Thursday, September 26, 2019

Contemporary responses by the criminal justice system towards victims Essay

Contemporary responses by the criminal justice system towards victims and witnesses of crime - Essay Example Because most of the documented crime reported to the police by victims and/or witnesses, they evidently have a crucial role to play in the process of dispensing justice, especially in those cases where in the accused denies any culpability. Maybe unexpectedly, considering its reliance on the eagerness of victims and/or witnesses to cooperate, the response of the CJS towards victims and/or witnesses has beforehand been described, at least in common law systems, by disregard and every so often by careless and unsympathetic treatment. Nevertheless, recently, a string of victim-oriented programmes has been launched in the United Kingdom. This essay argues that victims and witnesses nowadays enjoy a much greater role and importance in the criminal justice system than in the earlier periods. The investigation by the Victims’ Champion for the Ministry of Justice of the response of the CJS to the victims and witnesses emphasised in its statement: â€Å"A great deal of positive work h as been done to improve the support available for victims and witnesses but there is still a disparity between policy and reality for victims† (Easton & Piper, 2012, p. 188). ... n three phases: the years related to the growth of compensation, 1960-75; the years related to the growth of particular programmes to assist victims and witnesses, 1975-80; and the era from the 1980s when victim assistance initiatives were established and a greater participation of victims and witnesses in the CJS was called for (Easton & Piper, 2012, pp. 188-189; Hostettler, 2009). The support for victims and witnesses in recent times has had two quite distinct features: first, it may be considered a victims’ welfare model, while the other procedure is to grant victims importance to affect results. Victims’ needs were firmly highlighted in Criminal Justice: The Way Ahead. Victims have been granted the opportunity to give a personal report to the court describing the impacts of the crime on their lives. In April 2006, a Code of Practice for the Victims of Crime was ratified (Easton & Piper, 2012, p. 189; Wahidin & Carr, 2013; Dignan, 2005). Nevertheless, in order to dem onstrate how the response of the criminal justice system to victims and witnesses within the criminal justice system has improved in the contemporary period, it is important to look at the victims’ status within the CJS during the earlier periods. In particular, the ‘era of victim disenfranchisement’ emerged in the 19th century, roughly at the same time as the state started to take on the prime obligation for the trial of criminals instead of handing over the task to prosecution bodies, or to victims and witnesses themselves, as in the earlier period (Dignan, 2005, p. 63; Comwell, 2008). According to Comwell (2008), this reassignment of duties co-occurred with the launching of specialised law enforcement, whose duty was to investigate crimes and put alleged criminals on trial. Theoretically,

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