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Author: Lucy Trafford

This article investigates the police response to intimate partner violence (IPV) during the first lockdown in England (23 March–30 June 2020), a time when more people were confined to their homes and rates of IPV increased globally (). Having gained access to data for domestic abuse-flagged incidents from a south-eastern police force, this research compares quantitative data for 6808 incidents during the first lockdown in England with 6408 incidents during the equivalent 2019 timeframe. Quantitative analysis was conducted by comparing descriptive statistics and chi-squared testing.

This study finds that age distribution changed for victims and suspects, with IPV decreasing among younger age groups and increasing within older age categories. Shifts occurred in the categorisation of IPV crimes with an increase in crimes that can be committed remotely, most notably stalking and malicious communications. Additionally, the risk level differed for IPV incidents, with a reduction in incidents recorded as medium- and high-risk. Whereas, standard-risk incidents rose substantially, causing a change in the distribution of risk levels across reported incidents. This shift was reflected in fewer arrests, except among higher-risk incidents which maintained higher arrest rates. Official outcomes similarly decreased, with fewer court disposals and more simple cautions.

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Author: Anna Sergi

There is a time in every child’s life that remains suspended. In what seems like an eternal present tense, memories and dreams and nightmares all mix up, for a future self to store and reorganize. I have a strange memory that comes back to me when thinking of that suspended childhood time. It’s strange in the sense that I was unable to place it in time and space for a very long time, yet it’s extremely vivid, like a feeling crawling under the skin. It’s late afternoon. We are in Dad’s car. I am sitting on the back seat, wearing light clothes, must be warm outside. I am five or six or seven years old, I cannot be sure, around that age. I have my hair in a sort of bob cut, which I used to have at that age. I remember a light blue t-shirt but that I think it’s not really part of that memory, I’m not sure why. I cannot recall whether my sister and my mum are also with us; odd, isn’t it? I am very tired, I do remember that, almost snoozing. Drive, Dad, drive. Where to? By the time we arrive, it’s dark, it must be very late. Lots of lights from cars around us, while we stop in a little square; there is a fountain, so typical of the villages of Calabria. Fresh water always streaming down to God knows where. People outside, I see from the car windows, are agitated; I still feel quite confused, maybe I had fallen asleep just before. I hear my father’s voice.

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Author: Anna Sergi

What a city, Adelaide. ‘The city’s asleep and the church is bare’, someone said to me once about Adelaide. I never quite knew where this quote came from; I did Google it and couldn’t find it! A fitting description, the warmth, the sleep in between churches, Adelaide.

‘What kind of Italian are you?’

What do you read in this sentence? Probably nothing, really. The meaning, as is often the case, is given by the context, and by the sender. This was a message I received in my inbox in July 2019 – I was in Montreal. I ignored it.

‘You must be the cop-lover traitor kind of type.’

A follow-up message, same person, in December 2019, months later. Why? Why would someone you don’t know send you unsolicited messages like this one? Someone you know only by their family’s surname; someone that you know that they know who you are and what you do for a living. I guess to some people these messages could sound provocative or just like a nuisance. For me, they were about recognition. He knows that I know who he is and he counts on that when sending a few words that are not just provocative, they carry a pinch of intimidation. This was the second time I got unwanted attention and ‘friendly’ warnings from someone allegedly close to ‘ndrangheta clans. Of all places, in Adelaide, a city where nothing much seems to happen. The first time I had this unpleasant experience, it was my first time in Adelaide. I couldn’t really believe then that someone would tell me to ‘start doing something else’ and that my surname ‘attracted attention, you know?’ and ‘What? You think they don’t know you are poking your nose into their affairs?’ I couldn’t really believe that was happening to me, I didn’t really know anything about anyone, I had just started my research! Ah, how the optics of what you seem to do and know count more than what you actually do and know!

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‘Ndrangheta, Memories and Journeys
Author: Anna Sergi

The ‘ndrangheta – the Calabrian region of Italy’s mafia – is one of wealthiest and most powerful criminal organisations today. It is considered Italy’s most powerful mafia; it’s not only the main object of concern for anti-mafia units in Italy, but also joint investigative teams in Europe and beyond.

Combining autobiography, travel ethnography, memoir, academic rigour and investigative journalism, this book provides a global outlook to the ‘ndrangheta, taking the reader to small villages and locations in Italy and abroad to Australia, Canada, United States and even Argentina.

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Author: Anna Sergi

Nonna, do you like my bubbles? Always with these bubbles! Be careful, don’t throw the soap on the floor! I can almost see her, bella mia. I can still see how her face would contort when singing that song about the Madonna, full of pietas, full of pain and hope. She was a modest woman, my grandmother, never showing too much emotion. But her last time in Polsi, she remembered, she was singing, she was feeling it all deep down. She did cry. And every time since, this song gave her some tears.

