Dr Rita Shackel
- BSc LLB GradDipEd MA PhD Sydney GradDipLegalPrac NSW College of Law
- Admitted Legal Practitioner, Supreme Court of NSW
- The Legal Profession (2012-13 S1 – JD/LLB) (Course convenor)
- Child Sexual Abuse - Diverse Perspective (2012 S2-PG) (Co-convenor with Associate Professor Judy Cashmore)
- Academic Mentor & Thought Leader– LawWithOutWalls 2012
- The Legal Profession (2009-2011)
- Evidence (2009-2010)
- Foundations of Law (graduate & combined) (2007-2008)
- Law, Lawyers & Justice (2007-2008)
My research program revolves around two broad areas. First, I have a research program broadly focused on the evaluation and reform of legal processes, particularly, vis-à-vis victims of crime especially women and children as victims of sexual violence and abuse. My research in this area combines doctrinal analysis in evidence and procedure with interdisciplinary perspectives and research, drawing particularly on psychological theories and empirical findings and methodologies. Secondly, I have a research program in the pedagogy of legal education, legal professionalism and ethics. My research in this area again is interdisciplinary in nature and draws on empirical analysis, methodologies and data.
Generally my research interests include:
- Psychological and expert evidence
- Prosecution of child sexual assault cases
- Victims of crime
- Victim impact statements & sentencing
- Children and law
- Criminal processes
- International criminal justice
- Legal professional responsibility and ethics
- Legal education
Brief Biographical Detail
Rita is a graduate of the University of Sydney holding undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in law, science (pure mathematics), psychology and education. Rita’s academic awards include the Jones Memorial University Medal for most outstanding academic and professional record. Rita has worked as a lawyer, legal policy officer and academic in a range of settings including the NSW Cabinet Office, The NSW Office of Youth Affairs and The Australian Law Reform Commission. She has participated on a number of government, institutional and professional committees and working groups and has delivered professional training and CLE programs to legal practitioners and judicial officers in Australia and overseas. Rita’s PhD thesis examined the use of expert evidence in child sexual assault cases. Rita has worked and published widely in the field of child sexual abuse. She has a particular interest in the dynamics of child sexual assault and how victims and survivors disclose their assaults. Rita is committed to public interest and community work and has worked as a volunteer in community legal centres both in Australia and overseas. In the second half of 2013 Rita will be based at the UNICEF Office of Research as an Innocenti Senior Fellow and will also visit the Faculty of Law at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in the USyd-CUHK Faculty Exchange Programme.
Advisory and Professional Roles
- Member, Specialist Accreditation Children's Law Advisory Committee (1 July 2012 - 30 June 2014).
- Member TEQSA Register of Experts 2013 in Criminal Law, Legal Practice, Law n.e.c., Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, Curriculum Development & Design.
- Academic Member, Bar Association Professional Conduct Committee #2
- Member, Committee on Legal Ethics and Regulation Education Around the Globe
- Critical Friend to the Safe Families Program, Aboriginal Affairs NSW (June 2011-June 2012) (with Ms Maureen Ervine).
Selected Research Grants and Awards
- AusAID Australian Development Research Awards Scheme 2012 Funding Round (with Dr Wendy Lambourne & Dr Lucy Fiske & ActionAid as a partner organisation) (Awarded $580 941): Making Transitional Justice Work for Women: Rights, Resilience and Responses to Violence Against Women.
- Faculty of Law Legal Support Scholarship 2013 - Design application funding for project: Understanding the profile and outcomes of historical cases of child sexual assault (awarded $3000).
- Faculty of Law Legal Support Scholarship Program December 2012: The Impact on Victims of the Timing of Disclosure of Child Sexual Abuse.
- Faculty of Law Legal Support Scholarship Fund December 2012: Associate Investigator (with Dr Belinda Smith as Chief Investigator): Developing Effective e-Learning resources for Teaching Legal Writing.
- SYRENS Sydney Social Justice Networking Support Scheme 2012-2013 (with Associate Professor Judy Cashmore & Dr Lesley Laing): An Interdisciplinary Forum on a Social Justice Focus on Historical and Institutional Child Sexual Abuse.
- Institute of Criminology Collaborative Research Scheme 2012 (with Associate Professor Judy Cashmore). Support provided for grant application: Unravelling the Unique Dimensions of Historical Child Sexual Assault.
