How to Increase Voluntary Participation in Programs Using Behavioural Insights

Reducing reoffending is a state priority in New South Wales. New sentencing reforms will increase referrals to behaviour change programs or other support services for people who are at high-risk of reoffending. Yet non-mandatory programs can often have low participation rates, particularly when programs are new.

We set out to better understand the social context affecting voluntary participation in programs for people at-risk of reoffending. Here’s how we used behavioural science to promote better service delivery for this vulnerable cohort.

Continue reading How to Increase Voluntary Participation in Programs Using Behavioural Insights

Sociology of the So-Called ‘Gay Agenda’

These are two of my favourite protest signs from the Funny or Die post celebrating gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender human rights justice in the USA. The first one elevates what heterosexual people take to be routine (“spend time with my family”) and mundane (“buy milk”) as well what is taken for granted: “be treated equally”.

The second one points out how the power behind the fundamentalist Christian reading of the bible can be simultaneously: ridiculous, out-dated and taken out of context. Fundamentalists often defend the exclusive sanctity of heterosexual marriage by quoting the bible. This sign reads:

We can quote the bible too: A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. (Deuteronomy 22:13-21.)

The other photos are also amusing; I just love the sociological impact of these two.

Images source: Funny or Die (originally from Happy Place).

Eliminate the “gay panic” defence from Queensland law

I signed this petition today: ’Eliminate the “gay panic” defence from Queensland law’. Queensland is a state in Australia which has the highest recorded rates of LGBT youth suicide as well as a high rate of LGBT hate crimes. reports that 73% of LGBT Queenslanders have experienced a form of verbal or physical assault due to their sexuality. The ‘gay panic’ law effectively institutionalises LGBT hate crimes and exonerates murder on the basis of homophobia. Campbell Newman writes on

A loophole in Queensland law allows people accused of murder to defend themselves in court by claiming “gay panic” – that is, if someone who they think is gay “comes onto” them, the sheer panic they feel is partial justification for murder.

This law belongs in the dark ages –affirmed by the High Court in the notorious Green case in 1997, when a man responded to “gentle touching” by brutally murdering his victim.The killer’s argument was this: “Yeah, I killed the guy, but what he did to me was much worse.” Just over two years ago, a man was murdered in my church’s grounds, and his killers used this same “gay panic” defence. They were eventually acquitted of murder. I’m utterly appalled that a law that so revoltingly and openly discriminates against gay people is still tolerated in a modern society. 

Please read more and consider signing this petition.

Eliminate the “gay panic” defence from Queensland law