Associate Professor Crofts is an international expert on criminal law, models of culpability and the legal regulation of the sex industry. Her research is cross-disciplinary, drawing upon a range of historical, philosophical, empirical and literary materials to enrich her analysis of the law. Her research is in the area of socio-legal studies coalescing around issues of justice in criminal law in practice and theory makes a distinctive contribution to critical evaluations of criminal legal models of culpability and enforcement. Many of her recommendations for the legal regulation of brothels have informed Parliamentary debates, influenced council planning policies and shaped proposed law reforms. Her analysis of criminal legal models of wickedness has contributed to a jurisprudence of blameworthiness.
Associate Professor Crofts’ socio-legal scholarship reflects her on-going commitment to the analysis of the impacts of criminal law and the development of pragmatic strategies for reform framed by sophisticated theoretical analysis. Her research is a call to responsibility – to the legal system, law-makers, legal academics, and the general community – to be more aware and critical of the models of culpability held out and enforced by criminal law.
Can supervise: YES
Legal construction of wickedness
- Current research project: Models of culpability in the Royal Commission of Institutional Responses to Child Abuse (2015-2016)
Legal and cultural constructions of culpability
- Current research project: Law and Horror: models of culpability and responsibility (2014-2015)
- Current research collaboration: NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Regulation of Illegal Dumping; J. Prior Institute of Sustainable Futures, NSW EPA (2014-2015)
- Criminal Law
- Regulation of the Sex Industry
Crofts, P 2017, Criminal Law Elements, 6, LexisNexis, Australia.
Crofts, P, Crofts, T, Gray, S, Kirchengast, T, Naylor, B & Tudor, S 2016, Waller and Williams Criminal Law Text and Cases, 13, LexisNexis, Australia.
Malice of Law examines how criminal legal doctrine and jurisprudence organises and expresses ideas about wickedness through the prism of malice. Whilst many legal theorists accept that the criminal legal system is a system of blaming, they do not consider that blaming involves censure or reproof for fault, wrong, badness or wickedness. Historically, the link between criminal law and morality was explicit, and expressed through evaluative terms in offence formulae such as malice and mens rea. Now, however, there is a tendency to think of crime in neutral procedural terms and to avoid reference to its normative elements. Through an analysis, which is both historical and contemporary, Penny Crofts reverses this modern tendency by addressing how the legal system communicates what it means to be at fault - to be bad, or to be wicked. Despite claims to the contrary, criminal law communicates and sanctions particular models of wickedness. Arguing that the current dominant idea of wickedness communicated in criminal law lacks nuance and fails to explain much of what the legal system does, Malice of Law examines its implications in terms of the legal subject, social responsibility and the jurisdiction of the legal system.
Crofts, P 2011, Criminal Law Elements, Fourth, Lexis Nexis Butterworths, Sydney.
Criminal law text book.
Fatal police shootings in the United States have generated much media and academic comment. These shootings fit within the historical common law category of homicides under compulsion and in practice rarely result in prosecutions and even less convictions. This article considers the laws of compulsion through the prism of early common law and slayings for survival in the horror series The Walking Dead. Contemporary accounts of justifiable homicide sustain early common law attempts to balance the need for authorized force to enforce the law against the protection of citizens from arbitrary force. Contemporary law focuses on whether or not the decision to use force was reasonable, but The Walking Dead depicts the narrowness of this question of culpability. The moral difference in slayings is not only whether a law enforcement officer’s decision to use force was reasonable, but whether or not the slayer desired to kill and was acting for a public or personal purpose. The Walking Dead also raises questions about the aspirations of the contemporary justice system. It portrays the medieval conception that the slayer and the community in which they live would be tainted by a homicide – whether excused or felonious. In medieval times, the process of justice was relied upon to remove the taint of a slaying from the community. The Walking Dead represents the thinness of contemporary accounts of compulsion and acts out early common law conceptions of malice.
Aroney, E & Crofts, P 2019, 'How Sex Worker Activism Influenced the Decriminalisation of Sex Work in NSW, Australia', International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 50-67.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
In 2015, Amnesty International joined over 200 sex worker organisations in the call for nations to decriminalise sex work. Despite this, only two jurisdictions in the world, New Zealand and New South Wales (NSW; Australia), have adopted this approach. This article examines the role that sex worker activists played in sex work law reform in NSW through their representative organisation, the Australian Prostitutes Collective (APC). The APC produced and submitted groundbreaking research to the Select Committee of the NSW Legislative Assembly on Prostitution (1983–1986) whose recommendations laid the foundation for the decriminalisation of sex work in NSW. This article contributes to a developing history of the contribution of sex worker activism to law reform. It explores why it is so important that sex worker voices are included in the process of reform, and how meaningful consultation with sex workers helped shape and invoke a radical policy and legal transformation.