- Faculty of Law Legal Support Scholarship Fund October 2011: Ethical Issues in Research Involving Victims of Crimes
- STEPS Grant Scheme (2011), ‘Inter-University CrimPostgraduate Research Network’ (Project Team consisting of Professor M. Crock, Associate Professor G. Mason, Dr M. Lee and Ms L. Steele).
- AusAid Australian Leadership Awards Fellowship Program Round 8, 2010 for 2011: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Reducing Child Sexual Abuse in Sri Lanka ($107 000) (with Dr P. Weerakon – Health Sciences).
- Faculty of Law Legal Support Scholarship Fund December 2010: Mapping the Changing Contours of the Legal Services Market in Australia.
- Tilburg University Researcher Support Grant for collaborative research with TISCO and INTERVICT on the Measuring Access to Justice Project.
- Usyd E-Learning Project Support 2010: Online Legal Case Analysis Skills Development Tool (with Dr B. Smith & Mr J. Glister).
- Faculty of Law Research & Development Scheme 2008 for 2009: Understanding the Legal Basis of Successful Appeals in Child Sexual Assault Cases.
- Faculty of Law Legal Support Scholarship Fund December 2008: What do Victim Impact Statements Reveal about the Harm Suffered by Child Sexual Assault Victims?
- Redesign and Summer Grant Scheme 2008/2009: The Child Migrant Project – Frameworks for Identification and Protection (with Professor M. Crock).
- University of Sydney TIES Small Grant 2008: Constructing an Online Assessment Tool to Aid the Development of Case Analysis Skills in Law Students in conjunction with Mr J. Glister and Dr B. Smith.
- NSW Law & Justice Foundation General Grant 2007-08: Understanding Prosecutorial Decision-Making in Child Sexual Assault Cases.
- School of Law, Early Career Researcher Scheme Semester 1, 2011.
- University of Sydney Postgraduate Award 2002-2004 (Faculty of Law).
- University of Sydney Early Careers Development Award 2005 (Faculty of Law).
- American Association of University Women Educational Foundation International Fellowship 2002-03.
Refereed Papers and Journal Articles | Commissioned Papers and Reports | Forthcoming Book | Book Chapters | Book Reviews | Other Selected Research & Publications | Selected Conference and Invited Presentations | Forthcoming Presentations | Presentation 2012-2013 | Presentations 2010-2011 | Selected Professional Seminars and Other Workshops | Selected Previous Presentations | Selected Media Interviews
Refereed Papers and Journal Articles
- J. Cashmore & R. Shackel, ‘Responding to Child Sexual Abuse’ (May 2013) Australian Review of Public Affairs
- L. Steele, R. Shackel, F. Bell, 'The Importance of the Local in a Global Age: : A Comparative Analysis of Networking Strategies in Postgraduate Law Research Teaching’ (2012) JALTA
- T. Gordon, R. Shackel and S. Mark, 'Regulation of Legal Services in the E-World: A Need to Short Circuit Hot Spots in Ethics and Novel Practices?' (2012) 19 The International Journal of the Legal Profession 55-87.
- R. Shackel, ‘The Dynamics of Disclosure of Child Sexual Victimisation’ Right Now (Online Journal of Human Rights in Australia), July 2012. Available at: http://rightnow.org.au/topics/children-and-youth/the-dynamics-of-disclosure-of-child-sexual-victimisation-implications-for-investigation-and-prosecution/
- R. Shackel, ‘Beyond the Whiteboard: E-Learning in the Law Curriculum’ (2012) 12(1) QUT Law and Justice Journal – Special Edition in Legal Education 105-132. Available at: http://ljj.law.qut.edu.au/editions/v12n1/.
- P. de Zoysa & R. Shackel, ‘The Use of Psychology in the Administration of Justice in Sri Lanka’ (2011) 2(2) The Sri Lanka Journal of Forensic Medicine Science and Law 7-10.
- R. Shackel, ‘Victim Impact Statements in Child Sexual Assault Cases: A Restorative Role or Restrained Rhetoric’ (2011) 34(1) University of New South Wales Law Journal 211-249.
- R. Shackel, ‘Overcoming Misconceptions in the Courtroom on how Children Disclose Sexual Abuse’ (2011) 23(4) Judicial Officers’ Bulletin 29-32.
- R. Shackel, ‘The Impact of Urbanization on the Child’s Right to Play’ (2011) My Name is Today, Special Issue: Children’s Right to Play (Butterflies Advocacy & Research Centre).
- R. Shackel, ‘Understanding Children’s Medium for Disclosing Sexual Abuse: A Tool for Overcoming Potential Misconceptions in the Courtroom’ (2009) 16(3) Psychiatry, Psychology and Law 379.
