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Monash University
General Education Studies
James Roffee

Victimology and criminalisation Victim in criminal law  Historically, victim was responsible for the retribution – punishment is for the victim’s satisfaction. o Satisfaction and punishment of offender. o The state replaces the victim.  If you commit a crime, you not only injure the victim but you have committed a crime against the state as well.  Upset the crowd as well as the actual victim.  The offender is held responsible by the state. o Begins the neglect of the victim.  Concerned about harms to the state and social order.  State uses the body of the individual who has been harmed to place punishment/prosecution onto the offender.  Criminal law needs to be sufficiently clear and precise to enable us to identify the harm/wrong with which we’re trying to criminalise (for prevention or restitution). Victim-driven criminalisation  Expansion of the state may be attributed to the victims’ rights movement – but findings suggest little link. o Victim criminal law doesn’t actually cause the victims’ rights movement – most new crimes contain a victim and they were the focus and trying to understand why this is the case. o Frameworks about why they are the focus (Sebba):  Analytic – determine if offences possess some characteristic that link them in a conceptual way to victim.  Rhetorical – focus on language employed in definitions or debates preceding enactment. o Moved from victim-driven to victim-oriented. o E.g. smacking children – movement is pro-child, not anti-adult.  There are groups that think people should be able to riot (pro- literary) and do whatever they want as long as they don’t harm anyone.  But children are copying their parents – not smacking to deliberately create victimisation, they’re just trying to teach them to do the right thing. Distinguish types of crimes  Mala in Se offences – by nature violate the natural, moral or public principles of a civilised society. o Rape. o Murder. o Theft. o Burglary. o Robbery.  Mala Prohibita offences – wrongs by virtue of being prohibited (genuinely bad). o Trespassing. o Gambling. o Prostitution. o Speeding. o Intoxication. o Tax avoidance. Victims and criminal proceedings  How victims have been localised in criminal proceedings.  Focus on extending procedural rights. o Having access to police officers, family liaison officers, sexual offences officers, etc. o Informing the victim of which state the case is at e.g. when it goes to court, when the offender is likely to be released.  Victim benefit.  State benefit – creating a situation where a victim cannot deny their engagement in the CJS in order to avoid engaging in a prosecution (pawn of the state, seeking to punish and go along with the state process).  Compensation schemes: o Satisfaction from punishment from the victim is not usually achieved through the use of state processes. o If we recognise that there are structural problems that created the situation where the offender went on to offend and be convicted, does that mean that society has now a greater responsibility to that person and more generally to us all in creating a situation where offenders are as they are today (offending against us all because we are all victims). o Not all receive compensation but it injures us all because we all think we’re going to be victims.  Victim-impact statements – achieve/legitimise judges in giving out harsher sentences. o If the victim says how it has affected them e.g. they will never work again, the judge will give a harsher sentences.  Bill of rights: o Mitigating impact of Constitutional protections for the offender. o Right of innocence, defence, etc. Who is the victim  Our conceptions of the victims and victimisation are optional, discretionary, and by no means innately given. o We don’t have an innate disgust against offences but we have been socialised that those are things we do not want in our society.  Social construction of law itself, all crimes have a victim, o The conception of the victim precedes the definition of an act as criminal. o Makes us think critically about how we construct our society and understand what it wants, or find a victim and create criminalisation based on that.  Only those acts which cause harm to those who are able to make and enforce t
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