Ignorance not racism : the ethical implications of cultural schema theory within policing

Randles, Antonia & Lauchs, Mark A. (2012) Ignorance not racism : the ethical implications of cultural schema theory within policing. In 19th Annual Conference of the Australian Association of Professional and Applied Ethics, 28 June - 1 July 2012, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.

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Communication between cultures that do not share similar norms, values, beliefs, experiences, attitudes and practices has long proven to be a difficult exercise (Balsmeier & Heck, 1994). These difficulties can have serious consequences when the miscommunication happens in the justice system; the innocent can be convicted and witnesses undermined. Much work has been carried out on the need for better communication in the courtroom (Eades, 1993; Lauchs, 2010; Supreme Court of Queensland, 2010; Supreme Court of Western Australia, 2008) but far less on language and interactions between police and indigenous Australians (Powell, 2000). It is ethically necessary that officers of the law be made aware of linguistic issues to ensure they conduct their investigations in a fair and effective manner. Despite years of awareness raising issues still arise. Issues of clashes between police and indigenous peoples are still prevalent (Heath, 2012; Remeikis, 2012). This paper will attempt to explain the reason for this discrepancy and, in doing so, suggest some solutions to the problem.

This paper draws on cultural schema theory in an attempt to determine if cultural difference in language could be negatively affecting communication between Aboriginal people and the police of South East Queensland. Findings from this research are significant in determining if miscommunication is adding to the already unequal standing of Aboriginal people within the Criminal Justice system, and encouraging the already volatile relationship between Aboriginal people and police.

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ID Code: 51369
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Access to Justice, Aboriginal English, Cultural Schema Theory
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200) > Causes and Prevention of Crime (160201)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Access to Justice (180102)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 03 Jul 2012 22:03
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2017 09:44

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