The unit introduces the student to the 'problem of crime' and examines the relationship of crime, inequality and disadvantage. It introduces students to the effects of disadvantage on criminal behaviour and policing and legal responses to disorder. The unit reviews the roles that gender, race, ethnicity and class play in the criminal justice system and explores the reasons why some groups are over-represented in offending and incarceration rates.Students will work through contemporary issues such as gender-based violence, indigenous incarceration, policing and bias and the unequal application of the criminal law for crimes related to disadvantage.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Describe key relationships between inequality, criminal behaviour and the criminal justice system;  
  2. Describe the key concepts of inequality, power, race, gender and class and their effect on the criminal justice system;  
  3. Demonstrate effective library-based research skills to develop a sound understanding of the criminological literature;  
  4. Apply effective academic writing skills in critical analysis of a key criminological issue.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test Online Quiz (1 hour) 20%
Essay Research based essay 40%
Presentation Summary of research-based essay findings (video) 40%

Required reading

Selected readings will be available via VU Collaborate.

Criminology, 3rd Edition
Newburn T., 2017
Taylor and Francis

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.