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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 119132 Find in a Library
Title: Offenders and Victims (From Current Australian Trends in Corrections, P 204-216, 1988, David Biles, ed. -- See NCJ-119105)
Author(s): C Corns
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Federation Press (Distributed by Gaunt)
Annandale, NSW 2038, Australia
Sale Source: Federation Press (Distributed by Gaunt)
71 Johnson Street
P.O. Box 45
Annandale, NSW 2038,
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: The needs of crime victims have received an unprecedented level of attention from governments, law reform bodies, the media, and the public throughout Australia in the last 6 years and are now being discussed in terms of issues related to the victim-offender relationship and the relationship between the victim and the State.
Abstract: The issue that is probably the most controversial is the extent to which a court, during sentencing, should take into account the impact of the crime on the victim. A second major issue is the extent to which an offender, rather than the State, should be required to pay restitution to the victim. Common law requires sentencing courts to take into account the effects of the crime upon the victim. However, it does not recognize the right of the victim to address the court on sentencing. South Australia is the only jurisdiction to recognize legislatively a victim's right to have the full impact of the crime made known to the sentencing court. However, the impact statement applies only when the court has asked for a pre-sentence report. In addition, despite the desirability of impact statements, it is not clear whether they will be introduced elsewhere. Restitution from the offender to the victim is authorized in most Australian jurisdictions, but the legislation has generally been ineffective. Nevertheless, experience in South Australia and Victoria indicates that Australian policymakers are increasingly perceiving crime as an act mainly against the victim rather than against the State. Thus, they are viewing restitution as an attractive sentencing option. Other States are likely to streamline their current legislation to make restitution more effective and enforceable. 31 reference notes.
Main Term(s): Victims rights
Index Term(s): Australia; Foreign courts; Restitution programs; Victim-offender reconciliation
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