This paper explores inhuman/human constructions that feature in state responses to refugees. We move beyond straightforward normative claims that dehumanizing or demonizing refugees is unfair, unjust or bad to ask: what kind of inhuman monsters are refugees characterized as when they are ‘demonised’; and, what are the consequences of such a characterization? Our argument is that reading the demonised refugee as the contemporary zombie monster and inversely, reading the resurgence of the zombie monster through the prism of the so-called refugee and migrant crisis, reveals the precise anxieties brought about by refugees and asylum seekers. In particular, we claim that both figures represent the transgression of borders, as well as the failure of containment, borders and border walls as a response to crisis. We also argue that the contemporary zombie, as a race-less catchall monster figure, mirrors the erasure of colonial histories, race and race relations in the casting of refugees as dehistoricized, invading and disorderly bodies. We analyse these themes through the 2013 blockbuster film World War Z (dir. Marc Foster). In the film, the United Nations, US Navy, World Health Organisation, and Gerry Lane (a former UN employee) combine to fight a global zombie war.
Crofts, P 2018, 'Monsters and Horror in the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse', Law and Literature, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 123-148.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This article analyses how the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Reponses to Child Sexual Abuse negotiates the figure of the pedophile as monster through the horror genre. It analyses the resonance of the category of pedophiles as monsters or monstrous and the ways in which this impacted upon witnesses’ responses to sex offenders, based on assumptions that monsters are outsiders or strangers who are instantly recognizable. I go on to explore the claim that one of the main effects of regarding sex offenders as monsters is that these offenders are construed as having extraordinary powers so that ordinary measures to stop them would be ineffective – accordingly, this reading underplays the significance of institutional responsibility. I conclude that although the Royal Commission consistently undermines and rejects the idea of sex offenders as monsters, a horror reading is still appropriate and insightful. The true “horror” of the Royal Commission is aroused not by the figurative monsters but by the institutions themselves, and their failures.
Anthony, T & Crofts, P 2017, 'Special Edition: Limits and Prospects of Criminal Law Reform – Past, Present, Future', International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 1-7.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This special issue traces multifaceted readings of criminal law reform in the context of developments in Australia, North America and Europe. It addresses a range of criminal law legislative regimes, frameworks and issues confronting criminal law reform including as they relate to family violence, organisational liability for child sexual abuse, drug‐driving and Indigenous under‐representation on juries. In doing so, the articles variously assess the impacts of past criminal law reforms, current processes of reform, areas in need of future reform and the limitations of reform. It poses a number of challenges: Who does law reform serve? What principles should guide the work of criminal justice reform? What is the role and responsibility of universities in law reform? Who are the natural allies of academics in agitating for reform? Is reform of criminal law enough for progressive social change? Do public inquiries and law reform assist with progressive change or do they have the potential to undermine the struggle for more humane and equitable social responses?
The term criminal ‘law reform’ is a broad one that encompasses any government legislation, policy or measure, and the articles in this issue reflect such breadth. However, the analysis in this Introduction to the special issue—responding to some of the for bearing questions—is concerned with the potential for law reform as an antidote to the myopic politics of social control. The use of the term ‘law reform bodies’ denotes a government agency dedicated to the considered and balanced appraisal of policy and operates relatively insulated from populist politics. Law
reformers more broadly—including academics, community legal centres and other non‐government organisations—have the potential to counterbalance the impetus for politicians to pursue knee‐jerk policy. These bodies provide a voice of dissent, including in the public arena and through the processes of petitioning, ministerial lobbying and activism.
Crofts, P 2017, 'Criminalising institutional failures to prevent, identify or react to child sexual abuse', International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, vol. 6, no. 3.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Although there is increasing academic recognition of corporations as criminogenic, the criminal legal system has demonstrated difficulties in conceptualising corporate culpability. The current Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse provides ample evidence of why organisations can and should be criminalised for systemic failures. I demonstrate that the emphasis upon individualistic subjective culpability by the criminal legal system does not adequately encapsulate the institutional failings detailed before the Royal Commission. Whilst mandatory reporting offences are important, these offences do not adequately respond to the kinds of organisational failings identified by the Royal Commission. I argue in favour of developing a new institutional offence constructed upon realist concepts of negligence and/or corporate culture that recognises that organisations are capable of wrongdoing and sufficiently blameworthy to justify the imposition of criminal sanctions. I conclude by arguing that the expressive role of criminal law justifies and requires the criminalisation of this kind of organisational wrongdoing.
Crofts, P 2017, 'Making the Modern Criminal Law: Criminalization and Civil Order by Lindsay Farmer, Oxford University Press, 2016, 340pp', Current Issues in Criminal Justice -Sydney-, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 99-102.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The current Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child
Sexual Abuse has demonstrated serious long-term failures to prevent
and adequately respond to child sexual abuse by institutions. Rather
than regarding the law as a system of responsibility, this article argues
that it can be read instead as organising irresponsibility, drawing
upon Scott Veitch’s ideas in Law and Irresponsibility. His key argument
is that legal institutions operate as much to deflect responsibility
for harms suffered as to acknowledge them. This article focuses on the
ways in which the criminal justice system is complicit in organising
irresponsibility for systemic failures through an analysis of the Royal
Commission Case Study No 6: The responses of a primary school and
the Toowoomba Catholic Education Office to the Conduct of Gerald
Byrnes. Through concrete examples, this article analyses the ways in
which criminal law organises irresponsibility through the individuation
of responsibility and the emphasis upon subjective culpability.
