The Structure of Criminal Procedure: Laws and Practice of France, the Soviet Union, China, and the United States

By Barton L. Ingraham | Go to book overview

3
INTAKE

Considering the many reasons people have for not reporting crime-- fear of retaliation by the offender or his supporters, reconciliation between the offender and his victim, unwillingness of the victim to involve himself in official proceedings, lack of faith in the ability of officials to render effective aid, feelings of guilt or uncertainty about one's own role in the commission of the offense, and so forth--it is not surprising that in every nation crime occurs that is never brought to the attention of authorities. This cannot be a matter of indifference to authorities whose duty is to preserve public order and protect people from victimization, since the detriment to public welfare does not depend on whether victims feel themselves to have been injured or whether they are ready to complain about what they have suffered. Indeed, victims may be unaware that they have been victimized or their failure to complain may be based on some selfish motive indifferent to the public objective of preventing the continuation of similar activities. Civil remedies are usually available for those who feel injured enough to resort to the law on their own initiative. Criminal law, on the other hand, is not designed for the purpose of settling, amicably or otherwise, interpersonal or interorganizational disputes; it has the purpose of rectifying wrongs to public interests whether or not there is a private complainant. Moreover, it cannot be assumed that the greater the injury to the public interest, the greater the likelihood that

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