Essay on The Impact Of Victims Of Crime On The Criminal Justice System

Essay on The Impact Of Victims Of Crime On The Criminal Justice System

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The Impact of victims of crime have long been considered to be overlooked when it comes to the criminal justice system. It is common for victims of crime to feel powerless and without a voice in the criminal justice system. However, since 1980 Australian victims have had the chance to be heard through a document called a Victim Impact Statement, giving the victims a chance to tell the courts about the effect that the crime has burdened on them individually, physically and emotionally as well as their families and friends as a society.
According to the Australian Institute of Criminology (2016) “A Victim Impact Statement (VIS) is a statement about the impact that a crime has had on the victim, once an offender has been convicted and is to be sentenced. A VIS can provide you with an opportunity to participate in the criminal justice process by informing the court about the effects of the crime on you.”
The criminal justice system aims to support victims and this has been a process that is forever changing. With the introduction of the VIS it has proven to have a twofold affect. If the offender is found guilty their sentences were usually made to be more severe. However, many offenders have been found innocent as the VIS had no effect as the victim was perceived and seen as vindictive (Bandes and Salerno, 2014).

The perception that the criminal law is insensitive has prompted to requests being made to reintegrate victims into the criminal justice process, or more simply, to offer them with a system that introduces a route in which the crime has influenced them as individuals, and their worries or wishes in regards to the crime and the nature and characteristics of the offender. (Bandes and Blumenthal, 2012)
This has led to severa...

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..., found a similarly positive reaction such as causalities who presented a VIS were satisfied that they had done as such. (Manikis, 2015)
There are many arguments for and against the use of VIS’s. For a victim that has suffered from a criminal act it is often the only avenue they have to give an account of not only the crime but the ramifications it has caused to them, their families and friends. As a society it is important to support victims, however, these statements can work in an adverse way where the offender no longer has a fair sentencing as a jury can often be affected by their statement, not just the facts of the case. It can be argued that offenders lose their rights for the crimes they have committed and the victim deserve a voice. All this is true but as a society we must believe that the judicial system must be fair for both the victim and the offender.

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