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Victim Care

Restorative justice seeks to meet the needs of both victims and offenders. These articles discuss practice issues and working with victims.

Malsch, Marijke. Victims on View: Are Victims Served by the Principle of Open Justice?
The rights of crime victims have gained far greater recognition in many countries in recent decades. Yet, Marijke Malsch remarks, there remain questions about a number of highly important aspects of the victim’s experience in the criminal justice process. Malsch examines these questions in this chapter. Specifically, she focuses on the consequences of "open justice" for victims of crime. At the time of the Inquisition in the sixteenth century, criminal processes were conducted in secret. In the centuries following the Inquisition, trials gradually came to be conducted in more open conditions where the public could attend. This “open justice,â€? notes Malsch, has a number of consequences for victims both in their role as witness and in their role as claimant of compensation for damages suffered. Malsch explores these consequences and the question of whether open justice serves victims through an examination of the Dutch legal system.
Groenhuijsen, Marc. Victims' Rights and Restorative Justice: Piecemeal Reform of the Criminal Justice System or a Change of Paradigm?
During the past two decades, writes Marc Groenhuijsen, nearly all modern criminal justice systems have enacted reforms on behalf of victims of crime. Even criminal justice systems that are significantly different have produced strikingly similar provisions with respect to the interests of crime victims. Groenhuijsen contends, however, that two general problems remain unsolved. One is implementation. Reforms are comparatively easy to pass; they are much more difficult to put into practice as intended. The other is the precise theoretical nature of the reform efforts on behalf of crime victims. That is, are they merely refinements of currently existing criminal justice systems? Or are they expressions of a new way of thinking, a way of thinking which is incompatible with the basic structure of the traditional model of criminal justice, especially insofar as they are part of the wider movement which is restorative justice? Groenhuijsen addresses these two problems as closely interconnected. Thus, in this chapter he explores victims’ rights and restorative justice with respect to fundamental questions of incremental change or shift in paradigm when it comes to crime and response to crime.
Freckelton, Ian. Compensation for Victims of Crime
In discussing compensation for victims of crime, Ian Freckleton begins with the observation that payment of financial compensation for non-pecuniary effects of crime – such as pain and suffering – is a comparatively recent phenomenon. It dates from increased awareness, starting in the 1960s and 1970s, of the impact of criminal violence upon victims. However, what seemed at first as a breakthrough in community empathy and governmental responsibility for victims has been followed in some countries by a backlash against the expense in state funding of compensation schemes for criminal injuries. Hence from various sources, such as the law and order movement and restorative justice, the alternative of criminal injuries compensation paid by the offender has gained momentum. In this context, Freckelton focuses upon the Australian experience of criminal injuries compensation. He highlights its evolution and places it within the international context as a stark example of changing governmental attitudes toward the needs of victims.
Fattah, Ezzat A. Gearing Justice Action to Victim Satisfaction: Contrasting Two Justice Philosophies: Retribution and Redress
Ezzat Fattah observes that various developments in recent decades - for example, enhanced awareness of victims' rights and the passage of victims' right bills in a number of countries - may lead to the popular perception that victims of crime are much better off now than they have ever been. It may appear that criminal justice systems have moved from emphasis on the offender and obsession with punishment to victim-centered or victim-oriented policies and objectives. However, he contends, the reality is far different from popular perception and political rhetoric. Progress has been made; gains have been achieved. Nevertheless, the situation of the vast majority of victims has scarcely improved, asserts Fattah. Fundamental change must yet occur if the real interests of victims are to become the main objectives of the criminal justice system. As Fattah explores and argues in this chapter, there must be a paradigm shift from retributive to restorative justice.
Buruma, Ybo. Doubts on the Upsurge of the Victim's Role in Criminal Law
As Ybo Buruma points out, a remarkable transformation has occurred in the last two or three decades regarding the way in which the police, judicial authorities, and scientists in many countries think about victims of crime. Significant legal and organizational changes have taken place in favor of the victim. While speculating on many possible causes for this transformation, Buruma in general terms connects new perspectives on victims to a longstanding crisis regarding the meaning and justification of criminal law and punishment. With this mind, he inquires in this essay whether restorative justice and strengthening of victims' rights are actually answers to this crisis. Toward this end, Buruma distinguishes between restorative justice and victim-oriented criminal law. He then applies this distinction in comparing ways to respond to severe, ordinary, and minor criminal cases.
