ARC funds fellowship on addiction in the law

SSAC event Suzanne & Kate

Dr Kate Seear, adjunct research fellow with SSAC and Senior Lecturer in Law at Monash University, was recently awarded a prestigious DECRA fellowship by the Australian Research Council.

The fellowship will support Kate to conduct a major international study on addiction and the law over the next three years (2016-18).

Entitled ‘Addiction in the Australian legal system: A sociological analysis’, the project builds upon a pilot study undertaken in 2013-2015 in collaboration with SSAC Director and ARC Future Fellow, Professor Suzanne Fraser. In addition, it complements Professor Fraser’s work on addiction concepts in policy and service provision, also funded by the ARC.

Kate’s project will use qualitative methods and a range of socio-legal theories to study legal approaches to alcohol and other drugs (AOD), including the key concept of ‘addiction’. The project will also involve an analysis of legal developments on AOD ‘addiction’ in Canada, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches, and considering what lessons they might hold for Australian law.

Kate’s research will inform new, more productive approaches to how Australian law deals with AOD-related issues. In doing so, it aims to improve opportunities and outcomes for highly stigmatised, marginalised and vulnerable groups understood to be experiencing ‘addiction’.

SSAC congratulates Kate on this outstanding achievement and looks forward to tracking and sharing the results of this important new project in the years to come.