Positives and the Negatives of Victim Impact Statements

Positives and the Negatives of Victim Impact Statements. Given that the commission of a crime is regarded as a commission of an offence against the ‘state’, criminal cases have often been regarded as mere contests between the prosecutor as the representative of the state, and the accused persons as the perpetrator of the crime.

The actual party that suffered due to the crime committed by the accused, namely, the victim of the crime played a rather insignificant role in the imposition of punishment upon the accused. Recent reforms have however revitalised the rights and interests of criminal victims during the sentencing process, and this has led to various developments in the criminal justice system, with the aim of fundamentally integrating the victims into the criminal justice process.

Positives and the Negatives

This concept of crime as an offence against the state, and its attendant administration of justice, have resulted in a host of economic and psychological problems for crime victims, and most importantly in perceptions of injustice. National movements concerned with ameliorating the victim’s plight have emerged in numerous countries, including Australia.

Initially the movements’ efforts to achieve reforms focused on the economic and psychological difficulties resulting from the crime. Programs for compensation from the state and restitution from the offender were instituted to alleviate the financial difficulties associated with victimisation. Psychological counselling and other services to treat the distress resulting from the crime were also provided. As the process has continued, concern for victims’ rights expanded into areas beyond its initial focus and has centred recently on victims’ reintegration into the criminal justice process (Erez 1989a).

Conduct a search for two professional journal articles, other than the two assigned in this week’s reading, which are related to the topic of victim and execution impact statements. Write a 4-5 page paper, consisting of a review of all four journal articles and address the following:

Report on what you believe to be the purpose and reasoning behind victim and execution impact statements.
Describe why there is such controversy surrounding the use of the statements.

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