Kaptein, Hendrik and Malsch, Marijke. Crime, Victims, and Justice. Essays on Principles and Practice
This collection of essays has its origins in a conference called "Restorative Justice: Criminal Justice for Victims?" The conference was held in Amsterdam on 1 December 2000. Representing various fields - including law, psychiatry, philosophy, and the social sciences - the speakers at the conference were prominent scholars from Canada, the United Kingdom, and The Netherlands. This book contains updated editions of key papers from the conference, along with additional essays written specifically for inclusion in this volume. The central topics of the conference and the book are restorative justice, its relationships to current criminal justice systems, and its possible benefits for victims and offenders. More specifically, essays deal with a number of issues concerning victims of crime, issues such as victims' rights and needs, satisfaction for victims, compensation for victims, open justice, and punishment and retribution in relation to reparation. The contributors span a range from strong proponents of restorative justice to those who find the introduction of restorative justice into criminal justice processes problematical in significant ways.
Immarigeon, Russ. Victim Services and Restorative Justice: Addressing a Critic's Concerns
Russ Immarigeon has argued that restorative justice – instead of empowering victims and offenders to address positively the conflict between them – is at risk of becoming simply a vehicle for affirming victims and providing victim services. This argument is based on his perspective that victim services and restorative justice practices are both useful and necessary, but that they are different services. In this article, Immarigeon responds to a critique of his argument from a victim assistance advocate. That critic characterized restorative justice as oriented around offenders and as useful for only certain offenses (property crimes in particular). The critic also remarked that offenders get more attention from the criminal justice system than victims get. Immarigeon disputes these objections through discussion of the following topics: the politics of victim services; the question of restorative justice being offender-centered; victim satisfaction; shaming; and the potential of victim services and restorative justice.
Editor. Focus on Victims Provokes Discussion
In 2003 Prison Fellowship New Zealand celebrated its twentieth anniversary with a conference at Waikanae, New Zealand. At the conference, Chris Marshall, chair of Waitakere Restorative Justice Community Group, addressed the attendees on the responsibilities of churches towards victims of crime. His address provoked much discussion. He argued that churches struggle to respond appropriately to crime victims. Yet, there is much that churches can do, from getting members involved in victim support organizations to establishing church-based parallels for victim support. As the basis of his remarks, he commended restorative justice as a promising development for victims, and he urged churches to give support to it.
Setlatjile, Dudu. Victim Involvement in Restorative Justice
Restorative justice theory and practice have been growing in South Africa in recent years. At the same time, many have questioned whether restorative justice adequately addresses the needs of victims. For example, some have contended that it is oriented toward the offender and not the victim, and that it is inappropriate for cases such as rape, murder, and domestic violence. Setatjile argues, however, that the main aims of the victims’ movement are congruent with restorative justice. The core issue then, as explored in this paper, is how to involve victims in restorative justice programs such that victims’ needs and rights are not compromised.
Williams, Brian. Victims of Crime and Community Justice
Victims of crime do not benefit directly from criminal justice policies that diminish the rights of offenders and increase their penalties. Victims of Crimes and Community Justice lays bare the assumptions about victims and offenders that restrict efficient policy-making and proposes a more balanced approach that takes into account both the needs of the victim and the responsibilities of the offender. Brian Williams evaluates proposed solutions, including restorative justice and informal community justice, and draws on evidence and experiences from the UK and around the world to investigate which measures have proved effective and how criminal justice policies might be redressed. (Publisher's abstract).
Newell, Tim and Tudor, Barbara. Escaping Victimhood: Rationale behind the workshops.