- A. Loughnan & R. Shackel, ‘The Travails of Postgraduate Research in Law’ (2009) 19(1) Legal Education Review 99.
- R. Shackel. ‘How Child Victims Respond to Perpetrators of Sexual Abuse’ (2009) 16(1) Psychiatry, Psychology and Law 1.
- R. Shackel, ‘Adult Understanding of Children’s Behavioural Responses to Sexual Victimisation.’ (2008) 32(4) Child Abuse & Neglect: The International Journal 485.
- R. Shackel, ‘Judicial Perceptions of Jurors' Understanding of How Children Respond to Sexual Victimisation.’ (2007) 14(1) Psychiatry, Psychology and Law 1.
- R. Shackel, ‘The Child’s Right to Play under Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.’  March Playrights 11.
- R. Shackel, ‘The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: A Review of Accomplishments and Future Directions.’  Australian International Law Journal 21.
- R. Shackel, ‘The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children as a Global Issue: A Review of International Legal Responses.’  Australian International Law Journal 91.
- R. Shackel, ‘Children Pornography and the Electronic Age.’  Macarthur Law Review 143.
- R. Woellner, J. Zetler & R. Shackel, ‘Educational Malpractice: Some Recent Australian Developments.’ ANZELA Conference Proceedings (1997).
- J. Cashmore & R. Shackel (forthcoming 2013), ‘The Long-Term Effects of Child Sexual Abuse’ to be published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies as a CFCA Paper.
- D. Fleming & R. Shackel (eds), Australian Legal Profession (Thomson Reuters, forthcoming, 2013).
- R. Shackel, ‘Women and Legal Work’ in D. Fleming & R. Shackel (eds), Australian Legal Profession (Thomson Reuters, forthcoming 2013).
- R. Shackel, ‘Legal Ethics’ in D. Fleming & R. Shackel (eds), Australian Legal Profession (Thomson Reuters, forthcoming 2013).
- D. Fleming, A. Daly & R.Shackel, ‘Workplace Change’ in D. Fleming & R. Shackel (eds), Australian Legal Profession (Thomson Reuters, forthcoming 2013).
- R. Shackel ‘The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: A Review of its Successes and Future Directions’ in Weissbrodt, D., & Rumsey, M. (2011) Vulnerable and Marginalised Groups and Human Rights (Edward Elgar Publishing).
- R. Shackel, ‘Serial Survivors: Women’s Narratives of Surviving Rape’ (2010) 21(3) Current Issues in Criminal Justice 495-498.
- R. Shackel, ‘Review of Asian Yearbook of International Law.’  Australian International Law Journal 234-239.
- Co-investigator (with Professor Garry Walter, Dr Nerissa Soh, Professor Bruce Robinson, Associate Professor Michael Robertson, and Associate Professor Fiona Burns) on research project: The Relationship Between Mental Stress and Financial Status, Housing and Domestic Circumstances in University Law Students.
- R. Shackel, ‘ Evidentiary Challenges in Child Sexual Assault Matters.’ JurisDiction Issue 1 2013 (forthcoming).
- R. Shackel, ‘Hitting the Books: The Case for Going Back to School.’ March 2013.
The Law Society of NSW, Career Hub
- R. Shackel, ‘The Effects of Long-Term Suspension on School Children.’ Research paper completed for Children’s Education Law Clinic, Duke University, 2004. The North Carolina Justice Center has published this paper on the Center’s Education and Law webpage.
- A. Goh & R. Shackel, ‘Contractual Terms Applying to Carriage by Air in Australia’ prepared for the International Institute of Air and Space Law, University of Leiden, 1997; as part of a project commissioned by the European Commission.
- F. Bell, R. Shackel & L. Steele, ‘The Books Don’t Talk to Me!: Postgraduate Student Groups and Research Student Identity Formation.’ HERDSA 2013, 1-4 July 2013, Auckland, New Zealand.
- R. Shackel, 'The Ethics of Research Involving Victims of Crime'. Paper to be presented at the 33rd International Congress on Law and Mental Health, 14-19 July 2013, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
- Workshop participant, Centre for Global Development, Leeds and Transformative Justice Network, ‘Transforming Women’s Lives: Devising Gender-Responsive Approaches to Transitional Justice in the African Context’, Leeds, 12 September 2013.
- R. Shackel, ‘Navigating E-Spaces in Legal Education.’ Legal Education Conference, 50th Anniversary CUHK, Hong Kong, 26 October 2013 [Invited Speaker].
