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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 97810 Find in a Library
Title: Compensation for Victims of Crime - Trends and Outlooks
Journal: Dalhousie Law Journal  Volume:8  Issue:2  Dated:(May 1984)  Pages:530-548
Author(s): R Murphy
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 19
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: The justification and costs of victim compensation programs are discussed with reference to compensation legislation in Nova Scotia, Canada, and Great Britain.
Abstract: While early codes placed emphasis on the victim and his right to restitution, changes in British law between 1300 and 1900 resulted in the government's claiming most of the victim's compensation and even went so far as to forbid victims any effort to receive restitution from an offender. While today's emphasis is still on the offender, a number of countries have now implemented victim-compensation schemes, although an antivictim bias has impeded rapid progress in this area. Compensation has been advanced primarily as a moral right of the victim or an extension of existing welfare principles. Some have argued that it is a legal duty of the state; while others see it as a political ploy to gain votes. Arguments against compensation schemes boil down to financial considerations. Alternatives to compensation include restitution, insurance, tort law, and social welfare schemes. In Canada, 11 of 12 provinces and territories now have operating compensation schemes. In general, these programs require a causal link between the offense and the injury and provide for compensation in the form of a lump-sum payment, periodic payments, or both. The fundamental points of the British scheme require that claims be determined by a judicial or quasijudicial body. Remuneration is payable only in deserving cases and on an ex gratia basis subject to variation. Society has once again returned to an acknowledgement of the victims of crime: compensation is a first, cautious step toward an overdue recognition of society's duty to its forgotten victims. Sixty footnotes are included.
Index Term(s): Canada; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Restitution; Victim compensation
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