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Exploring law enforcement and public health as a collective impact initiative: lessons learned from Tasmania as a case study

Roberta Julian (Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia)
Isabelle Bartkowiak-Théron (TILES University of Tasmania, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia)
Jackie Hallam (Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia)
Clarissa Hughes (School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health, Charles Sturt University – Bathurst Campus, Bathurst, Australia)

Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice

ISSN: 2056-3841

Article publication date: 12 June 2017




The purpose of this paper is to examine the potential benefits as well as some of the practical barriers to the implementation of a collective impact initiative in law enforcement and public health (LEPH) in Tasmania, Australia.


The paper is based on a review of programs, agencies and initiatives that are at the intersection of LEPH in Tasmania, through an analysis of the findings in evaluation reports, and the views of practitioners identified at a workshop on LEPH held at a national AOD conference and facilitated by the authors.


The strengths of collective impact initiatives, particularly in LEPH, are presented and some weaknesses identified. Some major obstacles to the consolidation of LEPH initiatives include siloed ways of working and budgets, lack of leadership and political will. Some progress has been made in addressing these weaknesses, although addressing complex social problems by moving beyond inter-agency collaboration toward an integrated model of service provision remains challenging.

Practical implications

The authors argue that there are practical benefits to the adoption of a collective impact model to address problems in Tasmania that lie at the nexus between LEPH. In reviewing existing collaborations, the authors demonstrate the value of a structural mapping process to identify ways forward for government and non-government agencies that are inclined to go further in merging the two disciplinary areas. The authors offer some suggestions with respect to identifying the preconditions for a collective impact model and how to build on these to initiate action.


A significant proportion of the literature on LEPH remains at a conceptual and theoretical level. This contribution highlights some practical issues while looking at existing examples of collaboration across LEPH at a state level in Australia, and starts mapping a way forward for constructing more integrative LEPH initiatives.



Julian, R., Bartkowiak-Théron, I., Hallam, J. and Hughes, C. (2017), "Exploring law enforcement and public health as a collective impact initiative: lessons learned from Tasmania as a case study", Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 79-92.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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