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NCJ Number: 82836 Find in a Library
Title: Role and Treatment of the Victim in Criminal Proceedings Present Situation and Reflections on Reform
Journal: Bewaehrungshilfe  Volume:27  Issue:4  Dated:(1980)  Pages:328-339
Author(s): K Sessar
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 12
Format: Article
Language: German
Country: West Germany (Former)
Annotation: Victims' rights are inadequately addressed in the existing West German criminal justice process in light of current victimological studies and sociopolitical interests. Victim reintegration services and restitution as a sentencing alternative must be developed.
Abstract: Under current procedure, victims may file criminal charges, demand review of dropped charges, initiate private litigation, join the state's prosecution as cosuitors, and act as witnesses at trial. The state's interests always outweigh those of the victim; particularly neglected are the rights of female and child victims of abuse or sexual assault. Recent public awareness of the victim's plight has spurred both preventive and reactive sociopolitical action against victimization. Victim assistance and counseling programs are well established in America; German efforts include crisis centers for abused women and children, the 'White Ring' victim assistance organization, and a 1976 victim compensation law. More thorough victimization studies are needed for reforming sentencing law so that it incorporates the victim's perspective. Contrary to expected retributional attitudes, victim surveys indicate preference for restitutional amends in cases of property crimes. The frequently found victim-offender personal involvement in assault crimes also indicates that abused victims would gain little from strict punitive sentencing of offenders. Restitution, community service, and citizen dispute mediation programs after U.S. models appear to be promising alternatives to conventional criminal justice sanctions for crimes of petty or medium seriousness. The advantages of restitution are therapeutic offender focus on the damage of his act, victim satisfaction through involvement in the justice process and compensation, and avoidance of retributive punishment. A total of 43 footnotes are given.
Index Term(s): Criminal proceedings; Germany; Restitution; Victim services
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