​Enhancing trust in the legal system through victims’ rights mechanisms

Author(s) Laxminarayan, Malini
Title Enhancing trust in the legal system through victims' rights mechanisms
Source International Review of Victimology; Sep 2015, Vol. 21, No. 3; p 273-286
Date 2015
Document type Journal article
Summary In this study the author examines the impact of victims rights mechanisms on the victim's trust in the legal system. For the study 101 Dutch victims completed a structured questionnaire with the dependent variable measuring the impact of the process on their trust in the legal system. The six mechanisms used in the study were victim impact statements, representation, victims support, talking with the prosecutor, compensation from the offender and compensation from the state. An additional independent variable used was prison sentence. The results showed that the strongest predictor of the process impact in trust in the legal system from victims' rights mechanisms was the use of victim impact statements. It was also found that being assisted with victim support was statistically significant, though it was an inverse relationship. The author suggested one reason for this could be due to raised expectations. Incarceration, although not a rights mechanism, was included in the study and it proved to have the strongest relationship on trust in the legal system. Implications for policy are discussed, particularly in relation to victim support and victim impact statements.
Keywords Victims rights; trust; criminal justice system; legal system; procedural justice
Topic Criminal Justice System; Victims Rights