Despite plentiful discussion at various times, the personal victim has traditionally been afforded almost no formal role in the criminal justice process. Victims' rights have always met with stout opposition from both judges and the Lord Chancellor, who have guarded defendants' rights; the maintenance of professionally-controlled and emotionally unencumbered trials; and the doctrine that crime is at heart an offence against society, State, or Sovereign. Constructing Victims' Rights provides a detailed account of how this opposition was overcome, and of the progressive redefinition of victims of crime, culminating in 2003 in proposals for awarding near-rights to victims of crime. Based upon extensive observation, primary papers, and interviews, Paul Rock examines changes in the forms of criminal justice policy-making within the New Labour Government, observing how they shaped political representations and activities centred on victims of crime.
He reveals how the issues of new managerialism, restorative justice, human rights, race and racism (after the death of Stephen Lawrence), and the treatment of rape victims after the trial of Ralston Edwards came to form a critical mass that required ordering and reconstruction. Constructing Victims' Rights unpicks and explains the resultant battery of proposals and the deft policy manoeuvre contained in the Domestic Violence, Crime, and Victims Bill of 2003. This, the solution to a seemingly intractable problem, was a work of finesse, proposing on the one hand, the imposition of statutory duties on criminal justice agencies and the granting of access to an Ombudsman, and on the other, a National Victims' Advisory Panel that would afford victims a symbolic voice, and a symbolic champion: a Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses.
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(224mm x 148mm x 36mm)
Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Author Biography - Paul Rock
Paul Rock is Professor of Social Institutions at the London School of Economics and Political Science.