JSB173 Notes for Final Exam.docx

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Dr.Samantha Jeffries

JSB173 Final Revision Notes for ExamVictims in the Criminal Justice SystemUp until recently the Australian criminal justice system has been predominately offendercentred 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 feelingsSeveral groups which have pushed for this change have included the Womens Liberation Movement nongovernment victims support groups academics and even the government itselfWe 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 allWhile the victims 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 systemPolice and VictimsPolice 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 futureOne 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 victims 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 needsThere 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 workersVictims and CourtVictims 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 themIn response to the victims wants and needs initiatives have been lead including changes to court environment support services and procedural rights
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