High quality research and evidence based approaches and practices shape services and enhance outcomes in the justice sector.
Before conducting research that involves access to the Department’s data, facilities, staff, and/or clients, you must submit an application to the Research Applications and Advisory Committee (RAAC) and receive approval from the Department.
The information available on this page will help you to prepare your application.
Moratorium on prison-based research applicationsShow more
The Department recognises that high quality prison-based research helps us provide better services for the people of Western Australia (WA), including innovative technology, solutions to address growth trends such as the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the justice system, interventions in family violence, the rehabilitation of young offenders, and many more.
However, in view of the current COVID-19 pandemic and the concurrent undertaking of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout for prisoners and staff across the WA Custodial Estate, please be advised that from 1 September 2021 prison-based research applications will not be considered by the Research Application Advisory Committee (RAAC) for an initial period of six months. This will allow the Department to prioritise its COVID-19 vaccination program throughout the custodial estate.
Should the Department be required to extend the moratorium past the initial six month duration, a further notice will be provided accordingly.
Research Application and Advisory Committee (RAAC)Show more
The role of the RAAC is to consider student and researcher requests to ensure they meet the following requirements:
- a high level of ethical integrity
- proposed projects are of high methodological quality
- where applicable, there is consistency of approach across proposed research projects
- proposed projects will not impact on the safety and security of Departmental personnel and infrastructure
- proposed projects comply with relevant laws and public sector standards; and
- proposed projects do not place an unacceptable resource imposition on business areas and they are relevant to the Department’s strategic priorities.
As the Department is the main point of access to courts, prisons and victim services, it is asked to support many research projects. However, the capacity to do so is limited. Moreover, the Department has a duty of care towards its clients, which includes the protection from projects which might cause harm, on-going stress or inconvenience, or do not sufficiently contribute to knowledge about issues relevant to the Department. For these reasons, the RAAC may restrict research access.
Research priorities 2020-2022Show more
The Department of Justice is committed to building its policies and service delivery on good practice and evidence-informed foundations. It is the Department’s intention to promote, encourage and support research that underpins effective and efficient strategic planning, policy development, resourcing, and service delivery.
To be approved, therefore, research projects must:
- advance knowledge in the various court, corrections and other service delivery and policy areas of the Department of Justice
- contribute to the advancement of knowledge about the operation and impact of the justice system.
Each year the Department identifies its research priorities and encourages research applications that focus on these areas. Particularly high quality applications that fall outside these areas will still be considered.
The 2020-22 Research Priorities are focused on four thematic areas of inquiry. Each theme includes a number of priority topics that will be reviewed after twelve months to ensure currency.
Theme 1: Understanding justice cohorts
- Interrelationships: mental health, substance abuse, homelessness, and crime
- Aboriginal women and the criminal justice system
- Co-occurring offending patterns
- Pathways to imprisonment
Theme 2: What works in crime reduction and offender rehabilitation
- Criminal justice responses to family violence
- Community corrections vs custody
- Therapeutic jurisprudence
- Victim offender mediation and the role of restorative justice
Theme 3: Systemic Reform and Innovation
- Access to justice services (civil and criminal)
- Remote and regional service delivery
- Flexible intervention delivery modes
- Information sharing.
Theme 4: Reducing Aboriginal over-representation in the criminal justice system
- Reducing Aboriginal imprisonment
- Reducing short term remand
- Culturally informed responses to offending
- Aboriginal people as victims in the justice system
- Practical barriers to accessing justice (translators)
- Youth diversion.
Step 1Show more
It is recommended that applicants contact the RAAC via RAAC@justice.wa.gov.au to express their interest in undertaking a research project prior to submitting a research proposal. RAAC meetings are held monthly. The RAAC will be able to provide advice regarding the timing of applications and appropriate application forms to be completed.
All research projects should comply with the rules and safety and security practices of Department premises, including courts and prisons. A significant proportion of the Department’s day-to-day business activities are strictly regulated by legislation. Research cannot be supported outside these rules.
Researchers who would like to visit corrections facilities are encouraged to read the Visiting Prisons page on the Department’s website.
Step 2Show more
Researchers will then be requested to submit a full application using the below Application Form and attach all supporting documentation:
Researchers must address the following criteria:
- alignment with the Department’s research priorities
- an estimate of the required Departmental resources – access to clients, staff, data etc
- benefits of the research to the Department, clients and the community
- brief summary of the research including background, aims, methodology
- details of ethics approval (note that an application can be submitted prior to ethics approval being granted, however, research cannot commence until a copy of ethics approval has been provided to the RAAC)
- type of publication intended
- proposed commencement and completion dates for the project.
The research application should contain a detailed rationale for the project. It should include information about the selection and size of the sample, the practical implementation, participant consent forms, data protection etc. Researchers should include copies of any information sheets, consent forms, surveys and interview schedules with the research application.
Note that the Department does not support the offering of incentives or rewards to any individuals as inducement to participate in a research study. It may be acceptable for researchers to reimburse participants for the associated costs incurred with participating in the research (eg travel costs).
Email the Application Form, together with any supporting documents to RAAC@justice.wa.gov.au.
The research application will then be considered by the RAAC and its members, as well as the relevant business areas. Once a decision has been made by the RAAC, the recommended outcome for the research application will be forwarded to the Director General for consideration and final approval. After this process is complete, researchers will be informed in writing of the outcome of their application.
Step 3Show more
When a research application is approved by the Department, a staff member will be allocated as the contact person for the researcher. In addition, researchers involved in all successful research applications will be required to attend a start-up meeting with the relevant business area and a representative from the RAAC.
At the start up meeting, the RAAC and the business area contact will:
- provide support and guidance to researchers to ensure compliance with the Department’s policies, procedures and guidelines
- discuss any conditions of approval
- finalise required documentation before commencement of the research
- organise site visits (if applicable) subject to agreement by:
- the Executive Director Court and Tribunal Services and by arrangement with the Executive Manager or Manager Court and Tribunal Services; and/or
- the Superintendent of a prison and/or Manager or Director of any other building/facility.
- outline the requirement to provide status updates every 6 months or as advised by the RAAC.
Code of conduct
It is a Departmental requirement that researchers agree to the conditions specified in the RAAC Code of Conduct and prior to commencing their research:
The Code of Conduct states that researchers having direct access to Departmental clients, facilities or client data may be required to provide a criminal history report and, if applicable, a Working With Children clearance, at the researcher’s expense.
The Code of Conduct also requires that the Department reviews any outputs prior to distribution, such as the submission of research reports, theses, dissertations, manuscripts, conference presentations, journal publications, press releases and internet postings. RAAC requires a copy of the output at least four weeks prior to its intended distribution/public release.
Researchers who do not comply with the Code of Conduct may jeopardise the success of future applications from that particular research institution.
Once a research application has been approved, the RAAC Code of Conduct should be signed and emailed to RAAC@justice.wa.gov.au
Step 4Show more
Researchers are required to obtain approval from the Department before any research findings are distributed. Distribution is considered to be the provision of research beyond those persons listed as a researcher on the Declaration page of the Code of Conduct.
Email research outputs to RAAC@justice.wa.gov.au at least 20 working days prior to any proposed distribution.