JSB173 Week 10 Exam Revision.docx

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Queensland University of Technology
Dr.Samantha Jeffries

JSB173 Week 10 Revision Victims in the Criminal Justice System Overview  Up until recently the Australian criminal justice system has been predominately offender-centred, leaving little attention paid to the victims. This has begun to change slightly in recent times, with the system now attempting to incorporate victims and take into account their interests and feelings.  Several groups which have pushed for this change have included the Women’s Liberation Movement, non-government victim’s support groups, academics and even the government itself.  We live in a society that highly fears crime. By focusing on the needs of victims, the government has a way of looking as though it is doing something productive in response to this fear. The public all sympathises with the victim and today the victim is viewed as a representative of us all.  While the victim’s experience is assumed as collective of us all, and the stories of victims are splashed across media etc. for us all to see. More and more, attention is being paid to the victims of crime and their voices are becoming more influential to all levels of the justice system. Police and Victims  Police are the first point of contact for most victims. Research has shown that victims need police to be sensitive to their circumstances, to keep them updated on the situation and to provide helpful and practical advice on how to avoid victimisation in the future.  One outcome of this is that police are beginning to play a more ‘social services’ role. At an organisational level, many police officers oppose this because they see crime fighting as their primary goal.  However, with the increasing recognition of victim’s needs, police are being encouraged to act more sensitively and socially towards victims and are encouraged to do so in the following ways: o Providing police with guidelines on how to deal with victims o Setting up specialist units to deal with certain victims o Providing officers with specialised training to help them meet victim needs  There are however concerns regarding the divergent nature of the police roles and the way they are now expected to be crime fighters as well as social workers. Victims and Court  Victims come into contact with the courts as either witnesses or injured parties.  Research has shown the victims are generally dissatisfied with the overall court process. They want to have their say, to tell their story, to be heard and to be met with sensitivity and understanding. Many also want compensation for the harm that has been caused to them.  In response to the
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