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NCJ Number: 229338 Find in a Library
Title: Emotions and the Campaign for Victims Rights in Canada
Journal: Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice  Volume:51  Issue:4  Dated:October 2009  Pages:473-509
Author(s): Karen Stanbridge; J. Scott Kenney
Date Published: October 2009
Page Count: 37
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: This study examined the dynamics and role of emotions surrounding the 1980s campaign for victims' rights in Canada.
Abstract: The study found that although the victims' rights campaign in Canada in the early 1980s stemmed largely from conditions in Canadian Institutions, such as the political and criminal justice systems' responsiveness to victim claims, the capacity of victims' groups to manage the strong emotions associated with victimization was also a critical factor that shaped the constitution and development of the campaign. Members of the "survivor" groups studied by Whittier (2001) were motivated to transform their painful emotions of victimization into positive, persistent efforts to change a criminal justice system they perceived as insensitive to victims' needs. Powerful victim emotions, however, led to internal disagreements among victim advocates about the most effective way to frame an issue. Activists who preferred a more rational, politically strategic approach to gaining victim's rights were often resented by emotional victims who viewed some leaders as lacking emotion. There was also some level of competition among victims to vent their emotions in public through various media formats. In the early 1980s, the goals of victim activists in publicizing the plight of crime victims and foster public support for changes to the criminal justice system meshed with the interest of Canadian media to boost their audience and readership. The drama of angry and action-oriented crime victims was too much for the media to resist. The media contrasted victims emotional trauma with the action of portrayed cold, self-interested officials and a criminal justice system deficient in its assistance and response to crime victims. This also coincided with a widespread "fear of crime" and a distrust of public officials. Clearly, significant work was required for victim advocacy organizations to manage these emotional dynamics toward practical achievement in victims' rights. 9 notes and 90 references
Main Term(s): Victims rights
Index Term(s): Change management; Criminal justice system reform; Media coverage; Media support; Victim reactions to crime; Victim reactions to the Criminal Justice System; Victim/Witness Advocates; Victims in foreign countries
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