eCite Digital Repository

Gang rape in Sydney: Crime, the media, politics, race and sentencing


Warner, K, Gang rape in Sydney: Crime, the media, politics, race and sentencing, The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 37, (3) pp. 344-361. ISSN 0004-8658 (2004) [Refereed Article]

Restricted - Request a copy

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2004 Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology Inc.

Official URL:

DOI: doi:10.1375/0004865042194421


In 2001 and 2002 print, radio and television gave extensive coverage to a series of gang rapes in Bankstown and other suburbs of south-west Sydney.The coverage attacked the laxity and inefficiency of the criminal justice system and immigration policy. It fuelled public fears about inc~eases in. crime in particular areas and fear of "ethnic gangs" and racially-motivated crime. The sentences imposed on three youths of Lebanese background in the first of these cases to be dealt with attracted widespread criticism from politicians, the media and the public because of their leniency.These events occurred at a time when issues of race were in the news as a result of the arrival of "boat people", followed by a heightened fear of terrorism because of the events of September 11, 2001. The issue of gang rape by ethnic-minority youth resurlaced in August 2002 when a second group of offenders, again Le~anese-Australian youth, were sentenced, this time with gaol terms which for the most part were applauded for their severity. In parliament, legislation was introduced to increase penalties and political parties engaged in a pre-election law-and-order auction. These events are portrayed as an example of how a localised story about crime can become "racialised" and linked with debates about asylum-seekers and :errorism.This article attempts to draw out some of the criminal-justice Issues from this story. In particular it explores some of the flaws in the sentencing process that assisted in inflaming the debate. A pedagogical role for judges is suggested in relation to the public understanding of crime and guideline judgements are recommended.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Public law
Research Field:Public law not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Justice and the law not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Warner, K (Professor Kate Warner)
ID Code:30653
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:32
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2004-08-01
Last Modified:2010-06-18
Downloads:13 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page