Research essay-Criminal Law Example

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‘Reducing incivility … is important in its own right. People like to be able to walk down the street or use public transport without suffering verbal abuse or harassment …’

Don Weatherburn


Incivility has turned out to be an essential matter of public interest: a predicament which sources from the quality of life as well as which unfavourably influences the well-being of social and economic status of the citizens (Uslaner 179). In the previous decades, Australia has appended mounting significance to the matter of public safety in public transport, in the streets, public places, and gathering places, especially bus stops, train stations, as well as other locations where citizens meet with strangers. Motivated by progresses in European countries and the “zero-tolerance” approach pursued by countries like U.S, inner-city and local authorities have started to pay much attention to both the citizens’ safety as well to what is known as one-sided sense of safety and to novel paradigms of offsetting all normal subjective panics and worries of the people (van Jaarsveld, Walker and Skarlicki 1487). Arguably, appalling behaviour in Australia is prevalent, but the commonness and dominance of incivility appears to be a mounting wave in the public dome.

Across the world, bad-mannered and discourteous behaviour in the midst of strangers in daily circumstances has progressively been recognized as a social setback. Australia is not an exemption to this development with community security specialists, press officers and elected officials being the main players in the building and facsimile of such argument. For this reason, the Australian print media have included fanatical stories on the condition of everyday incivility and public wrath in modern Australia (Cortina, Magley and Williams 67). Criminologists on their part have recommended the enactment of ‘a countrywide avowed pledge to politeness and civility’, and the present leadership, has recognized incivility as the catalyst to the rate of aggression in modern Australia (Degenhardt, Day and Conroy 109).

Should s4a of the Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW) be retained in its current form, modified or abolished?

According to Summary Offences Act 1988- Sect 4A of the offensive language, no individual has the power to use offensive language in or near, or within hearing from a street, school, or public place (NSW). Fervent tantrums at a public place as well as intended remonstration to upset public gatherings are mounting rapidly on modern’s ubiquitous electronic media. What’s more, the unenthusiastic diatribe permitted/supported at the time of political campaigns appears to infect the public gatherings, as well as other places planned for such deliberative procedures of authority. Mutz and Reeves (6) posit that in the public places awhile is simple to distinguish the deliberated incivility from the fervent tantrum, but at other times it is hard. Arguably, there are challenges in establishing upon a common base, mainly by act, a disparity in sentencing standard, which is reliant on the extent of the crime before the Court. To the point that this may echo an evaluation of the possible gravity of the crime, and the concerns of the public, this can as well be revealed by the process of sentencing discretion in the parameters set by Summary Offences Act 1988- Sect 4A, which outlines the maximum sentence, and where appropriate, a pertinent average non-parole epoch. In this regard, exceptional conditions would require to be recognized to substantiate any omission to that intention, in the chase of social wellbeing, at the extremely slightest cease of getting in touch with the affected ones, even if the authorities are unable to entirely isolate them. Evidently, public incivility is as certainly disparaging of the social order similar to any infectious malady. In this regard, the Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW) should not be retained in its current form; instead it should be modified to provide the court with power to impose extreme and severe penalties to anyone found guilty of incivility (NSW). With such harsh penalties, the victims will be served with justice, and ill-mannered individuals within the public domain will be extra cautious to commit a crime that will see him/her behind bars for a year or two.

Incivility in Public Transport

No matter what occurred to civility in the public place, what is certain is that day after day people are faced up to with insolence and incivility that proves the fact that civility and kindness for others is dilapidated (Herrenkohl, Hemphill and Mason 43). Monotonous public havoc, raiding and mob aggression by individuals from middle-class have stunned citizens and authorities of Australia. Flash gangs purposely prepared by means of social media for the intention of pillaging have generated turmoil and aggression numerous parts of Australian cities (Henriques 147). Moreover, bigoted supporters in public arenas rain vulgarity on opposing players and referees, which as a result, aggression overflows into the stands and subsequent to the competitions fanatical supporters meet head-on with others wearing the opposite team colours. Besides that, sportspersons throw outrageous rage outbursts when officials reject them. Furthermore, school managers and educators protest on the subject of incivility that learners have for the school administrators (Heesch, Sahlqvist and Garrard 418). In the roads, drivers overlap one another and hit back with intimidating driving and abhorrent signs. The aged no more feel handled with self-respect and deference; civil servants can be irritable and insensate; and rivalry in the midst of experts wears away collegiality (Heesch, Garrard and Sahlqvist 2086). On the other hand, TV programs and films habitually display over-sensitive characters with an “aggressive” approach and a readiness to break the laws. Mockery, pessimism and dirty dig hilarity are staples of television sitcoms while self-esteems preen as appreciated talk-show pundits disrupt one another and fail one to complete expressing their ideas (Mansouri and Jenkins 95).

