Imagining the Victim of Crime

Imagining the Victim of Crime

Imagining the Victim of Crime

Imagining the Victim of Crime

Synopsis

"...the clarity in which the wide range of relevant issues are presented throughout the book makes this must-reading for new entrants to this field and for students."
International Review of Victimology

This book situates the contemporary preoccupation with criminal victimisation within the broader socio-cultural changes of the last twenty five years. In so doing it addresses not only the policy possibilities that have been generated as a consequence of those changes but also concerns itself with the ability of victimology to help make sense of this change. Written in the post 9/11 context this book considers the efficacy of theory and policy relating to questions of victimhood to accommodate the current political and cultural climate and offers a critical understanding of both. It adopts an explicitly cross-cultural position on these questions. It will be vital reading for anyone interested in the problems and possibilities posed by criminal victimisation understood in the broadest terms.

Excerpt

The good news is that the number of people who are victims of crime
has fallen by 40% compared to ten years ago. And if people are the
victims of crime, their experience of the criminal justice system is
vastly improved. For example, the Code of Practice for Victims of
Crime means that victims will be regularly updated about the pro
gress of their case. When victims, or witnesses, have to go to court,
they are helped throughout the process by Witness Care Units, the
Witness Service, and new measures in court which make giving
evidence less traumatic. Victims now have the opportunity to make a
personal statement of how the crime has had an impact on them,
and there has been a radical reform of sentencing. Many more vic
tims are now receiving support from Victim Support and other or
ganisations than in the past. (Home Office 2005)

The statement above is taken from the ministerial foreword to a Home Office consultation document published in December 2005. That document lists the achievements that have been made in delivering improved services to victims of crime and is concerned to explore where further work needs to be done. One of its main concerns is with improving the operation and delivery of the work of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), especially with respect to the speed with which it operates. Arguably this particular focus of concern emerged in the aftermath of the London bombings on 7 July 2005 that pointed to not only the efficiency with which the CICA operated but also what it understood, and was permitted to understand, were appropriate levels of compensation, for what kind of injury and for whom. At the time of writing, this process of consultation is yet to draw to a close, but the nature of it, and the spirit of the document, epitomized by the tone of the ministerial foreword quoted above, say much about how understandings of, and responses to, criminal victimization have changed since the first establishment in 1964 of what was then called the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. The intention of this book is to trace those changing understandings in order to offer a critical documentation and contextualization of the policy responses that are contemporarily in play. However, it is difficult to offer a full appreciation of the changes that have occurred in the local context of England and Wales, in which the Home Office might produce a document like Rebuilding Lives, without situating an . . .

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