- R. Shackel, 'The dynamics of Child Sexual Abuse and Assessing Credibility'. Invited speaker to Family Consultants, Family Court of Australia, 20 March 2013.
- R. Shackel, ''Understanding the dynamics of child sexual assault and implications for prosecution', NSW DPP Solicitor's Conference, Sydney, 20 December 2012 [Invited Speaker].
- R. Shackel, 'Disclosure of Child Sexual Abuse by Children.' Invited speaker, Family Court of Australia and Federal Magistrates Court Concurrent Conference, Hobart, 12 October 2012 (Invited speaker).
- R. Shackel, ‘Ethics for Government Lawyers’, Government Solicitors Conference, Sydney, 28 August 2012 (Invited Speaker).
- R. Shackel, ‘Child Sexual Abuse: Perspectives from Recent Research’, Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians, 2012 Professor C.C. de Silva Memorial Oration, Colombo Sri Lanka, 11 August 2012 (By invitation - awarded Oration Medal).
- R. Shackel, ‘Child Sexual Abuse – The Psychological Dimensions’. Annual Academic Sessions of the Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians, Colombo Sri Lanka, 11-12 August 2012 (By invitation).
- R. Shackel, ‘The Need for Multidisciplinary Understandings in Forensic Responses to Sexual Assault’, 2012 Medico-Legal Society of Sri Lanka Oration, Colombo Sri Lanka 10 August 2012 (By invitation - awarded Oration Medal).
- R. Shackel, 'Legal Education and Regulation Education Around the Globe: Round Table', International Legal Ethics Conference V, Banff Alberta, 12-14 July 2012.
- R. Shackel, Law Without Walls Panel - 'Technology and Social Media', International Legal Ethics Conference V, Banff Alberta, 12-14 July 2012.
- L. Steele, R. Shackel, F. Bell, 'A Comparative Analysis of Networking and Discussion Groups as a Strategy for Postgraduate Research Learning', ALTA 2012, The University of Sydney 1-4 July 2012.
- R. Shackel, Academic Mentor Address - 'Alternative Courts on the Brain: Psychologically Based, But are they Sound?', Law Without Walls Composium, Miami USA, 14-16 April 2012
- R. Shackel, ‘Understanding the Basis for Overturning Convictions in Child Sexual Assault Cases.’ 32nd Congress of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health, Berlin, 17-23 July 2011.
- R.Shackel, 'Child Sexual Abuse: A Cloak of Secrecy.' Invited presentation NSW Aboriginal Affairs, Sydney, 7 July 2011.
- R. Shackel, ‘Preliminary findings of a qualitative study on the needs of victims of crime in Australia.’ Australian Institute of Criminology, Meeting the Needs of Victims of Crime, Sydney, 18-19 May 2011.
- R. Shackel, ‘Guilty or Not-Guilty: Lab Rats in the Courtroom.’ Degree in a Day Sessions, University of Sydney, September 2010.
- R. Shackel, Prosecuting Child Sexual Assault Cases: An Empirical Study of the Use of Evidence, Sydney Evidence Conference, Sydney School of Law, 25 September 2010.
- R. Shackel, ‘Child Sexual Abuse – Legal & Therapeutic Dimensions’, Australian Society Sex Educators Researchers and Therapists (ASSERT) Conference, University of Sydney, 30-31 October.
- R. Shackel, ‘The Role of Forensic Opinion and Evaluation of Victim Impact Statements in Child Sexual Assault Cases’, RANZCP Section of Forensic Psychiatry - An International Conference, Prato, Italy, 12-15 October 2010.
- R. Shackel, ‘Emerging Issues in Prosecution of Child Sexual Assault Cases’, Sydney Evidence Conference, 24-25 September 2010, The University of Sydney.
- R. Shackel, ‘Child Sexual Abuse: Changing Lenses’, Sex Researchers Team, 28 September 2010, The University of Sydney.
- R. Shackel and A. Loughnan, ‘The PhD Experience in Law: Starting a Conversation’, Sydney Law School Lunchtime Seminar Series, Sydney, 29 April 2010.
- R. Shackel (with B. Smith), ‘Teaching Case Analysis Skills – an Electronic Tool to the Rescue?’ Paper presented at ALTA Conference ’The Doctor as God, The Corporation as Queen, What about the Country?’, Sydney, 5-8 July 2009.
- R. Shackel, ‘Child Victim Responses To Perpetrators of Sexual Abuse.’ Paper presented at the 8th Annual Conference of the International Association of Forensic Mental Health Services, July 14-16, 2008, Vienna, Austria.