These practices ensure irresponsibility for actors for systemic failures.
Crofts, P & Prior, J 2016, 'Shooting up illicit drugs with God and the State: the legal–spatial constitution of Sydney’s Medically Supervised Injecting Centre as a sanctuary', Geographical Research, vol. 54, no. 3, pp. 313-323.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
In 1999, the Uniting Church opened aMedically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) at the Wayside Chapel in the inner Sydney suburb of Kings Cross. The Uniting Church justified this overt act of civil disobedience against the State’s prohibitionist model of drug usage by invoking the ancient right of sanctuary. This invocation sought to produce a specific sort of spatialisation wherein the meaning of the line constituting sanctuary effects a protected ‘inside’ governed by God’s word – civitas dei – ‘outside’ the jurisdiction of state power in civitas terrena. Sanctuary claims a territory exempt from other jurisdictions. The modern assertion of sanctuary enacts in physical space the relationship between state and religious authorities and the integration and intersections of civitas terrena and civitas dei. This article draws upon conceptions of sanctuary at the intersection of the Catholic Christianity tradition and the State since medieval times to analyse the contemporary space of sanctuary in the MSIC, exploring the shifting and ambiguous boundaries in material, legislative, and symbolic spaces. We argue that even though the MSIC has now been incorporated into civitas terrena, it remains and enacts a space of sanctuary.
Crofts, P & Prior, J 2016, 'The Proposed Re-introduction of Policing and Crime into the Regulation of Brothels in New South Wales', Current Issues in Criminal Justice, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 209-226.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The use of criminal law as a means to prevent harms to the environment is increasingly common. Despite this, environmental offences tend to be seen as not ‘real’ crimes. Research has consistently demonstrated low rates of identification of perpetrators of illegal dumping, low prosecutions and low penalties. Through a close reading of Bankstown v Hanna (2014) this paper analyses not only the criminalisation of illegal dumping by the state through legislation, but the process through which illegal dumping becomes regarded as sufficiently culpable to
justify criminal sanctions, that is, that it is a ‘real’ crime. This paper analyses the process of substantive criminalisation in terms of the formal labelling of illegal dumping as criminal, the imposition of criminal penalties, and a normative account of illegal dumping as sufficiently blameworthy to justify the imposition of criminal penalties. Although the state has formally labelled illegal dumping criminal, this is undermined by the laws, regulation, procedures and enforcement of offences which are a mix of civil and criminal procedures. The history of cases
against Hanna reveals a process of shifting from civil to increasingly serious criminal penalties, communicating not only to the general public but also regulators, courts and the wrongfulness of his behaviour. Hanna (2014) asserts a substantive normative account of illegal dumping as blameworthy, drawing upon narratives of harmful consequences and subjective culpability to emphasise the criminality of Hanna’s actions. These narratives draw upon and are informed by principle that the criminal law should only be used to censure people for substantial wrongdoing. This process has accomplished the substantive criminalisation of illegal dumping, such that legal and non-legal actors now perceive this type of behaviour as sufficiently blameworthy as to justify the application of the serious criminal sanction of imprisonment in response to serious offending.
Crofts, P 2015, 'Monstrous bodily excess in The Exorcist as a supplement to law's accounts of culpability', Griffith Law Review, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 372-394.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2016 Griffith University The Exorcist is an exemplar of the classic horror film trope of possession in the 1960s–70s. In the film, Regan's gradual possession by the devil is depicted by signs of transformation. This article explores how the criminal law would categorise and respond to a case of possession. How does the criminal law conceptualise out-of-control bodies? And who (if anyone) is to blame for harm done? The film suggests that Regan's transformation takes place through an agency that lies outside Regan's will, upsetting the Cartesian assumptions that underlie both the law and mainstream culture, concerning the division between mind/body and the supremacy of the mind in its regulation of physical states. Bodies out of control are categorised at law as involuntary. The concept of voluntariness is itself transgressive of organising concepts within criminal law, including the oppositional structures of actus reus and mens rea, and offences and defences. Additionally, I highlight the ways in which voluntariness operates at the fissures of structural distinctions of criminal law, including the therapeutic and the punitive, tort and crime, and the structural separation of suffering and wickedness.
Crofts, P 2015, 'The Identic Turn: The Culpability of Accessories and Perpetrators', Law in Context, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 37-59.
The key question this article explores is why was Archer’s culpability so difficult to judge. This is more than a legal historical analysis as the questions of culpability raised in Archer’s case continue to be unresolved in contemporary common legal doctrine. This article does not resolve the doubts and queries about the historical and contemporary legal doctrine of complicity, but instead provides an explanation for them through an analysis of Archer’s case.
Prior, J & Crofts, P 2015, 'Is Your House a Brothel? Prostitution Policy, Provision of Sex Services from Home, and the Maintenance of Respectable Domesticity', Social Policy and Society, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 125-134.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Policy debates on commercial sex services provide increasingly complex insights into work on the street and in large commercial sex premises, yet remain largely silent on the contribution of the domestic realm to commercial sex, despite estimates that it accounts for a significant proportion of all commercial sex transactions. Policies that affect home-based sex work are ambiguous and at times contradictory, veering from the promotion of working from home to anxieties about the assumed offensiveness of sex work. These policies have been often developed without direct consideration of home-based sex work and in the absence of evidence. Remedying this silence, this article analyses policy development for, and the experiences of, home-based sex workers in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The article concludes that working from home provides sex workers with opportunities for autonomy and wellbeing that are not available in other sex service environments, with minimal amenity impacts to the community.