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Author: Anna Sergi

There are songs that brand entire experiences or entire periods of your life. For me, in Sydney, that song was ‘From St Kilda to Kings Cross’, by Australian songwriter Paul Kelly. One of those songs everyone seems to know in Australia. And the lyrics I can still recollect: ‘From St Kilda to Kings Cross is thirteen hours on a bus | I pressed my face against the glass And watched the white lines rushing past | And all around me felt like all inside me | And my body left me and my soul went running.’ This is the song I listened to the first time I went there. And at the moment when I realized that Sydney never quite conquered my heart. Unlike Paul Kelly, the first time I went to Sydney, it was by train and not by bus, from Canberra. It was October 2015 and I had been in Canberra for a week or so. A ‘week or so’ in Canberra equals three months. I don’t get that city. Large avenues, few cars, many shopping malls, the smallest city centre ever, hidden in between malls, no one around, everyone inside massive buildings, shops, houses. Is this how Australia is run? For three days I couldn’t even find a proper restaurant because I was living in the southern part of the city, far away from what they call the Civic Centre. You cannot properly walk in Canberra; the roads are meant for cars. It is all large white buildings immersed in their own green lawns.

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Author: Anna Sergi

It did hit me one day – but I instantly forgot about it – that I did know what mafia meant. What it was. Do you know that feeling you get when you have been around ugliness for so long that it appears almost beautiful at some point? Or the feeling you get when you realize you have been underwater long enough that drowning feels like breathing hard and you could barely tell the difference? That awareness. I wish I could remember the first time that I heard the word ‘mafia’. I would probably be able to shake off the feeling I had been born around it, in it, in close proximity to it. In some way breathing ugliness, I guess, and turning it into some twisted form of normalized beauty. Because a child needs to believe in beauty. I certainly did. I do remember, and I do see today, the beauty of where I grew up. Calabria is stunning, I always say to anyone who asks or who has never been. But is that true? Is that always true? Has it always been true? I had to open my eyes eventually and see what was what. And – spoiler alert – no, it wasn’t, it isn’t always true. Not always beautiful. And yet, one can create some sort of relationship with what is ugly. I wish I could remember the first time I realized that ‘ndrangheta meant mafia and that the two words were interchangeable. I don’t remember anyone explaining any of this to me, but surely my father played a role in my child-self learning about those difficult things.

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Author: Anna Sergi

What do you do when you see spiders? Do you kill them straight away or do you capture them and take them outside? In the frame of the sumptuous Marconi Club in Sydney, Lillo Foti and Vince Foti had dinner in April 2015 to celebrate the partnership between the Marconi Stallions and the Reggina Calcio, two football teams recognizing their connection to Reggio Calabria, Italy, and soccer pride. The two Foti are not related. Vince is the president of the Marconi Club and a successful businessman in Sydney, owner of a firecracker industry. Lillo (Pasquale) has at times been the president of the Reggina Calcio in Reggio Calabria and is an entrepreneur in the fashion industry. Among Lillo Foti’s merits is the promotion of the Reggina team to the Italian Premier League (Serie A) for the first time in the history of the club. Lillo Foti, reported the newspapers, spent over a week in Australia on that occasion, in April 2015. He spent time in negotiations and formal or informal meetings with entrepreneurs of Italian origin in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra; some of them were interested in investing in the football club in Calabria and in formalizing some sort of stable contact with the region that, from Australia, is at times difficult to maintain. Six Australian businessmen were interested in the deal promoted by Nick Scali – that Nick Scali of Scali furniture we have met in previous chapters, from San Martino of Taurianova, province of Reggio Calabria. The partnership between Reggina Calcio and Marconi Stallions is the first step.

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Author: Anna Sergi

‘Are you going to go there just to see a church?’

‘I have to start somewhere, that’s one of the addresses in the arrest warrant at the very least!’

A friend of mine in Toronto was genuinely questioning the rationale of that trip. But … I have to see the places, I need to see the spaces.

It was April 2017 and I was staying in Toronto. It took me pretty much two hours to travel to the site of the church on public transport; I hadn’t rented a car. I wish I had. I wouldn’t have had parking issues anyway, as in front of the St Clare of Assisi Catholic Church, on 150 St Francis Avenue, in Woodbridge, a large suburban community in the city of Vaughan, just north of Toronto, there is no scarcity of parking space. It was windy, just a few days earlier it had snowed in Montreal, and Toronto was ice cold, or at least it was for me, in April … one should feel spring, right? Right. Anyway, I had bought a new pair of snow boots, insulated and furry inside, so I was ready to face what to me was definitely still winter.

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