DR Dave McDonald

DR Dave McDonald


  • Child Sexual Abuse
  • Commissions of Inquiry
  • Gender and Crime
  • Historical and Institutional Child Sex Abuse
  • Institutional Accountability and Change
  • Law Enforcement and Public Health
  • Oversight and Corruption
  • Paedophilia
  • Policing
  • Quasi-Legal Mechanisms of Justice
  • Royal Commissions



  • Dr Dave McDonald commenced his role at the University of Melbourne in 2013 as a Melbourne Early Career Academic Fellow (MECAF). In 2016 he was appointed as an ongoing Lecturer in Criminology in the School of Social and Political Sciences. Prior to this, he was a subject coordinator and assistant lecture across various subjects at the University of Melbourne throughout the course of his doctoral studies, while also holding teaching positions at Monash and La Trobe Universities. Dr McDonald’s research has examined representational and imaginative practices associated with paedophilia and child sex abuse from a critical criminological perspective. His doctoral research, completed in 2012, examined social, cultural and legal representations of paedophilia, the contemporary fascination associated with such offending, and a range of punitive legal responses recently established in response to this. His work has been published in high quality international journals and book volumes, throughout which he has critically interrogated the enactment of post-sentence preventative detention and supervision of serious sex offenders; legislative hate crime provisions and the contested position of paedophilia within this legal category; neoliberal vigilance and its relationship with vigilantism; debates about artwork and the status of so-called sexualised children; and queer theory and its deconstructive potentials in illuminating more complex scenarios in which child sex abuse often occurs. Dr McDonald’s current research is primarily concerned with quasi-legal mechanisms of justice. This work seeks to expand understandings of what such mechanisms may, or may not, offer in the context of enduring criminal legal failures in adequately responding to historical and/or institutional child sex abuse. Through this work he is seeking to propose a broader frame of responsibility and recognisability that may accommodate more nuanced institutional critiques that encompass sites includin   


Member of

  • Society for the History of Childhood and Youth. Member 2019 -
  • Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand. Member 2018 -
  • Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology. Member 2014 -
  • Law, Literature and Humanities Association of Australia. Member 2013 -


Selected publications


Education and training

  • BA (Hons), University of Melbourne
  • PhD, University of Melbourne 2012

Awards and honors

  • Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology New Scholar Prize - Runner-Up Commendation, 2015
  • Best written paper, University of Sydney Law School Postgraduate Conference - Best Written Paper, 2009
  • Australian Postgraduate Award, 2006


Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • Dr McDonald is currently supervising the following PhD research students, and welcomes other expressions of interest that fall within his expertise: Tallace Bissett: ‘Contact: Victoria Police and Young African-Australians’ Rachel Hirsh: ‘Football, Gang Rape, and the Feel for the Game’ Matthew Mitchell: ‘Recognising Transgender Children: Law, Medicine and the Epistemology of Medicine’ James Petty: ‘Homlessness in Melbourne: Vision, Space, Regulation’ Hannah Williams: ‘Does the Policy Fit the Crime? Government Responses to High Profile Offending’ Recent and ongoing Masters and/or Honours supervisions include: Jessica Lamb (MA): ‘GLBTIQ Experiences and Perceptions of Victoria Police’ Letty Nieuwenhuizen (BA Hons): ‘Facebook as a Site of Gender Performance: Examining the Discourse on Men’s Perpetration of Violence Against Women through Comments’ Joanne Chow (BA Hons): ‘The Sydney Siege: Negotiating Loss and Consolidating the Community’ (Completed 2015) Thomas Burgess (BA Hons) ‘Moral Panics, Neoliberalism and the New Penology: The Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act’ (Completed 2014) Henry Paez (BA Hons): ‘Outsourcing humanitarianism: can and should private military contractors fulfil the international responsibility to protect?’ (Completed 2014) Laura Zarosinksi (BA Hons): ‘Thinking the Unthinkable: The Death of Zara Baker’ (Completed 2013)