Stark, F 2014, 'Wickedness and Crime: Laws of Homicide and Malice', CAMBRIDGE LAW JOURNAL, vol. 73, no. 1, pp. 224-228.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Hamer, DA, Anthony, T, Biber, K, Crofts, P, Dennis, I, Douglas, H, Eburn, M, Edmond, G, Farrar, S, Hopkins, A, Kumar, MA, Ligertwood, A, Loughnan, A, Mitchell, T, Palmer, A, San Roque, M & Townsley, L 2014, 'Submission on Exposure Draft: Evidence Amendment (Evidence of Silence) Bill 2012', Sydney Law School Research Paper, no. 14.
Contemporary criminal law tends to regard malice through the lens of act, intention and consequence. I argue that this modern reading of malice through contemporary patterns of blameworthiness is a misreading, and loses alternative (legal) ways of organising wickedness. Historical accounts of malice can and should be regarded as a (legal) resource by which to critique and enrich modern accounts of blameworthiness. To this end, I explore the construction of malice as a cogent, resonant concept of legal wickedness by treatise writers in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. Treatise writers aimed to ensure that malice was sufficiently broad and malleable so that wickedness would not escape the law. Saunders' case was integral to the construction of malice, and it was used by treatise writers to claim and demonstrate the malleability of malice. Saunders had malice because he caused the death of a subject of the Queen, with premeditation and through the uncanny act of poisoning. The slippage across modern patterns of blameworthiness should not be regarded as a failure to settle upon a pure definition of malice, but as integral to the function of malice to persuade that wickedness would not escape the law.
Crofts, P, Prior, JH & Hubbard, P 2013, 'Policing, planning and sex: governing bodies, spatially', The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 51-69.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Analysis of intersection of planning and policing in the regulation of sex services premises in NSW. Argument that planning and policing have a complex relationship, and criminological analysis should be applied to planning powers.
Hubbard, P, Boydell, S, Crofts, P, Prior, JH & Searle, GH 2013, 'Noxious neighbours? Interrogating the impacts of sex premises in residential areas', Environment and Planning A, vol. 45, pp. 126-141.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Premises associated with commercial sexincluding brothels, striptease clubs, sex cinemas, and sex shopshave increasingly been accepted as legitimate land uses, albeit ones whose location needs to be controlled because of assumed `negative externalities. However, the planning and licensing regulations excluding such premises from areas of residential land use are often predicated on assumptions of nuisance that have not been empirically substantiated. Accordingly, this paper reports on a survey of those living close to sex industry premises in New South Wales, Australia. The results suggest that although some residents have strong moral objections to sex premises, in general residents note few negative impacts on local amenity or quality of life, with distance from a premise being a poor predictor of residents experiences of nuisance. These i ndings are considered in relation to the literatures on sexuality and space given regulation which ultimately appears to reproduce heteronormative moralities rather than respond to genuine environmental nuisances.
Plater, D & Crofts, P 2013, 'Bushrangers, the Exercise of Mercy and the ‘Last Penalty of the Law’ in New South Wales and Tasmania 1824-1856', The University of Tasmania Law Review, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 295-343.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The death penalty in the 19th century in both colonial Australia and Great Britain was widely seen as necessary for punishment and deterrence. However, the prerogative of mercy served a vital role during this period in mitigating the effects of capital punishment. This article examines the exercise of the death penalty and the prerogative of mercy in colonial Australia during the period from 1824 to the grant of responsible government in 1856 with respect to bushrangers. Bushrangers despite their often celebrated and even sympathetic status in 'popular culture' were perceived (in official and 'respectable' circles at least) as more than mere colonial criminals and as posing a particular threat to the often tenuous stability and even existence of early colonial society. However, even offenders 'beyond the pale' such as bushrangers were not exempted from the benefit of mercy. It is argued that the prerogative was taken seriously in colonial Australia by the public, the press and notably the authorities to even the worst of capital offenders such as bushrangers. Different conceptions were expressed during the time, ranging from ideas of mercy as based on desert and equity, as something that was predictable and consistent, to ideas of mercy as an undeserved gift. These debates about the prerogative of mercy articulated different conceptions of law and order, community and justice in an embryonic, self-governing society.