A Plague of Rudeness

Heesch, Sahlqvist and Garrard (419) claim that since there no any inoculation to avert incivility, it seems that just isolation is a likelihood. Fundamentally, if admission to the rest of the populace is prohibited or limited, public transport incivility is unfeasible. Isolation of the only discourteous remains to be the most pleasing (reflect on slapdash or uncivil leaders, or garbage-talking officer). Mansouri and Jenkins (98) are of the view that this is not a refutation of someone’s freedom of speech; instead it plainly guarantees that the listeners for such uncivil speech will be nearly zero. Besides, the individual contaminated with out of control incivility would have just himself and a small number of other isolated characters to speak to. Presently, incivility seems to spread from one individual to another, not by microbes, but by illustration (van Jaarsveld, Walker and Skarlicki 1489). In this regard, if incivility appears to be trendy or triumphant, ordinary citizens may be vulnerable and start to act in the uncivil manner. Larocque (114) assert that Australia is the only instance he recognizes where extremely unwell people, suffering from public incivility are commended and well-liked. Heesch, Sahlqvist and Garrard (420) do not desire to fight incivility, given that wars hardly ever achieve their expected goal, but without doubt he recommend that people and government authorities must work mutually to limit the accomplishment of incivility and attempt meticulously to shun the infection.

Anti-Social Behaviour Generated by Incivility

Safety measures nowadays are professed as a matter that influences not only Australia government but as well social partner. According to Hughes (391), public security is one of the elemental social pillars and the foundation of liberty and equal opportunity for the complete growth of all people. From this point of view, public safety measures is not just a dogmatic, legal, or political essence, but as well public, given that it is the basis of the ordinary excellence of community, the foundation which allows the fair and equivalent improvement to everyone who fit in it (Henriques 149). In their argument of incivility on public transport, Heesch, Sahlqvist and Garrard (420) recommended that automobiles are ‘non-places’ where individuals try to find their own spaces and detach themselves from others people by reading or listening to music. Osmond (327) depicts this as a status of ‘isolation, where individuals are unchained from a sagacity of social collectivity and community.

This perception unreservedly supports greatly the study and strategy modernism on the subject of anti-social behaviour on public transport or street, with (grown-up) travellers turning out to be preys of (youthful) individuals who commit acts of incivility against them. Degenhardt, Day and Conroy (113) observe the preys (adults) as efficiently inactive persons who are unsuccessful in such position during incivility. Incivility or anti-social activities may be perceived to be visited ahead of the hapless victim. According to van Jaarsveld, Walker and Skarlicki (1498), this is an essential point as if to make merry of teenagers activities on public transport, or denounce it, both models perceive the reasons for the incivility among the younger generation. For that reason, to limit incivility on streets and public transport, the spotlight ought to be on altering the activities of the younger generation. This, Henriques (147) dispute is an erroneous standpoint and one which blurs the social comprehension of incivility on public transport and on the streets. Undoubtedly, public transport offers transportation means, whereby people are conveyed from one place to another, but, the sense accredited by public transport as well as the anticipations of behaviour while travelling differs from one entity to another (Uslaner 180).

Reducing Incivility

In spite of all the wherewithal invested in the entire criminal justice system and law enforcement, felony still appears to augment. Recently, the federal government has reacted to this dilemma by facilitating environmental attempts intended largely at creating an environment where it will be harder to commit felonies (Hughes 399). Environmental paradigms to a felony or incivility deterrence can seize diverse shapes, which include solidifying at its plainest, by means of bolts, padlocks, and bars. Moreover, more appropriately, supervision of public places such as the bus stop and station can be enhanced, maybe by facilitating installation of cameras. Enhanced illumination fits tidily along such measures: citizens are well capable to continue watching in high-quality visibility (Heesch, Sahlqvist and Garrard 419; Hughes 340). Similarly, even though CCTV cameras are utilized to watch public places, their efficacy relies on sufficient illumination, during the day and night. The improvement of street enlightenment for offense deterrence reasons as well entails multiagency teamwork. Local authorities and law enforcement with liability for street illumination must work together, while other individuals or groups might as well be consulted; for example, public transport associations (van Jaarsveld, Walker and Skarlicki 1500). Nevertheless, law enforcement statistics based on the local models of felony, their extent, location and time, inexorably report a partial tale bearing in mind that a number of crime cases are on no account reported to the law enforcement.