It is possible however to address the issues arising and the symptomology which has arisen as a result of exposure to the traumatic event. The premise is that if an individual was ordered and fully functional mentally, emotionally and psychologically before the traumatic incident, has become impaired affecting their ability to function by the traumatic incident, then with the correct type of intervention and support the individual can return to full function; in other words the individual is not a psychiatric patient but rather a traumatized victim. Restorative work for any of the above conditions has key elements which are necessary for successful outcomes for the sufferer. (excerpt)
Umbreit, Mark S and Coates, Robert B and Vos, Betty. The Impact of Victim-Offender Mediation: Two Decades of Research.
Innovation and reform in criminal justice often suggest more than they deliver. Sometimes an innovation is new more in name than in underlying program values and content, and sometimes a reform is embraced with enthusiasm but without scrutiny. As one of the oldest and most widely used expressions of restorative justice around the world, victim-offender mediation (VOM) has exhibited both of these traits at times and in places. Nevertheless, VOM is, the authors assert, one of the most empirically grounded of emerging justice interventions. Against this background, the authors offer an overview of thirty eight empirical studies designed to assess the growth, implementation, and impact of VOM programs. Umbreit, Coates, and Vos summarize and comment upon the research results with particular attention to client satisfaction, fairness, restitution, diversion, recidivism, cost, and VOM and violent crimes.
Greenbaum, Bryant and Amoah, Jewel. Has Everything Been Done? The Nature of Assistance to Victims of Past Political Atrocities in Southern Africa.
In this research report, Jewel Amoah and Bryant Greenbaum review the availability and character of victim support services for survivors of political violence in the context of political transition and reconciliation in the following countries: Namibia; Mozambique; Zimbabwe; Malawi; and South Africa. They begin their paper by looking at relevant theoretical and international considerations with respect to international obligations and victim support services. They then profile each of the five countries in the following areas: historical background; the nature of political violence and the current political situation; views of the public, victims, and ex-combatants; government policy; and the role of civil society.
O'Hara, Erin Ann. Victim Participation in the Criminal Process.
In general, victims have been largely ignored in the legal academy, despite their inescapable presence for crime and consequent legal proceedings. Only recently, notes Erin Ann O’Hara, has criminal law scholarship begun to cast its attention on victims of crime. Still, in the legal academy there is significant skepticism toward and downright opposition to arguments and initiatives in favor of direct or even indirect participation of victims in criminal and legal proceedings. Against these perspectives, O’Hara contends that victim involvement, as a positive matter, is becoming and will to continue to become a reality of the criminal justice process.
Gorgenyi, Ilona. Restorative justice in criminal matters and the Hungarian victim's position (The victim's position in relation to RJ in Hungary).
In my presentation I will follow the classification system of Restorative Justice worked out by Paul McCold. In Hungary, there is a professional knowledge about a number of definitions of Restorative Justice given by Tony Marshall or Howard Zehr as well as by different international documents. The starting point is that there exists no “fully�? restorative justice in criminal matters in Hungary. That is why, following McCold, I will present the “mostly�? and “partly�? restorative approaches existing in this country. McCold mostly regards victim-offender mediation, victim restitution while he puts crime compensation in the third group. In Hungary the codification work on mediation in criminal cases and on victim support is in progress, and these two acts will be introduced in the near future. By now, the application of diversion including a RJ element has become well-known among criminal lawyers in our country. I would like to give a summary of the different solutions that promote (or may promote) the future application of mediation in Hungary. (excerpt)
Groh, Arlene. Restorative Justice: A Healing Approach to Elder Abuse.
Although causing physical, financial, or psychological harm to an older adult violates Canadian law, relatively few such cases are brought to the criminal justice system, largely because abusers are family members and caregivers upon whom victims depend. The Restorative Justice Approaches to Elder Abuse Project in Waterloo, Ontario, aims to decrease the fear of older victims of abuse and increase the community's ability to respond to abuse by providing a safe environment in which to address abuse in a fair and just manner for all concerned. In most cases, the project uses the "circle" process. After the screening, two facilitators are assigned to the case. One facilitator contacts the victim to hear his/her side of the case, and another facilitator contacts the alleged offender to hear his/her account of what has occurred. With permission of the two parties, facilitators may also contact supporters of the two parties. When the facilitators believe they have contacted and obtained perspectives from all of the appropriate parties, all are brought together. The circle process is structured so that all parties have an opportunity to express their feelings and ideas about how to resolve the case. Although accountability and remedies for harms caused have priority, circle guidelines ensure that the offender is not demeaned nor treated with disrespect, as the focus is on healing relationships. A formal evaluation of the project is planned. Abstract courtesy of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service,
Marshall, Christopher D.. Satisfying Justice: Victims, Justice and the Grain of the Universe.