Prior, JH, Crofts, P & Hubbard, P 2013, 'Planning, law, and sexuality: Hiding immorality in plain view', Geographical Research, vol. 51, no. 4, pp. 354-363.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Emerging research in sexuality and space outlines the diverse forms of spatial governmentality used to discipline non-normative sexual behaviours, exploring how exclusion, concealment, and repression combines to ensure that `immoral sexualities are out of the sight of the `moral majority. In this paper, we explore this contention in relation to planning for sex service premises (brothels) in New South Wales, Australia. Though such sex service premises are now legal, our analysis nonetheless considers the way that these premises have been subject to forms of planning constraint that reflect planners assumptions about the appropriate manifestation of sex premises within the urban landscape. By exposing the assumptions written into planning law that sex premises are legal but potentially disorderly, we demonstrate the evidential power of planning to reinforce dominant moral geographies through instruments which, at first glance, appear to be focused on objective questions of amenity and the `best use of land. This paper hence explores the ways in which planners have translated assumptions of disorder into categories of visibility and distance, meaning that brothels have become hidden in plain view so as not to disturb the integrity of residential `family spaces.
In February 2000, Katherine Mary Knight killed, then skinned, decapitated and cooked her lover in rural Australia. Knight pleaded guilty to murder and received a life sentence, against which she unsuccessfully appealed in Knight v R  NSWCCA 292. I consider the way in which the majority judgments organised and expressed Knight's culpability in accordance with a model of monstrous wickedness, arguing that models of wickedness articulated and applied in criminal law should be evaluated critically. The judgment of the court constructed and responded to Knight as bad, a monster who is (and will always be) dangerous (especially to men) and ultimately irredeemable. Not only do monsters justify and require extreme measures, they also contaminate and undermine systems of orders - the judgments of Knight thus read more consistently with the genre of horror than that of law. The model of monstrous wickedness ostensibly works particularly well for women who kill, as it preserves the law's tendency to organise women as lacking agency. However, this model also generates a clash of binaries when applied to women. The monster/victim binary ascribes agency to the monster, generating difficulties for the law to reconcile the notion of a female monster with legal assumptions of the absence of female agency. This results in the problem of the female monster. The judicial creation of a horror movie monster that lacks basic humanity facilitates an abdication of the legal (and moral) task of judging a human being as human.
The New South Wales Coalition government is proposing to introduce a licensing system for brothels in accordance with pre-election commitments. This article argues that there is no evidence that brothels are criminogenic or inherently corrupting, nor any evidence that a Brothel Licensing Authority would effectively reduce and/or prevent crime and corruption. It considers the current New South Wales planning-based model and compares this with the Queensland and Victorian licensing models. There are other regulatory concerns associated with the sex industry, such as amenity impacts and health and safety concerns; it is argued here that these are regulated effectively under the current planning regime. A licensing authority is unlikely to improve the regulation of brothels in New South Wales in terms of illegality, amenity, and health and safety,
Crofts, P & Prior, JH 2012, 'Home Occupation or Brothel? Selling Sex from Home in New South Wales', Urban Policy and Research, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 127-143.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This article engages with the question of whether or not sex work in the home should be regulated in the same way as large commercial brothels or as home occupations. Underlying concerns about sex services premises generally are that they are criminogenic, disorderly and exploitative of women. This article draws upon original research of surveys of people living in the vicinity of sex services premises, interviews with sex workers and service providers, and council records of complaint to argue that, on the contrary, home occupations (sex services) can operate lawfully with minimal amenity impacts, and that this type of business can provide a positive work environment. We recommend that sex work in the home in New South Wales should be regulated in the same way as other home occupations.
Crofts, P & Prior, JH 2012, 'Intersections of Planning and Morality in the Regulation and Regard of Brothels in New South Wales', Flinders Law Journal, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 329-357.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This article explores two questions through original primary research. First, can brothels be âgood neighboursâ in planning terms? That is, what kind of amenity impacts, if any, do sex services premises have upon the people living nearby? Second, do the different approaches adopted by two councils in New South Wales, Australia, matter in terms of amenity impacts, but also in attitudes to sex services premises? It is argued that brothels appear to generate minimal or neutral amenity impacts regardless of the regulatory approach adopted by council. However, the legal approach adopted by the different councils has contributed to the organisation and expression of the moral attitudes of local residents to sex services premises.
Crofts, P, Maher, J, Pickering, S & Prior, JH 2012, 'Ambivalent Regulation: The Sexual Services Industries in NSW and Victoria - Sex Work as Work, or as Special Category?', Current Issues in Criminal Justice, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 393-412.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Despite continuing contests in Australian states over the validity of sex work as work, Victoria and New South Wales (NSW) have been part of a global trend for states to decriminalise and/or legalise the sex industry. This article argues that although Victoria and NSW are united by their ambivalence toward the legal validity of sex work as work for women, this ambivalence is expressed and organised in different ways in each state, with consequent differences in regulatory schemas, practices of enforcement and outcomes for workers and communities. In particular, this article focuses on the regulation of sex services premises as a key indicator of how the sex industry is regarded and embedded within broader business, social and regulatory contexts. The article examines some specific regulations that affect women's status as sex workers in each state. It concludes by arguing that the failure to fully recognise sex work as work impacts most sharply on the safety and inclusion of workers: those whom the legislative schemas of both states purportedly seek to protect
Prior, JH & Crofts, P 2012, 'Effects of sex premises on neighbourhoods: Residents, local planning and the geographies of a controversial land use', New Zealand Geographer, vol. 68, no. 2, pp. 130-140.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The paper examines 284 resident submissions to sex premises planning processes, and a survey of 401 residents living near sex premises in New South Wales, Australia, to investigate resident concerns about the effect of sex premises on local environs, and how these concerns inform resident views on the spatial ordering of sex premises. The investigation found that there was a discrepancy between the views of the broader residential population and the views of participants in planning processes. The investigation suggests that geographers need to consider more deeply the connections between residents, planning and the geographies of this controversial land use.
