Journal of Victimology and Victim Justice

Sage Publications, Inc.
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Latest documents

  • Rape or ‘NOT’ Rape: Analysis of (Six) Case Studies and Narrative of Victims

    The article has focused on six case studies. It analysed different scenarios in known offender rape cases, how the situation unfolded and led to serious consequences. The criminal justice system reacted to polarizing the offenders and victims, and thereby, creating greater dissension. The parents were deeply hurt by their daughters’ decision to form a relationship with a boy without informing them thus showing distrust in them. The fear of being ostracized by society and their norms persuaded them to take strict action against the boy in order to protect their honour. To reclaim their honour, they even got their daughter married to the rapist in one such case. Whether the daughter agreed or not is out of the question. Are these matters of being unfaithful to parents and/or hurt caused by their secret association with their boyfriend, or just a ‘false’ honour to be protected by subduing their daughter and also using the law to fulfil their ulterior motives; are questions to be delved into finding a solution to such common phenomenon.

  • Finding Solace Behind Bars: Experiences of Inmates in Kumasi Central Prison

    Most studies on prisoners in West Africa and Ghana have been on prisoners’ rehabilitation services and overcrowding conditions of inmates. This study sought to explore how inmates find solace while in prison given the poor prison conditions reported in many studies in developing countries. It aimed, among others, to examine the activities or things that give solace and happiness within the prison environment as well as the strategies inmates adopt to sooth their conditions in prison. Qualitative approaches were adopted in the study. Data were collected mainly through the use of interviews. The study involved a sample size of 31 male inmates within the Kumasi Central Prison. It was found that inmates form social networks in the cell to find peace (solace) and relief in prison cells. They also engage in indoor games, religious activities and skills training as ways of coping with the harsh conditions. It was also found that family network and support were central to inmates’ solace in prison custody. Survival and finding solace in cell were also dependent on the kind of friendship support inmates acquire in the prison.

  • On the Loneliness and Dissonance of Being a Survivor of the Rwandan Genocide Against the Tutsi
  • Emerging Narratives in the Wake of Homicide: Victim, Survivor and Transcender

    This work draws upon participant observation of 96 victim-centred events, 36 intensive interviews with individuals who had lost loved ones to homicide (co-victims), and content analysis of a variety of written narratives. Using a symbolic interactionist framework, it presents three narrative types that were found to emerge in the wake of violent loss. Termed ‘victim’, ‘survivor’, and ‘transcender’ narratives, this paper demonstrates how each narrative type is distinct in terms of focus, tone and purpose. In doing so, it offers insight into the aftermath of crime as it relates to the victim experience.

  • ‘Voiceless Victims’: Children Living in the Red-Light Areas of Ibadan, Nigeria

    Much research work on victims of sex work, including studies employing feminist perspectives, focuses on sex work as either being a ‘victimless crime’, or women as victims, leaving the victimization of children as direct and proximate victims relatively unexplored. The practice of commercial sex work in Nigeria is illegal; however, sex business thrives in most urban centres with considerable prevalence of red-light districts. Brothels, strip clubs and other sex-oriented businesses that constitute red-light districts are usually located in neighbourhoods where people that have no business with sex work live with their families. This present study, therefore, moves to expose the risks and vulnerabilities of children living in red-light areas. Drawing on social disorganization and learning theories, an analytical cross-sectional survey of residents of neighbourhoods where commercial sex work thrives within the city of Ibadan was conducted. Fifty-seven family men and women living in red-light areas with their children were purposively selected to provide data for the qualitative study. The rate of children’s engagement in premarital sex, consumption of illicit drugs, alcoholic intake, stealing, street fighting, and school dropout was found to be a factor of their intimacy with sex work and workers in red-light areas. The study concludes that children who grow up in red-light areas are more vulnerable to being physically, emotionally, sexually abused and exploited than children who do not live in such areas. Regulation of sex work activities and prioritizing of child protection issues were suggested.

  • Introducing Victim Impact Statement in India: Reconceptualizing Victim Status

    The right to fair trial is inherent in the concept of due process of law, which now forms part of Article 21 of Indian Constitution after the Maneka Gandhi judgement. Pertinently attached with the same comes the responsibility of the criminal system to treat victims with increased awareness and sensitivity. However, the established convention shows that in planning and developing administration of criminal justice, proper attention is not given to the victims of crime in achieving goals of criminal justice; the major cause of it being that a victim is heard only as a witness not as a victim. A credible response to the said issue has emerged in the form of victim impact statement (VIS) in the modern legal system across the world. With that being said, the researchers through this article try to deduce the need for incorporating a VIS in India through the various jurisprudential understandings of what it means to be a victim, including the gap between the subjective experience of the sufferer and the interpretation of the same by others, and what restorative justice would mean to heal a victim. Establishing upon the same premise of victim status, the researchers try to suggest that the introduction of VIS, with the primary purpose of it being a therapeutic tool and not an instrument of changing the course of justice, will serve to make us reconsider our contours of a ‘victim’.

