This unit is offered in the First Year Model where you will study the unit intensively over a four-week block. In this unit we will explore the concepts of crime and criminality. This is because how we as a society understand these concepts, shapes how we construct and use our criminal justice systems in order to respond to crime. We will see that there are many different ways in which ideas about crime and criminality are produced and shared amongst members of society, including those representations of crime produced by, for example, stories circulated by the media, case law produced through the courts, statistics produced by government bodies, speeches made by politicians, and expert analysis produced by academics. By doing this, we shall see that the concepts of crime and criminality are complex. As we shall also see, these complex ideas about what crime is are linked to the systems through which crime is addressed. Through our studies in this unit we shall begin to appreciate the complexity of the Australian criminal justice systems.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Differentiate between conceptions of crime and criminality;  
  2. Analyse diverse representations of crime and criminality to interpret the complexity of these concepts.  
  3. Investigate relations between representations of crime, criminality and responses to them, and;  
  4. Work collaboratively to collate and critically assess research information from diverse sources.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test Quiz matching activity 10%
Exercise Summary reports (2 reports A and B 800 words each) 40%
Review Peer review 5%
Case Study Group presentation and report (15 mins and 1000 words) 45%

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

Study a single unit

This unit can be studied on its own, without enrolling in a full degree. Learn more about single units of study at VU.

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this unit information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that unit information is current with the Student Contact Centre.