Crofts, P & van Rijswijk, HM 2012, '"What Kept You So Long?": Bullying's Gray Zone and The Vampire's Transgressive Justice in Let the Right One In', Law, Culture and the Humanities, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 248-269.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
School bullying has been recognized only relatively recently by policy-makers, media and the courts as a serious and widespread social problem. But despite this recent notice, there has been no evidence that techniques adopted to stop bullying have led to anything more than modest success, implying that we need to do more work to unpack and theorize the nature of bullying. In this article, we consider a recent vampire narrative as a story about bullying. We offer an interpretation of this story via the theories of Claudia Card and Jacques Derrida, arguing that together this archive provides a more nuanced understanding of the kinds of damage inflicted by bullying than has been provided by realist or sociological accounts. In particular, it illuminates damage to the morality of the victim, to their soul, which is a kind of damage that has previously not been given great attention. It also highlights the ways in which practices of judgment can become very tangled when trying to resolve bullying situations, making these experiences resistant to the achievement of justice.
Historically, sex services premises in New South Wales, Australia were regarded and regulated as illegal and disorderly entities; they were policed as outlaws. The Disorderly Houses Amendment Act 1995 [NSW] bestowed legal status, providing an opportunity to regulate sex services premises as legal subjects. Despite these reforms, in many areas brothels continue to be regulated more restrictively than other businesses. I argue that this is because, for many, brothels continue to be perceived as outlaws. They are regarded as inherently unlawful, disorderly, and hence warranting and requiring exclusion from the community. I argue that this conception of brothels as outlaws is constructed and reinforced through regulation. In contrast, some local councils and Land and Environment Court decisions have taken up the opportunity to regard and regulate sex services premises as legal subjects or citizens. The conception of sex services premises as citizen imports an existing legal framework, with associated accountabilities, rights and responsibilities. This shift in conception results in people viewing sex services premises differently, experiencing them differently and regulating them differently.
Crofts, P, Morris, T, Wells, K & Powell, A 2010, 'Illegal dumping and crime prevention: A case study of Ash Road, Liverpool Council', Public Space: The Journal of Law and Social Justice, vol. 5, pp. 1-23.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Illegal waste disposal is an increasingly significant and costly problem. This paper considers a specific hot-spot for illegal dumping in Sydney, Australia from criminological perspectives. We contribute to the developing criminological literature that considers environmental harms as a crime. This draws upon the symbolic aspect of criminal law, contributing to the notion of environmental harms as wrongs worthy of sanction, and facilitates analysis through the prism of criminological literature. We apply theories of crime prevention to the site and argue that these techniques of crime prevention would be cheaper and more effective long-term than current council responses of simply reacting to dumping after it has occurred
Crofts, P, Amarasekara, S, Briffa, PJ, Makari, R & Remedios, M 2008, 'Design and Children's Courts', The Alternative Law Journal, vol. 33, no. 4, pp. 229-234.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Analysis of the design of children's courts in NSW.
Crofts, P 2007, 'Of public space: my island home', Public Space: The Journal of Law and Social Justice, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-4.
The Brothels Legislation Amendment Act 2007 (NSW) was passed by the New South Wales Parliament to expedite the closure of disorderly and unlawful brothels. This article details the enforcement regime introduced by the Act and then considers the reasons for these reforms. The author argues that the reforms are not aimed at tangible, negative impacts, but instead at unlawfulness and disorderliness. The author concludes by suggesting that rather than the current approach of harsh expulsion and exclusion, the government could better achieve law and order through legalisation and regulation
Gambling provides a significant motivation for employee theft. Recent research suggests that problem gambling provides a motivation for at least 15% of employee thefts in Nevv South vVa1es. Problem gamblers may steal from their places of employment either to finance their gambling or to repay gambling debts. The reasons why a person gambles excessively impact upon their offending pattems. Problem gamblers who believe that they will win, may initially 'bonow' money from work, in order to finance additional gambling to win back money they have lost. When they do not win, the continued irrational belief that they will win, provides the motivation to continue stealing in order to provide a big enough stake to win back the money they have lost and stolen. Additionally, if a person gambles to avoid stress or depression, and then steals from work to finance their gambling, this thieving can then become a major cause of stress in and of itself. This leads to sustained stealing from the workplace until the problem gambler is apprehended.
