Criminal Justice System Question

Criminal Justice System Question - Library Card No....

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Library Card No. 0350575B How should the needs of victims be addressed in the Criminal Justice System? INRODUCTION: In order to answer this question and to argue that the needs of victims are far from satisfactory in current criminal justice system, I am going to put forward both theoretical and practical suggestions on ways in which the needs of victims should be addressed. A short text like this has to be selective, so I will focus on how their needs can be addressed in terms of general procedural fairness. The main issues I examine are firstly, who are the victims? Secondly, do victims have legal rights, Thirdly, Hidden Crime and Hidden Victims. Fourthly, the needs of Vulnerable and Intimidated Witnesses and Victims. Fifthly, communication between the victims and the criminal justice system. Definitions of Victims? On the face of it, it seems easy and straight forward to distinguish between ‘victims’ and ‘offenders’. The term ‘victims’ in my essay will be used to include persons other than the ‘real’ victim. For example the real victim could be the deceased and then his surviving family members who are deeply affected by the offence could be said to be victimised in a secondary or indirect sense. As Sanders 1 rightly points out that most victims and offenders have more in common with each other. Offenders are disproportionately represented among the most victimised sections of society (young males at the poorest and most socially marginalized end of the social scale). The 1 Sanders (2002) ‘Victim participation in criminal justice and social exclusion’ 1
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Library Card No. 0350575B overlap between the ‘victim’ population and the ‘offender’ population is huge. The two groups are completely mixed up. It is hard to completely separate the two categories. As Rock points out, apart from the victims of the most traumatic crimes, ‘victims’ as a group do not exist in the sense of being a pressure group, and most victim initiatives are a result of pressure for them, rather than by them 2 . Sanders 3 points out there are crimes without obvious victims, for example drugs and public order offences. And as Winter 4 argues that in the current criminal justice system, crimes require ‘real’ victims and so crimes without victims are not real crimes at all. On the other hand, victims of ‘regulatory’ offences such as fraud, pollution are rarely defined as such. Although ‘regulatory’ crimes produce more easily identifiable victims than drugs and most public offences, they are not listed in the Victims’ Charter 5 . Regulatory offences need to be included in order to be able to identify victims properly. Hidden crime and Hidden victims: 2 2.P Rock, ‘Victims’ Rights in England and Wales at the Beginning of the 21 st Century’ in as quoted from, Sanders (2002) ‘Victim participation in criminal justice and social exclusion’ pg2.
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This note was uploaded on 02/25/2012 for the course CJ 3323 taught by Professor Mijares during the Fall '10 term at Texas State.

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Criminal Justice System Question - Library Card No....

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