Dr Vicki Sentas

LLB/BA (JCU), PhD (Monash), Admitted to Supreme Court of NSW 

Dr Vicki Sentas joined the Faculty of Law in July 2012 and is a senior lecturer. Vicki researches processes of criminalisation and racialisation in law and policing.  She teaches in criminal law, criminology and policing and coordinates the Police Powers Clinic, an experiential learning course, in partnership with Redfern Legal Centre.

Her recent and current research projects examine: the effects of counter-terrorism practices on criminal justice and racialised peoples; the criminalisation of armed conflicts, self-determination and diasporas through the use of security lists; police powers and their relationship to diverse forms of regulation including pre-emption and prosecution; police accountability and criminal justice reform.


Sentas V, 2014, Traces of Terror: Counter-Terrorism, Law, Policing and Race, OUP Oxford, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199674633.001.0001

Edited Books

Durbach A; Edgeworth B; Sentas V, (eds.), 2017, Law and Poverty in Australia 40 Years After the Sackville Report

Journal articles

Boon-Kuo L; Brodie A; Keene-McCann J; Sentas V; Weber L, 2020, 'Policing biosecurity: police enforcement of special measures in New South Wales and Victoria during the COVID-19 pandemic', Current Issues in Criminal Justice, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10345329.2020.1850144

Sentas V; Grewcock M, 2018, 'Criminal law as police power: Serious crime, unsafe protest and risks to public safety', International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, vol. 7, pp. 75 - 90, http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/ijcjsd.v7i3.554

Sentas V, 2018, 'Terrorist Organization Proscription as Counterinsurgency in the Kurdish Conflict', Terrorism and Political Violence, vol. 30, pp. 298 - 317, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09546553.2018.1432215

Sentas V, 2016, 'Policing the Diaspora: Kurdish Londoners, MI5 and the Proscription of Terrorist Organizations in the United Kingdom', British Journal of Criminology, vol. 56, pp. 898 - 918, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azv094

Sentas V; McMahon R, 2014, 'Changes to Police Powers of Arrest in New South Wales', Current Issues in Criminal Justice, vol. 25, pp. 785 - 801, http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=tsh&AN=95066470&site=ehost-live

Sentas V, 2010, 'Terrorist Organisation Offences and the LTTE: R v Vinayagamoorth', Current Issues in Criminal Justice, pp. 159 - 169

Sentas V, 2010, 'The Violence of Terrorist Organisation Bans', Criminal Justice Matters, vol. 82, pp. 16 - 17, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09627251.2010.525946

Sentas V; Whyte J, 2009, 'Law, Crisis, Revolution', Australian Feminist Law Journal, vol. 31, pp. 3 - 14, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13200968.2009.10854424

Pettitt A; Sentas V, 2005, 'Terrorism', Alternative Law Journal, vol. 30, pp. 283 - 285, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1037969x0503000606

Book Chapters

Sentas V, 2018, 'Beyond Media Discourse: Locating Race and Racism in Criminal Justice Systems', in Bhatia M; Poynting S; Tufail W (ed.), Crime, Media, Racism, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 359 - 379, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-71776-0

Sentas V, 2018, 'Beyond Media Discourse: Locating Race and Racism in Criminal Justice Systems', in Media, Crime and Racism, Springer International Publishing, pp. 359 - 379, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-71776-0_18

Sentas V, 2017, 'The Poverty of Criminal Law: Criminalisation and the Limits of Access to Justice', in Durbach A; Edgeworth B; Sentas V (ed.), Law and Poverty in Australia: 40 Years after the Poverty Commission. Editors: Durbach A, Edgeworth B, Sentas V . Federation Press, Sydney 2017, Federation Press, Sydney, pp. 249 - 264

Durbach A; Edgeworth B; Sentas V, 2017, 'Law and Poverty in Australia Today: A Reassessment', in Durbach A; Edgeworth B; Sentas V (ed.), Law and Poverty in Australia: 40 Years after the Poverty Commission, Federation Press, Sydney, pp. 1 - 11

Sentas V, 2012, 'One More Successful War? Tamil Diaspora and Counter-Terrorism after the LTTE', in Poynting S; Whyte D (ed.), Counter-Terrorism and State Political Violence, Routledge

Nadarajah S; Sentas V, 2012, 'The politics of state crime and resistance: Self- determination in Sri Lanka', in Stanley E; McCulloch J (ed.), State Crime and Resistance, Routledge, USA, pp. 68 - 83, http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9780203101063


Grewcock M; Sentas V, 2019, Rethinking Strip Searches by NSW Police, UNSW Law, Sydney, https://rlc.org.au/sites/default/files/attachments/Rethinking-strip-searches-by-NSW-Police-web.pdf

Sentas V; Pandolfini C, 2017, Policing Young People in NSW: A Study of the Suspect Targeting Management Plan, Youth Justice Coalition, Sydney, http://www.yjc.org.au/report.html