Crofts, P 2018, 'Don't Blink: Monstrous Justice and the Weeping Angels of Doctor Who' in Peters, T & Crawley, K (eds), Envisioning Legality: Law, Culture and Representation, Routledge, New York, pp. 46-67.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The Doctor Who episode “Blink” introduced the Weeping Angels,1 aliens that when perceived look like statues of angels covering their eyes in sadness, but in the blink of an eye can touch their victims and send them to another time. The plot centres on Sally Sparrow (played by Carey Mulligan), a young woman who has never met the Doctor and only interacts with him for a few moments. She is a photographer, and when we first see her, she is breaking into an old, abandoned house. In the background is a beautiful statue of a crying angel. Sally’s attention is drawn to a wall with words that are barely visible behind peeling wallpaper. She peels back the wallpaper in time to see that the words are a message addressed to her, telling her to duck. She does so, just in time to avoid being hit by a rock flying through the window – and just in time for us to notice that the beautiful statue has moved toward her.
A Weeping Angel – when seen – appears as a statue, carved into the shape of an angel, usually with its hands daintily covering its eyes as though it were weeping. When observed, it is serene and lovely. However, though still as stone when observed, a Weeping Angel is capable of extremely quick movements when not observed. If you blink, a Weeping Angel will have silently come up beside you. If the Weeping Angel touches you, then you are gone. Weeping Angels thrive by consuming all of the energy from the future lives of their victims. They deposit their victims in a past time, though not a time through which they have already lived. Their victims feel no pain and the rest of their lives are theirs to live as they are able in their new temporal and spatial locations. The Doctor states that they are ‘the only psychopaths in the universe to kill you nicely.’
The Weeping Angels render strange and threatening the familiar sight of statues of females in classic poses. Weeping Angels are portrayed not just as stone ornaments, but as mobile monsters that can take us away from ...
Crofts, P & van Rijswijk, HM 2018, 'Traumatic origins in Hart and Ringu' in Pearson, A, Giddens, T & Tranter, K (eds), Law and Justice in Japanese Popular Culture: from crime fighting robots to duelling pocket monsters, Routledge, UK.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This chapter analyzes the representation of homicide in contemporary television drama series. The chapter draws upon critical analysis from the fields of criminal law, criminology, law and literature, and cultural studies to provide various analytical frameworks and perspectives through which to understand and critique specific dramas and the portrayal of homicide drama generally. If criminology is an effort to understand crime and criminals, then crime dramas including homicide television dramas can be considered a form of popular criminology that can and should be analyzed in terms of cultural representations of crime and criminal justice. Theorists have proposed that crime fiction can be categorized as mystery, detective fiction, or crime fiction. This framework provides a means for analyzing homicide drama, including the possibility of resolution and justice, geographic and temporal settings, the portrayal of the murder, and the construction of the three stock characters of crime fiction (the victim, the detective, and the murderer). The chapter concludes with a presentation of theories about the impact of media portrayals of crime upon public beliefs about crime, criminality, and the criminal legal system.
Crofts, P 2015, 'Criminal Responsibility and Popular Culture: The Walking Dead' in Crofts, T & Loughnan, A (eds), Criminalisation and Criminal Responsibility in Australia, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, pp. 208-221.
Despite its longevity, the reach and boundaries of the defence of self-defence has been the subject of much debate and controversy. These debates have been particularly heated in response to Stand Your Ground laws in many of the states in the USA. This chapter explores the implications of the skirmishes around the defence of self-defence in Australia through the prism of medieval law and the horror series The Walking Dead.
Crofts, P & Brents, B 2015, 'Legal Landscapes in Erotic Cities: Comparing legal prostitution in New South Wales and Nevada' in Maginn, PJ & Steinmetz, C (eds), (Sub)Urban Sexscapes: Geographies and Regulation of the Sex Industry, Routledge, London, pp. 219-240.
Prior, J & Crofts, P 2015, 'Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans-sexual: Commercial Sex' in Wright, J (ed), International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, Elsevier, pp. 883-887.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Forms of commercial sex extend beyond prostitution to include a broad range of businesses that produce sexual goods and services; many of these cater to a broader range of sexual predilections, and include Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) consumers among their clientele. This article provides an overview of the shifting attitudes toward and culture of LGBTI commercial sex, and how the placement and access to LGBTI commercial sex within Western jurisdictions cannot be considered a simple response to patterns of supply and demand, but rather as the outcome of complex interactions of moral codes, legal structures, and other forms of regulations.
Alexander, IJ & Crofts, P 2014, 'Taikato v R  HCA 28 Judgment' in Douglas, H, Bartlett, F & Hunter, R (eds), Australian Feminist Judgments: Righting and Rewriting Law, Hart Publishing, Oxford and Portland, Oregon, pp. 250-256.
Crofts, P 2014, 'Criminal Law' in Cody, A, Ross, N & Walden, S (eds), The Law Handbook, Redfern Legal Centre Publishing, pp. 507-526.
Crofts, P & Prior, J 2014, 'Regulation of the Sex Industry: Assumptions of Offence, Awareness and Impacts on Safety and Amenity' in Sagade, J, Jivan, V & Forster, C (eds), Feminism in the Subcontinent and Beyond, Eastern Book Company, Lucknow, pp. 383-398.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Haesler, A & Crofts, P 2014, ''Criminal Law' The Law Handbook', Redfern Legal Centre Publishing, Sydney, pp. 507-526.
Crofts, P, Haesler, A & Miles, A 2012, 'Criminal Law' in Cody, A, Ross, N & Waldon, S (eds), The Law Handbook, Thomson Reuters, Pyrmont, pp. 441-459.