  • Road-mapping the Contradictions Around Premenstrual Syndrome: A Medico-legal Quandary

    Even though the term premenstrual syndrome has entered the common lexicon, yet it still remains a Gordian knot that needs to be untangled by not only the medical profession but also the legal profession. Resolving this conundrum requires a balancing of the dichotomy between ‘medicalizing’ women’s lives and a need to affirm women’s experiences. There exist several legal impediments while presenting evidence of this syndrome for diminishing the responsibility of a woman in a criminal trial. The present research is undertaken with an aim to determine the relationship between female criminality and premenstrual syndrome. The research further examines the credibility of utilizing the evidence of premenstrual syndrome to excuse a woman from criminal responsibility during a trial. This article is a step in the direction of pushing the envelope for spurring a holistic development of law, which is inclusive of the specific needs of women.

  • Effective and Humane Restoration of Prisoners With Special Reference to India

    The tail-end of the criminal justice system is the prison. In the era of mass incarceration a question arises how can a prisoner be restored to live a successful life after incarceration? The architecture of restoration of prisoners to begin the movement the prisoner placed under the authority of prison officials. Restoration is not a soft option, as many prisoners find it extremely difficult to face up to the impact of their crimes. The entire prison environment and the stakeholders of the prison department shall be involved in the restorative process. Restoration is the shift from retribution and vengeance to a more human approach. Hence restorative processes shall focus on physical, behavioral, emotional and restoration of dignity. The transition from prison to re-integration into the society after being incarcerated for number of years is the most difficult task for the prisoner. Therefore perseverance of restoration in prisons shall be a continuous process which would be a great investment to everyone. Research and studies across the world reveals that the scale of victimization among the prisons is very high and at time most devasting and India is not an exception. Adoption of restorative restoration approaches and practices in prison setting will not only successfully navigate reentry both into the family and society but also a realistic future and an effectiveness and positive impact outside the prison world. If prison officials want to reduce recidivism it is vital that they ensure effective and humane restoration of prisoners. This paper takes the stock of the current context and aims to bring greater clarity pertinent to the thematic area of concerns regarding effective and humane restoration of prisoners with special reference to India.

  • Victimology of Sexual Harassment on Public Transportation: Evidence from India

    It is evident from the daily lives of cross sections of the urban society that most working women choose to opt for public transportation. Regrettably, during the course of their commute, they are susceptible to verbal, physical, psychological and financial harassment at the hands of their fellow travellers and bus operators. Underreporting ensures that cases of this kind do not surface in mainstream media. In the recent past, to the best of the knowledge of the researcher, very few studies have been conducted around the world on this subject in general, and in India in particular. Hence, the present research assumes significance. In this connection, an attempt has been made to measure the prevalence and nature of harassment suffered by women using public transportation in Chennai city in victimological perspective. A convenience sample of 530 women riding public transportation was identified and data was collected from them using a self-reported questionnaire. The findings revealed that around 35 per cent of all young women have been harassed in one of the forms mentioned above in the last six months. Further results and implications are discussed in the article.

  • Restorative Justice in Islam with Special Reference to the Concept of Diyya

    The theme of Quranic commands is promoting collective goodness and virtuous qualities in human beings and providing preventive and precautionary measures to minimize the commission of crimes. However, in the event of happening of crimes, fair and unbiased justice has been awarded the prime importance in the Islamic law, derived mainly from the Holy Quran, Hadith and compilations of Islamic jurisprudence. The Islamic law has deeply embedded elements of what we call today as the restorative system; an alternative paradigm being advocated globally since the 1970s for tackling the trend of rising crimes and relatively low efficacy of the conventional retributive form of justice and the preventive theory of punishment. The law of Qisas (retaliation), the practices of conciliation or Suluh, restitution or compensation (Diyya, meaning blood money), isolation, forgiveness, community service, warning, fining and reintegration are all components of the Islamic law which are very much analogous to the concept of restorative justice. In all these matters, the role of the victim is dominant and central, a mandatory precondition of contemporary restorative practices. It is particularly relevant to discuss about the provisions under Diyya; a unique concept of the Islamic criminal justice system which is the payment of money to the victim of a violent crime and is very much analogous to the attributes of restorative justice. Diyya is not just limited to homicide; its provisions are applicable for any injury or incident resulting in bodily harm, intentional or unintentional, caused by another person. The payment can be made in substitution for the Qisas penalty at the request of the victim or it can be imposed if any of the procedural or substantive requirements for the imposition of Qisas have failed. It needs to be pointed out here that Diyya is translated as ‘blood money’, a negative connotation, undermining the virtues of this concept. It should better be seen as one of the best examples of restorative justice in the criminal justice systems of the world in the form of restitution to the victim paid by the guilty offender. There are numerous examples of implementation of Diyya in Islamic countries, where not only the lives of those who had been awarded death penalties were saved but also the families of victims were paid Diyya to help them rehabilitate and restore their place in the society. The procedures under Qisas and Diyya being victim-centric, the final option that victims have in a case of intentional homicide or wounding is to forgo both the penalty and restitution and forgive the offender; an act which has been highly appreciated in the Holy Quran and Hadith. It is pertinent to record here that the credibility of the concept of Diyya, its utilitarian nature and its restorative character are unambiguous, not only because it is a component of the Divine Law of Islam but also because of the fact that systems like Diyya are in practice in countries such as Japan and Korea and had been prevalent in many parts of Europe just about the time when Diyya was included as a tenet of the Islamic law. The concept of Diyya convincingly illustrates as to how restorative justice could have an edge over retributive and retaliatory justice.

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