Would greater victim participation benefit criminal justice?

  • Jacqueline Murchie

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

Abstract

There are continual calls from victims' rights campaigners for greater victim participation in criminal justice proceedings. This thesis examines this call. In order to appraise greater victim participation, it is imperative that we understand what is meant by the terms 'victim' and 'participation'. Without this understanding we would be unable to determine accurately whether or not greater victim participation would benefit criminal justice. Further, any question of increasing victim participation must be assessed according to the aims of criminal justice. As such, this thesis begins by discussing the aims of criminal justice; fairness, truth-finding and catharsis. By understanding the aims of criminal justice, this thesis can evaluate the purported benefits of greater victim participation. Using the analysis and knowledge gained from the previous chapters, this thesis concludes that greater levels of procedural victim participation will not alone benefit criminal justice. Giving victims greater levels of procedural participation; giving them a voice or more control of the process for example, without ensuring that the basic service rights of victims are working effectively would not be beneficial. For victim participation to function effectively, all levels of participation must work together ensuring that at all times victims are supported, educated and informed about the criminal justice process. A shift in focus, away from advocating greater procedural rights for victims and instead ensuring the process as a whole is effective will be more beneficial to criminal justice and the parties involved.
Date of Award1 Nov 2012
LanguageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorElizabeth Weaver (Supervisor) & Cyrus Tata (Supervisor)

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