Victim Participation in the Criminal Justice System

As a result of a number of developments—including the rise of restorative justice—victims in common-law jurisdictions now have far more input into the criminal process. Victim participatory rights are currently recognized as an important component of criminal justice proceedings. Research has shown that victim participation in justice can help victims who want to be included in proceedings and that victim participation does not result in difficulties or create problems for the smooth operation of the criminal justice system. However, because victim participation in sentencing decisions challenges traditions and established patterns within the criminal courts, these rights sometimes encounter resistance in their implementation. As legal cultures are transformed, however, and victims are increasingly perceived as a legitimate party in proceedings, victim participation can become an acceptable ...

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