LAWS 2301 Lecture Notes - Victims Family, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Unemployment Benefits

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December 4th 2012
Lecture 12
Victims (Chapter 4.4)
- roles, rationales
- services, needs
- recent initiatives
At the heart of every crime there is some form of victim damage; emotional, financial, physical
Final exam - format
- Part 1 sample questions
- Part 2 essay question
Clarke: roles of victim/state Victim:
•raw material
•give evidence
symbolic presence--legitimates the use of the state power against the accused
•provide justice, moderation, rationality – instead of allowing the victim’s family to go after the accused
•preserve order – preserves order when people have been victimized to do something about it
Clarke: The only power left to the victim, is not to report the crime in the first place (don’t provide raw
material)33-50% of people do not report crimes: This also depends on the type of crimes 1 in 6 sexual
assaults are reported (higher rate, 1 in 20)
There is a problem in the CJS regarding victims; it does not always serve their interests, takes away their
conflicts, leaves victims with anger and frustration—causing a rise in victim’s rights movements (60-70s)
Victims’ rights movement
•being left out = anger/frustration
•poor treatment when they did enter the courtnot only were they victimized by accused, but also in
the way they have been treated by the police, prosecutor and courts themselves (double victimization)
•fear of crime—wanted to assert some form of control over the problemvictims banding together
•law & order movement in U.S.—the idea that the government was not doing enough, was “soft” on
•women’s rights movement—women were particularly victimized by CJSparticularly in sexual assault
cases (not feeling protected)
•self-help movementreflection of the loss of faith in governmentgovernment was not doing enough
to help victims, they have to do it themselves
•humanitarian concerns— the idea that victims suffer some kind of loss and need to be compensated
for that loss (loss of state not providing adequate help) ex: victim’s services, liberal movements in 70-80s
Things to remember about victims;
1) Victims are a heterogeneous grouptheir needs are not uniform
2) Neither victims nor groups that work for them speak with one voicedifferent groups represent
different needs of victims/ different constituencies
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3) No consensus on how to improve reforms for victims in government treatment: some say more
counseling, more punitive responses on part of statehence why politicians claim to be
claiming to be “doing something” to line up victim’s groups behind them
***As victims became more vocal, they became easier to pander to- the reality of treatment is often
something very different
4) Victims can mean different thingsdifferent types of victims; (only victims of violent crimes???)
Victim is also used in senses; victim of accident, victim of circumstances
5) It is acknowledged that victims have been poorly treated in CJSonce they were pushed out
they have not had an easy time getting back in (some more so than others- sexual assault
victims) AND they continue to not be well received in the court processes!
6) Victims and offenders share the same characteristicscrime is most likely to take place in a
home or an intimate situation (by a friend, relative etc.)this poses a problem on how to design
programs which recognize victimization as it occurs in society (not all victims are victimized by
Types of groups - concerned with:
•better services wantedparticularly for victims of violence
•better restitution for victimswhether through criminal inquiries, compensation boards: how do you
get more money to put the victim back the way they were
•achieving harsher penalties/punishments—these groups want more voice, harsher punishments
•special or focused concerns—sexual assault crisis centers, MADD, elderly crime advocacy groups: often
a lot of overlap in these groups
•crisis & victims’ support services—generally, these tend to be self-starters, tend to develop without
state support (sexual assault help groups)
•witness assistance schemes—(a lot of state support): We want better witnesses to give better
evidenceand therefore, make a better system
•compensation schemes— certain types of crimes, victims were eligible for compensation (however, the
funds were relatively limited as to who they apply to)Ontario: Criminal Inquiries Compensation Board
•restitution & reconciliation schemes—Seen to be making the formal setting cheaper, thought to be
bringing victims back in the sentencing part (not in a court setting)
•locate/referral services—The victim is having contact with some type of central agency; police may
refer (places to go for dealing with hate crime)mostly volunteer supported groups, sometimes state
•legislation allowing more V involvement—This has been one of the big pushes on the part of some
victims wanting a larger role in a formal way; trying to strengthen the rights of victims within the
process itself (a right to speak to sentence, was a possibility in the 80’s until made legal right), rights to
be notified when a person is being released on bail, parole
Traditional role of victim: give evidence, strengthen prosecutor’s case
There has been a lot of debate around allowing the victim a greater role!
Rationales for V involvement
•represent public interest or at least a class of the public and therefore serve a symbolic presence
•property right in V— argument that the victim has a right to be there because a property right has
been created
•demand for public input-- theories of how to get more, and better input
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