Criminal Justice Research Grant Fund

Supporting quality research into the Western Australian criminal justice system.
Last updated: 31 May 2023

The Western Australian Office of Crime Statistics and Research (WACSAR) is responsible for administering an annual grant program to fund research that makes a practical contribution to improving the effectiveness of the criminal justice system in Western Australia.

The 2023 WACSAR Criminal Justice Research Grant Fund invites applications on three research topics based on the Department’s business area needs.

Call for Research

A validation study for the Functional Impairment Screening Tool (FIST)

Corrective Services Health Services has developed a Functional Impairment Screening Tool (FIST) to aid in the identification and documentation of the challenges and needs of people in the Department's care. Health Services is now seeking a validation study to validate FIST as a reliable and clinically purposeful tool.

An evaluation of the Protection and Care Pilot

The Department of Justice is seeking research applications to conduct an evaluation of the Therapeutic Pilot Court at the Perth Children’s Court, Dandjoo Bidi-Ak (Dandjoo Bidi-Ak). An evaluation of the operation and effectiveness of Dandjoo Bidi-Ak is required to assess the achievement of its stated aims and objectives, to inform resourcing decisions and refinement of the Protection and Care therapeutic court model. The evaluation must be completed by October 2023. See below this page for further information about the Protection and Care Pilot.

A study on the reintegration needs of returning prisoners

This research project is targeted at collecting and evaluating the lived experience of people at the time of re-offending. The proposed research project will engage prisoners within four weeks of the person's return to custody/sentencing. This lived experience information will be used in conjunction with other key research and best practice approaches to inform the development and design of future reintegration programs and/or services aimed at reducing a person’s risk of recidivism.

Grant round is now closed.


Applicants are invited to apply for funding up to $300,000 to fund a research project over 12 to 24 months. Note that this is the total amount to be distributed across all successful grant projects.

The Targeted Call for Research is a request for applicants to complete a specific research project. The lead researcher is required to be from a Western Australian institution or organisation.

Assessment Criteria

Responses to this Targeted Call for Research will be assessed against the criteria below. The assessment process will consider the level of risk associated with the project and the risk management approach identified by the applicant when assessing each of the criteria.

WACSAR will complete the initial assessment stage and score all applications against the criteria. The applications will be ranked and in consultation with the relevant Business Area(s), a shortlist of 10 applications will be recommended to progress to the next assessment stage. 

Successful applications will be selected from the shortlist by the Executive Committee of the WACSAR Advisory Board. The Executive Committee comprises the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia, the Commissioner for Western Australian Police, the Deputy Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology and is chaired by the Director General of the Department of Justice.

The Executive Committee will convene in April 2023.

All applications will be assessed against the following criteria:

Selection Criteria Percentage
Practical application and contribution to improved outcomes for Western Australians in contact with the criminal justice system 15
Cultural safety for Aboriginal Western Australians 10
Impact on Aboriginal Western Australians 10
The likelihood of the proposed research making a substantial and novel contribution to criminological knowledge and practice 10
The cost-effectiveness and feasibility of the research 10
Soundness of the design and methodology 15
The competence and availability of the applicant(s), principal investigator(s), or supervisor(s) to undertake or oversee the proposed research 15
Availability of data 10
Level of additional in-kind contributions from partner agencies or organisations 5

Upon acceptance of a grant offer, the original application form will be forwarded to the Research Applications and Advisory Committee (RAAC) for business area review.

Apply online

All applications must be submitted online through SmartyGrants. To apply, select 'Apply Now' and follow the instructions to create an account and begin a submission.



Targeted Call for Research – Protection and Care Pilot

The Department of Justice is seeking expressions of interest to conduct an evaluation of the Therapeutic Pilot Court at the Perth Children’s Court, Dandjoo Bidi-Ak (Dandjoo Bidi-Ak).


Dandjoo Bidi-Ak commenced in July 2020 as a pilot and is a therapeutic approach for protection and care matters in the Perth Children’s Court. Between 2010 and 2019, the number of children entering care increased by 61 per cent (3,334 to 5,379). Aboriginal children also overtook non-Aboriginal children as more likely to be taken into care. Dandjoo Bidi-Ak was developed to address the issue of the increasing number of children entering care, especially out-of-home care.

Dandjoo Bidi-Ak in Noongar language means “together on a path” and aims to help young parents aged between 14-25 years of age to address protection and care concerns and achieve reunification with their children. Dandjoo Bidi-Ak utilises principles of mediation, therapeutic jurisprudence and procedural fairness.

The Dandjoo Bidi-Ak Pilot aims, goals and objectives are outlined below:

Overarching goal

To improve social outcomes for both children and their families by achieving safe and sustainable family reunification of parents and their children.


  • To support parents to keep children in their care.
  • To support parents to reunify with their children.
  • To support parents to maintain and strengthen their relationship with their children.


  • To increase parents’ participation in the court process.
  • To ensure the parents are afforded procedural justice.
  • To remove the trauma and stigma from protection and care proceedings.
  • The early identification of issues.
  • To improve the relationship between the case manager and family.
  • To empower parents during the court process to tell their story and tor provide solutions..
  • To assist families to access services.
  • To provide a clear pathway forward, providing next steps, solutions and accountability.

Dandjoo Bidi-Ak involves a separate list of cases in the Perth Children's Court with a focus on Aboriginal families. It aims to address the issues that cause families to come before the court in a holistic, therapeutic and culturally informed manner. It is an integrated model that allows families, government departments, representatives from the Aboriginal community and community-based agencies to attend court together to work towards the best outcome for the child.

Call for Research

An evaluation of the operation and effectiveness of Dandjoo Bidi-Ak is required to assess the achievement of its stated aims and objectives, to inform resourcing decisions and refinements of the Protection and Care therapeutic court model.

Engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Dandjoo Bidi-Ak operates under a presumption of Aboriginality due to the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (hereinafter, Aboriginal) children in care and protection proceedings. In light of this presumption, respondents will need to demonstrate how they will prioritise the right of Aboriginal peoples to be heard by placing Indigenous “people, perspectives, priorities and knowledges” at the centre of each stage of the evaluation planning and implementation process. In line with the National Agreement on Closing the Gap (2020), target 12 of which relates to reducing the over-representation of Indigenous children in care, Aboriginal peoples must be engaged “fully and transparently” in the evaluation.

The final evaluation report must be completed by the end of October 2023.