Incidence, Types and Causes of Theft on Victorian Farms: Explanatory Statement

My name is Dr Alistair Harkness and I am a researcher in Criminal Justice in the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Federation University’s Gippsland campus.

I invite you to take part in this voluntary study: Incidence, Type and Causes of Theft on Victorian Farms.

Please read this Explanatory Statement in full before making a decision.

This survey will be asking questions about incidents of thefts and other forms of crime. Questions about peoples’ experiences of crime, including thefts and violence, can sometimes be distressing. This is an entirely voluntary and anonymous survey and if you do not wish to be confronted with such questions, you are advised not to proceed further.

The aim of this study: To understand the extent that crime occurs in rural and regional Victoria, what types of crime are most prevalent, and what the causes of this crime are.

I am conducting this research to find out what measures might be taken by Government, police, the courts and other agencies to reduce the incidence of crime in areas such as yours, and to develop a list of crime prevention measures which individual farmers and farm communities might consider implementing.

Possible benefits: By gaining an insight into your experiences, and combined with the experiences of others across Victoria, we will be able to make a series of recommendations which could provide direct benefits for farming communities across the State.

What does the research involve? An anonymous online survey, and participation is entirely voluntary; the survey will take between 15-20 minutes to complete. Some of the questions in this survey have been modeled on those asked in a 2001-2002 National Farm Crime Survey conducted by the Australian Institute of Criminology, and from some other sources.

Inconvenience/discomfort: Apart from your time, it is not considered likely that this survey will cause you any other level of inconvenience. However, questions about peoples’ experiences of crime, including thefts and violence, can sometimes be distressing.

No payment: Completion of this survey is entirely voluntary, and no payment or reward is offered, financial or otherwise.

You can withdraw from the research: You are under no obligation to participate. You do not need to answer all the questions, but once you have submitted your response you cannot withdraw your answers, as responses are anonymous.

Confidentiality: You are not required to provide any identifiable data, and your confidentiality can be assured.

Storage of data: Data collected will be stored in accordance with Federation University regulations, kept on University premises, in a locked filing cabinet for 5 years. Individuals will not be identified in reports or publications stemming from this study.

Findings: If you would like to be informed of the aggregate research findings or discuss any aspect of this study, please contact the Chief Investigator:

Dr Alistair Harkness
Criminal Justice
School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Gippsland Campus, Federation University
Northways Road
Tel:(03) 5122 6760 Email:
Should you have any concerns about the ethical conduct of this research project E14-007, please contact: Ethics Officer, Research Services, Federation University, Northways Road, CHURCHILL VIC 3842. Tel: (03) 5122 6446; email:

CRICOS Provider Number 00103D
8% of survey complete.