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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 140059 Find in a Library
Title: Helping Crime Victims; An International Perspective
Author(s): J J M van Dijk
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 9
Type: Presentation
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: Netherlands
Annotation: After theorizing about why and where societies have focused on increased services to crime victims and expanded victim involvement in criminal justice processing, this paper discusses findings from the second international victimization survey as conducted in 1989 and 1992 in 25 countries throughout the world.
Abstract: Attention to provisions for crime victims cannot be fully explained under the concepts of the welfare State. On the contrary, provisions for crime victims were introduced in a political climate characterized by a growing distrust of the welfare State. There is evidence that the State's indifference toward crime victims in the past has been an unintended side effect of the liberal concept of the State's monopoly on the exercise of violence. Whereas in earlier times victims and their families were expected to render justice against those who committed crimes against them, when the State assumed this power victims were expected to relinquish this power to the State. Changes in the economic and social structure that have underpinned the liberal philosophy of criminal law seem to have weakened the social necessity of the State's monopoly on violence. The State's monopoly on violence is less pertinent in affluent and highly integrated societies where citizens exercise a high degree of self-restraint in interpersonal encounters. The movement for better provisions for crime victims may reflect a growing awareness that in postindustrialized societies, the State's violence monopoly need not be applied as stringently as in the past. The analysis of the international survey tends to support this view, as it shows that across countries, crime victims are treated better in countries with a post-materialistic, nonauthoritarian culture. Three tables and 14 references
Main Term(s): Cross-cultural analyses; Victims rights
Index Term(s): Attitudes toward victims; Victim services
Note: Keynote lecture at the Conference of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies in Amsterdam, June 21- 26, 1992.
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