Sentas V; Boon-Kuo L; Hayes B; Sullivan G, 2014, Building Peace in Permanent War: Terrorist Listing and Conflict Transformation, International State Crime Initiative, London

Sentas V, 2010, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities, Submission to the Joint Committee for HumanRights on the Terrorist Asset-Freezing Etc. Bill (UK), UK

Sentas V; Dias M, 2009, Federation of Community Legal Centres (Vic.), Submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, Review of the re-listing of Hamas’ Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Kurdistan Workers Party, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and Palestinian Islamic Jihad as terrorist organizations under the Criminal Code Act 1995, Australia

Sentas V; Dias M, 2008, Federation of Community Legal Centres (Vic.), Submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, Review of the re-listing of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as a Terrorist Organisation, Australia


Conference Papers

Grewcock MJ, 2010, 'The Great Escape: refugees, detention and resistance', in [2010] UNSWLR 8, Victoria University of Wellington, presented at State Crime and Resistance Symposium, Victoria University of Wellington, 18 January 2010 - 19 January 2010, http://ssrn.com/abstract=1553008

 Research Supervision Award, ARC 2018

Criminal law, police powers, terrorism laws



Achievement|19 Nov 2020
UNSW Sydney academics honoured with pre-eminent legal research awards
The inaugural and highly competitive Australian Legal Research Awards have recognised three UNSW Law researchers.
Research|02 Mar 2020
UNSW academics say government response to Ice inquiry ‘disappointing’
The NSW government has already ruled out five recommendations from the Ice inquiry, including pill testing and more medically-supervised injecting centres.
Research|14 Feb 2020
Strip searches, STMPs: more evidence of excessive police power
Reports from the police watchdog on strip searches and the controversial Suspect Targeted Management Plan confirm growing concerns, say two UNSW Law researchers.
Research|08 Nov 2019
Music festival inquiry findings align with UNSW research
The NSW Deputy Coroner has recommended a pill testing trial, the decriminalisation of personal drug use and no sniffer dogs at music festivals.
Opinion|23 Aug 2019
Unlawful strip searches are on the rise in NSW and police aren’t being held accountable
In a non-policing context, having to perform such acts would be a serious assault. This is why strip searches are meant to be a last resort and only used in serious and urgent circumstances.
Research|Impact|22 Aug 2019
UNSW report reveals extraordinary increase in police strip searches
A report by UNSW Law academics Michael Grewcock and Vicki Sentas says the law does not give police clear guidance on conducting strip searches.
20 Nov 2017
Suspect Target Management Plan - Mornings with Wendy Harmer
Dr Vicki Sentas appeared on Mornings with Wendy Harmer (17 November 2017) to discuss her recent report into the STMP (Suspect Target Management Plan).
20 Nov 2017
NSW Police in Queanbeyan, Monaro area using controversial suspect list
Dr Vicki Sentas speaks to The Canberra Times (5 November 2017) regarding her recent report into the  NSW Police's Suspect Targeting Management Plan (STMP).
03 Nov 2017
Youth Unemployment and NSW Police's "Secret Blacklist"
Dr Vicki Sentas was interviewed on FBI Radio (28 October 2017) speaking about her recent report into the Suspect Target Management Plan (STMP).How did you first come across the program?
03 Nov 2017
Pre-emptive policing is harmful and oppressive, and requires independent scrutiny
OPINION: Dr Vicki Sentas, The Conversation, 2 November 2017.
01 Nov 2017
NSW Police has a 'secret algorithm' that judges how likely someone is to commit a crime
Dr Vicki Sentas speaks to Business Insider Australia (26 October 2017) regarding her recent report exposing the 'Suspect Target Management Plan', and it's use by police to identify people at an assumed high risk of committing a crime.
31 Oct 2017
NSW Police Are Using A Secret Algorithm To Target Children Who Might Commit A Future Crime
Dr Vicki Sentas spoke with Junkee Media (26 October 2017), regarding her new report titled, 'Policing Young People in NSW'. “This type of heavy-handed proactive policing is very damaging to the relationship between young people and the police and we believe it undermines key objectives of the NSW justice system, including diversion, rehabilitation and therapeutic justice,” said Dr Vicki Sentas.
31 Oct 2017
Children as young as 10 on "secret police blacklist": study
Dr Vicki Sentas spoke to ABC Radio AM (25 October 2017), regarding her recent report into the Suspect Target Management Plan (STMP).
26 Oct 2017
Secret NSW Police policy ‘harmful to young people'
Research led by UNSW has found that the NSW Police policy known as STMP is causing serious harm to young people and undermines the objectives of the NSW youth justice system.A NSW Police policy that aims to predict and prevent future crime is causing serious harm to young people and undermines the objectives of the NSW youth justice system, research led by a legal academic from UNSW Sydney has found.

Teaching Activity

Crime and the Criminal Process

Police Powers Clinic