Faculty and students invited to presentation

On Wednesday, December 13, the WVU Injury Control Research Center will host two suicide prevention experts from Queensland University of Technology. Professors Gordon Tait and Belinda Carpenter will provide a presentation open to faculty, staff and students. It will also be webcast live at www.hsc.wvu.edu/webcast.

The presentation, “Suicide Determination, Comparative Statistics and the Complexities of Coronial Practice,” will be 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. in 1909 HSC North. It will focus on administrative, legal, social and philosophical tensions underlying the decision-making procedures within Australian Coronial death investigations and their relation to widespread concerns over the accuracy of suicide statistics. 

The presentation will detail some of the central results from funded research into the manner in which coroners reach their findings, involving in-depth interviews with over 40 coroners, both in Australia and England.  The research points to a high degree of inconsistency within the various processes of suicide determination. It assesses the influence of families, within the context of ‘therapeutic jurisprudence,’ on the likelihood of a coronial finding of suicide and details concerns over approaches to issues of intent and standards of proof, as well as significant issues relating to different cultural understandings of suicide. The research also outlines practical and philosophical difficulties with the construction of this category of death itself.  It will be argued that a general reluctance to reach a finding of suicide, along with a complex a range of other issues, has an important role to play in the ongoing Coronial-authored underestimation of suicide.

About the Speakers

Professor Gordon Tait teaches philosophy at Queensland University of Technology. His research expertise includes the philosophy of education, young people and governance, the pathologising of conduct, and the links between suicide and Coronial practice. Tait has written six books—including works on philosophy, cultural studies, education and criminology—as well as 50 journal articles and 20 book chapters.

Professor Belinda Carpenter is assistant dean of research for the faculty of law at Queensland University of Technology. Since 2004, Carpenter has been researching Coronial decision-making and has been the lead CI on three ARC grants on this topic, as well as publishing 30 journal articles and book chapters on issues as diverse as Coronial suicide determination, indigenous death investigation by Coroners, Coronial autopsy decision-making, and Coronial practice and therapeutic jurisprudence.  She also researches on the topic of sex crimes and has written four books and numerous articles on topics ranging from prostitution and sex trafficking to incest and pornography.

Download and print the promotional flyer.

Contact Dannell Boatman at dboatman@hsc.wvu.edu with questions.