In many ways the religious community still struggles to respond appropriately to the plight of victims, and the legal community still has much to learn about satisfying justice, in both senses of the phrase – what truly satisfies the demands of justice, and what form of justice brings most satisfaction to the parties involved, particularly to victims. In this article I first offer some reflections on the nature of victimisation and on why the presence of victims poses particular challenges to the faith community. I then turn to consider restorative justice, which is one of the most promising justice alternatives to emerge in recent times. I propose that there are theological as well as practical reasons for why restorative justice merits our support and confidence as a satisfactory, and satisfying way, to address the justice needs of victims, as well as those of others caught up in the tragedy of crime. (excerpt)
Leggett, Ted. Victims' views: insights from an inner-city victim survey.
As widespread concern about crime and violence continues to surface within Inner-Johannesburg, the public calls for the criminal justice system to walk a tough line with regard to punishment for crime and violence, including harsh legislation on sentencing and bail. On the other hand, the public also desires the system to keep an eye toward rehabilitation of offenders. An Inner-Johannesburg study of victims of various crimes shows that “seeking vengeanceâ€? was not of the outmost concern for most victims. Their first priorities are to “normalize their livesâ€? and “avoid future victimization.â€? With respect to offenders, the victim responses show that retribution is high on the list – wishes for physical punishment and suffering of the offender topping the responses. However, a large number of victims also rated “telling the offender how you feelâ€? surprisingly high – restorative goal. Overall, an opportunity exists for more creative approaches to criminal incidents, approaches including restorative justice. Abstract courtesy of the Marquette University Law School-Restorative Justice Initiative
Batley, Mike and Dodd, J L. International experiences and lessons.
This article begins with the premise that modern restorative justice practices draw upon traditional practices found in numerous societies across the world. The authors illustrate the implementation of current restorative justice practices through five different contexts. The article goes into detail in explaining restorative justice processes of criminal justice, child protection and family preservation, school discipline, interpersonal conflict, and political conflict. In addition, the authors explain the obstacles of restorative justice methods in our modern societies. Specially, they emphasize the need for South Africa to incorporate local and traditional practices into their current restorative justice methods. Abstract courtesy of the Marquette University Law School-Restorative Justice Initiative
Lemonne, Anne and Van Camp, Tinneke. Critical Reflection on the Development of Restorative Justice and Victim Policy in Belgium
The challenges of the criminal justice system, including the needs of crime victims and the growing attention for restorative justice as an alternative to retributive criminal procedures, have attracted the attention of the United Nations Congress in Bangkok (April 2005). This paper unites both interests in analysing the evolution and implementation of restorative justice practices in Belgium in light of the developments concerning the policy in favour of victims in the same country. In this paper, we will essentially analyze the evolution of the position of victims of crime committed by adult offenders. Therefore, the first part of our contribution discusses the victim policy developments in Belgium. The second part deals with the description of restorative justice developments for adult offenders at the level of policy and practices in the same country. Finally, the last part of this contribution focuses on the parallels between policies and practices in both fields and in particular aims to argue how restorative practices for adult offenders and victim policy currently implemented in Belgium answer to the victim's needs and rights, as they have been formulated by the Belgian National Forum for Victim Policy. In addition, we will explore the complementarity between restorative justice developments and the policy in favour of victims, which transcend the Belgian boundaries. Our discussion is mainly based on analyses of national legislation, on results of evaluative research having already been conducted in the field of restorative justice and on ongoing research regarding the consideration of victims in the criminal justice system in Belgium, and on the study of the scientific literature on victim policy and restorative justice. It is therefore to be considered as an inductive process of reflection, which can produce new research questions and more profound empirical analyses. (excerpt)

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