- R. Shackel, ‘Urban Living, Changing Perceptions of Childhood and New Barriers to Children’s Play.’ Paper presented at the IPA/USA Triennial Conference: Children’s Play: Learning from the Past, Planning for the Future, Baltimore MD, April 2004.
- R. Shackel, ‘The Use of Expert Evidence in the Prosecution of Child Sexual Abuse Cases.’ Paper presented at the AAUW Chapel Hill 80th Anniversary Symposium, Chapel Hill NC, April 2003.
- R. Shackel, ‘A Comparative Study of the Prosecution of Child Sexual Abuse Cases in Australia and the United States.’ AAUW-NC State Convention, Raleigh NC, April 2003.
- R. Shackel, ‘The Prosecution of Child Sexual Abuse Cases in the United States.’ Paper presented at the AAUW Chapel Hill Local Branch Forum, Chapel Hill NC, January 2003.
- R. Shackel, ‘Women, Children and Gender Equity.’ Plenary paper presented at the AAUW International Symposium: Global Voices for Gender Equity, Washington DC, November 2002.
- R. Shackel, ‘The Use of Expert Evidence Relating to the Behaviour of Children who have been Sexually Abused.’ Paper presented at Brandeis School of Law, University of Louisville, October 2002.
- R. Shackel, ‘The Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome does it have a Forensic Role?’ Paper presented at the 25th International Congress on Law and Mental Health, Siena, 12-15 July 2000.
- R. Woellner, J. Zetler & R. Shackel, ‘Educational Malpractice: Some Recent Australian Developments.’ Paper presented at the ANZELA Conference, Sydney, June 1997.
- R. Shackel, ‘Child Sexual Abuse: Best Practice & Future Directions’ delivered workshop to Forensic Medicine Fellows, Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, Colombo Sri Lanka, 13 August 2012.
- R. Shackel, ‘Developing Guidelines for Interviewing Child Victims’, Sri Lanka Ministry of Justice, Colombo Sri Lanka, 9 August 2012 (By invitation).
- A. Loughnan & R. Shackel, ‘Surviving the PhD.’ Plenary paper presented at the Postgraduate Conference, Faculty of Law, The University of Sydney, 31 October 2008.
- J. Cashmore & R. Shackel, ‘Children and the Law.’ Invited presenters at Sydney University Law Society Public Forum, 27 August 2008.
- R. Shackel, ‘The New Anti-Discrimination Regulation.’ College of Law: Continuing Legal Education Program, Tattersalls Club, Sydney, 31 October 2001.
- R. Shackel, ‘Discrimination in the Legal Profession.’ College of Law: Continuing Legal Education Program, Tattersalls Club, Sydney, 5 December 2001.
- R. Shackel, ‘The Dynamics of Child Sexual Abuse: Perceptions in the Criminal Justice System.’ Health Law Postgraduate Thesis Candidates’ Workshop, University of Sydney, 22 June 2001.
- Interviewed by ABC Radio (Adelaide) Mornings with Stan Thomson: Royal Commission into child abuse - how will it work? (20 November 2012)
- Interviewed by Radio Atticus on Radio 2SER: DNA Evidence in Criminal Trials (16 April 2010)
Current Administrative, Committee and other Responsibilities
- Co-Convenor, School of Law, Litigation & Dispute Resolution Cluster
- Academic Standards & Policy Committee, University of Sydney (and Chair, Working Group to review Schedule 1 Academic Policy).
- Faculty of Law, ALTA Representative (with Dr A. Loughnan)
- Member, Equal Opportunity Committee
- Honours Committee, Sydney Law School
- Associate Deans (Learning & Teaching), ITL Committee, University of Sydney
- Member, Institute of Criminology Management Committee
- Teaching & Curriculum Committee, Sydney Law School (& sub-committee working group on USE and sub-committee AQF)
- University of Sydney SEG, Education
- Social Inclusion, Humanities and Social Sciences Division Committee.
- Associate Dean (Learning & Teaching) National Network.
- Associate, Sydney Centre for International Law, The University of Sydney.
- Member, Institute of Criminology
- Member, Australian Lawyer for Human Rights.
Other Research-Training Related Activities
- National Reporter on The Rights of The Child for the International Congress of the International Academy of Comparative Law (Vienna, 2014).
- Book Review Editor, Current Issues in Criminal Justice (2011-).
- Associate Editor, Australian International Law Journal (1999-2002).
- Business Manager, Australian International Law Journal (1998-1999).