Criminal Justice in Europe: A Comparative Study

By Phil Fennell; Christopher Harding et al. | Go to book overview

15
Protection of and Compensation for Victims of Crime

JANE MORGAN, FRANS WILLEM WINKEL, AND KATHERINE S. WILLIAMS


INTRODUCTION

Traditionally, the victim has not occupied a prominent position in the criminal justice system in either the Netherlands or England and Wales. But since the 1970s there has been a growing interest in both Europe and North America in victims of crime. During this period the nature of victimization and its extent has received widespread publicity. A great deal is now known about the effects of crime on victims, the needs that may arise from victimization, and the reaction of various agencies to those needs. Strategies to help victims have been developed. In November 1985, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a charter of victim rights-- the Declaration on the Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power--and 157 governments declared their commitment to providing equitable treatment, access to justice, reparation, and services for victims of crime.1 In the USA victimologists have followed a largely rights- based strategy--encouraging the passing of state and federal legislation to allow victims greater participation at all levels of the criminal justice process.2 In Europe, by contrast, the major preoccupation has been with improvements in services to victims rather than with either victims' rights or radical legislation on their behalf. The Council of Europe has taken a number of steps to encourage measures to improve the plight of crime victims: the European Convention on the Compensation of Victims of Violent Crime 1983; the Recommendation on the Position of the Victim in the Framework of Criminal Law and Procedure 19853 and recommendations

____________________
With thanks to Nico Jörg for his help concerning the legal position in the Netherlands.
1
Report of the Seventh UN Congress on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders, Milan, 26 August-6 September 1985. See also R. W. Schaaf, 'New International Instruments in Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice' ( 1986) 14 International Journal of Legal Information, 176-82.
2
David Miers, "'The Responsibilities and the Rights of Victims of Crime'" [ 1992] MLR483.
3
Council of Europe Recommendation No. R(85)11 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States.

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