Where do I stand? An exploration of the rules that regulate victim participation in the criminal justice system

Author(s)Englebrecht, Christine M.
Title Where do I stand? An exploration of the rules that regulate victim participation in the criminal justice system
Source Victims and Offenders,Apr-Jun 2012, Vol 7, No 2, pp 161-184
Date 2012
Document type Journal article
Summary The data for this study comes from a larger New York State study of victim participation in the criminal justice system. Victims were defined as family members of homicide victims and included individuals who delivered a victim impact statement in court. Data included courtroom observations, trial transcripts and interviews with criminal justice officials and victims. Information was recorded in observed trials about the order of statements made within the courtroom, where the victim stood or sat, the number of statements delivered, and any interactions between the victim and the offender. It was found that when victims were provided with the opportunity to deliver a victim impact statement, much of this participation was controlled by the court. The placement of the participation in court, such as in the witness box, or in the well between attorney's desks, had significant implications for victims and symbolically reflected varying levels of inclusion for these participants. The placement of the victim gave the act of victim participation a sense of symbolic legitimacy. Future research is recommended to ascertain the motivations for participation and the impact of participation on the criminal justice system and on victims themselves.
Keywords Victim impact statements
Topic Victim impact statements