The Australian Security Association Limited (ASIAL) recently announced that it was seeking volunteers for two separate research projects into the security industry.

The first project, titled Understanding capacity for violence risk assessment in private security workers, focuses on the role of private security staff working crowd control and conducting the regular assessment of patrons for signs of intoxication, risk, violence and aggression. These assessments are made, often in quick time and with limited opportunity for observation, in queues and in doorways outside licensed venues, when scanning large crowds at major sporting events or concerts, or inside a range of different sites where private security operate. Alongside venue specific dress and behavioural codes, private security use a range of physical and behavioural cues to inform these assessments and categorise the ‘riskiness’ of patrons.

Dr Phillip Wadds (UNSW) and Associate Professor Thomas Denson (UNSW) are currently undertaking a research project which seeks to identify and examine the physical and behavioural cues that security staff use as predictors of violence propensity to ascertain the effectiveness of such assessments and to help inform better diagnostic practices.

The study will conduct both semi-structured interviews with, and a short visual-based assessment of, private security staff working in the door work and crowd control sectors to gain an understanding of what patron characteristics they base their judgements on.

The researchers are looking for participants from the manpower sector to assist them with their research. They are positioned to pay $20 for a short discussion and $50 for an interview of between 30 minutes to an hour.

For more information contact Geneviv Fanous (E: or P: 0402 668 148)

The second research project, titled The role of private security in responding to the needs of domestic violence victims, is being conducted by Dr Diarmaid Harkin of Deakin University. Dr Harkin is a criminologist investigating the role of private security companies as they respond to the security needs of victims of domestic violence. Private security companies are increasingly involved in the lives of domestic violence victims in a number of different ways: several companies have entered into partnerships with family violence services to deliver safety solutions for victims, large corporates have contracted private security to provide services to their own employee base who suffer from domestic abuse, and security-technology companies are increasingly aiming to sell devices and gadgets directly to victims and family violence services.

Dr Harkin is currently conducting original, empirical research to gauge the impact such initiatives have on the levels of safety and security experienced by a vulnerable and under-protected population. If you are interested in participating in this research or want to know more about his work, please contact Dr Harkin (E: or P: 03-9251 7645).

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