According to Cortina, Magley and Williams (73), having additional police force on the public transport and streets is usually the peoples’ foremost line of consideration, when faced up to with imaginary inquiries concerning handling incivility. For example, in van Jaarsveld, Walker and Skarlicki (1501) study two-thirds of the respondents concurred that street lighting would enhance their safety and would make them feel safe when in the public place; roughly 90% agreed with the proposition of extra police patrols. An additional fascinating feature of Degenhardt, Day and Conroy (113) study is that respondents were asked if they have ever feared to travel by means of public transportation; more than 50% claimed that they avoid public place during evenings/nights because they feared violence, harassment or rudeness. Particularly, they were cautious of being around city centre on weekend nights, especially Saturday (Degenhardt, Day and Conroy 111). Conversely, from remarks made by respondents, it was perceptible that disorderly or aggressive behaviour by gangs of young men caused them panic, instead of the street lighting quality. In this regard, both the significance appended by the community to high-quality Street and public places lighting, as well as the perimeters to their worry, are apparent. Alternatively, an elongated register of other concerns stimulated still larger distress; destruction, felony, joblessness, deprived housing, idleness, public transport, and drunkenness.


Conclusively, stations and bus stops are not just places where individuals avoid their social lives or their cultural anticipations; instead, they are well recognized as places where individuals bring insights and feelings aboard with them. Substantially, individuals recognize and comprehend the setting of public transportation in exceptionally distinct manner. Thus, it is exactly these distinct insights of public transportation that offer the key to familiarizing the structure wherein public judge other individuals conduct. Outstandingly, surveillance technology has facilitated the policing of traffic felonies to be fundamentally computerized in a manner that is impossible for other felonies. In the fast transforming policing setting, some strength may perhaps be tending to assume an ‘incivility control’ paradigm. Nevertheless, this resource strenuous method might initiate police interest being directed far from the matters that interests the community locally and might be unsuccessful to take advantage of the community’s key incentives for working together with the law enforcement and maintain order. In this regard, regardless of what happened to courteousness publicly, what remains is the fact that day in, day out Australians are faced up to with rudeness and vulgarity that confirms the fact that courteousness and compassion for others is falling to pieces.

Works Cited

Cortina, Lilia M., et al. «Incivility in the workplace: Incidence and impact.» Journal of Occupational Health Psychology 6.1 (2001): 64-80.

Degenhardt, Louisa, et al. «Examining Links Between Cocaine Use and Street-Based Sex Work in New South Wales, Australia.» The Journal of Sex Research 43.2 (2006): 107-14.

Heesch, Kristiann C, Jan Garrard and Shannon Sahlqvist. «Incidence, severity and correlates of bicycling injuries in a sample of cyclists in Queensland, Australia.» Accident Analysis & Prevention 43.6 (2011): 2085-2092.

Heesch, Kristiann C., Shannon Sahlqvist and Jan Garrard. «Cyclists’ experiences of harassment from motorists: Findings from a survey of cyclists in Queensland, Australia.» Preventive Medicine: An International Journal Devoted to Practice and Theory 53.6 (2012): 417-420.

Henriques, Zelma Weston. «Gender, ‘Race’ and International Relations: Violence Against Filipino Women in Australia.» Women & Criminal Justice 10.3 (1999): 147-149.

Herrenkohl, Todd I, et al. «Predictors and Responses to the Growth in Physical Violence During Adolescence: A Comparison of Students in Washington State and Victoria, Australia.» American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 82.1 (2012): 41-9.

Hughes, Nathan. «Young people ‘as risk’ or young people ‘at risk’: Comparing discourses of anti-social behaviour in England and Victoria.» Critical Social Policy 31.3 (2011): 388-40.

Larocque, Rachelle. «Review of Incivility: The rude stranger in everyday life.» Crime, Media, Culture 8.1 (2012): 113-114.

Mansouri, Fethi and Louise Jenkins. «Schools as Sites of Race Relations and Intercultural Tension.» Australian Journal of Teacher Education 35.7 (2010): 93-108.

Mutz, Diana C and Byron Reeves. «The new videomalaise: effects of televised incivility on political trust.» American political science review 99.1 (2005): 1-15.

NSW, New South Wales Consolidated Acts. Summary Offences Act 1988 — SECT 4A Offensive language. 1 June 2013. 10 September 2013. <>.

Osmond, Craig. «Anti-social behaviour and its surveillant inter-assemblage.» Surveillance and society 7.3-4 (2010): 325-343.

Uslaner, Eric M. «Congress Behaving Badly: The Rise of Partisanship and Incivility and the Death of Public Trust.» Political Science Quarterly 124.1 (2009): 179-180.

van Jaarsveld, Danielle D, David D Walker and Daniel P Skarlicki. «The Role of Job Demands and Emotional Exhaustion in the Relationship Between Customer and Employee Incivility.» Journal of Management 36.6 (2010): 1486-1504.