Compulsion, convergence or crime?
Contact with the criminal justice system as a form of gambling harm.
The CIJ was funded by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation to conduct research into the intersection of gambling harm and the criminal justice system. The resulting report explores the system’s complete lack of data gathering in relation to gambling behaviour – this is despite the fact that national and international research suggest a much higher rate of problem gambling amongst offender populations.
The report identified how multiple pathways can exist between gambling and offending which bring vulnerable people into contact with the criminal justice system. This includes victims of family violence, who may find respite from the violence in gambling venues, or who may assume the perpetrators’ gambling debts or offences out of fear.
The research involved the development of a ‘snapshot’ survey administered by Victoria Legal Aid which showed that gambling harm was experienced by a consistent number of its clients. Following publication of the report the CIJ continues to work with the courts and with Legal Aid to increase awareness – and information gathering – about this issue to support ongoing reform.