Crofts, P & Prior, JH 2011, 'Oscillations in the regulation of the sex industry in New South Wales, Australia: Disorderly or pragmatic?' in Dalla, RL, Baker, LM, DeFrain, J & Williamson, C (eds), Global Perspectives on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking, Lexington Books, Plymouth, United Kingdom, pp. 257-275.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This book is part of a two-volume set that examines prostitution and sex trafficking on a global scale, with each chapter devoted to a particular country in one of seven geo-cultural areas of the world. The 18 chapters in this volume (Volume I) are devoted to examination of the commercial sex industry (CSI) in countries within Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Oceania, while the 16 chapters that comprise Volume II focus exclusively on Europe, Latin America, and North America. Volume II also includes a "global" section, which includes chapters that are globally relevant -- rather than those devoted to a particular country or geographic location. The contributors are comprised of international scholars representing a variety of fields and disciplines, with distinct and varied frames of reference and theoretical underpinnings with regard to the commercial sex industry.
Prior, JH & Crofts, P 2011, 'Queerying urban governance: the emergence of sex industry premises into the planned city' in Doan, P (ed), Queerying Planning, Ashgate Publishing Limited, New York, pp. 185-208.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This chapter analyzes the emergence of sex industry premises, in particular gay bathhouses, into formal land-use processes in Sydney, Australia in the late twentieth century. The chapter traces a shift in regulatory mechanisms in the last decades of the twentieth century away from explicitly moral and criminal discourses to planning policies to regulate and organize sex industry premises. This chapter details the regulatory transition of gay bathhouses from a catch-all category of disorderly premises that included other businesses such as brothels, to an official definition that differentiated bathhouses from other sex industry premises.
Searle, GH, Boydell, S, Crofts, P, Hubbard, P & Prior, JH 2011, 'The local impacts of sex industry premises: Imagination, reality and implications for planning', Proceedings of the World Planning Schools Congress 2011, World Planning Schools Congress, Global Planning Education Association Network (GPEAN), Perth, Western Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper uses survey data to investigate the community impacts of relatively liberal planning regulation of sex industry premises that has been instituted in Sydney. In this, it explores the contested relationship between community attitudes to sex premises, planning controls over such premises, and real world impacts arising from the application of these controls. The paper first looks at how the range of planning impacts from sex industry premises that were perceived in the past have framed the construction of present planning controls to regulate the sex industry in two Sydney local government areas (one inner and one middle). Survey perceptions of a sample of current residents and commercial firms located close to sex industry premises about possible impacts, as well as perceptions of sex premises in general, are described. The scope of impacts and perceptions measured draws on a range of research from legal studies, property and planning studies, and sociology. The findings are set against the operative planning controls and the assumptions and desired outcomes inherent in them in order to evaluate the appropriateness of the controls. The paper concludes with suggestions for amendments to controls that more closely reflect community perceptions of actual sex industry impacts rather than perceptions of assumed impacts, and reflections on the nature of the intersection of community attitudes to sex premises, planning controls, and the ensuing level and type of actual community impacts.
van Rijswijk, HM & Crofts, P 2012, '"Negotiating the Relationship between Law and Violence: the vampire as a figure of ambivalent justice"', Socio-Legal Studies Association (UK), Socio-Legal Studies Association Conference 2011, Socio-Legal Studies Association (UK), Brighton, UK.
Publication of abstract for conference
Boydell, S, Crofts, P, Prior, JH, Jakubowicz, AH & Searle, GH 2009, 'Sex in the city: regulations, rights and responsibilities in Sydney', State of Australian Cities (SOAC) Conference, State of Australian Cities Conference, Promaco Conventions Pty Ltd and DiskBank, Perth, Australia, pp. 1-24.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The state regulates sex industry types in accordance with a range of complex, overlapping and often conflicting legal, policing, planning and administrative mechanisms. The sex industry in Sydney is currently regulated through all levels of Australian government. New South Wales (NSW) is seen as leading the charge within Australia for its neoliberal market model of occupational and premises regulation. Taking a transdisciplinary research design, this paper identifies positive steps towards citizenship and the sex industry in inner Sydney.
Crofts, P 2006, 'Visual Contamination: Disgust and the regulation of brothels', Passages: Law, Aesthetics, Politics, Passages: Law, Aesthetics, Politics, University of Melbourne Law School, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 1-11.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Brothels have been able to operate as legitimate commercial businesses in NSW for over a decade. Despite this, brothels continue to be treated differently from other commercial businesses with similar amenity impacts. The planning principles enunciated by the Land and Environment Court in Martyn v Hornsby Shire Council  have been highly influential in the differential treatment of brothels. These planning principles are highly restrictive and go beyond traditional planning concerns. This paper argues that these principles are animated by an aesthetic of disgust. William Millers text Anatomy of Disgust, provides insight into why brothels may trigger disgust, due to their association with sex and immorality. The planning principles reflect disgust reactions, particularly in terms of the desire to remove the polluting and contaminating objects from the visual field. Finally, this paper considers strategies for reform in light of the association of brothels with disgust.