The rights, status and treatment of sexual assault victims has emerged as a significant 21st-century concern, occupying the forefront of legal commentary on international policy agendas. This book explores the extent to which reforms that offer victims enhanced rights to information and participation across England and Wales, Ireland and South Australia can address sexual assault victims’ procedural and substantive justice concerns. Informed by the voices of 26 high-level criminal justice professionals, legal stakeholders and victim support workers, and a quantitative dataset, this book also considers whether legal representation can address some of the problems of the prosecution process for sexual assault victims in Victoria and, indeed, in other adversarial jurisdictions that employ similar legislative frameworks. While acknowledging the value of victim-focused reforms, this book contends that cultural changes to the ways in which sexual assault victims are perceived and treated are necessary in order to improve victims’ experiences of the legal process. Reconceptualising the role of sexual assault victims from ‘witnesses’ to ‘participants’ will also increase the likelihood that victims’ rights and interests will be considered alongside those of the state and the accused.This book situates its findings within broader debates about the role, rights and treatment of sexual assault victims in adversarial justice systems and outlines prospects for the transfer of policy and practice between jurisdictions. Adversarial Justice and Victims’ Rights will interest academic and policy stakeholders engaged in criminology, law and socio-legal studies, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate students researching sexual violence and victims’ access to justice.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Tracing the interest in victims, victims’ rights and sexual assault law reform
Chapter 3: Procedural justice
Chapter 4: Providing a check on prosecutorial decision-making
Chapter 5: Separate legal representation for victims under section 34 of the Sex Offenders Act 2001 (Irl)
Chapter 6: Victim participation through the SACVR
Chapter 7: The prospect of ILR for sexual assault victims within Victoria’s criminal prosecution process
Chapter 8: Concluding comments
Concerns about victimisation have multiplied over the last fifty years. Victims, Culture and Society explores the major concepts, debates and controversies that this concern has generated across a range of disciplines but particularly within criminology and victimology. As the impact of globalisation, the movement of peoples, the divergences between the global north and the global south have become ever more apparent, this series provides an authoritative space for original contributions in making sense of these far reaching changes on individuals, localities and nationalities. These issues in their very nature demand an interdisciplinary approach and an interdisciplinary voice outside conventional conceptual boundaries. Victims, Culture and Society offers the space for that voice.
Each author will adopt a strong personal view and offer a lively and agenda setting treatment of their subject matter. The monographs will encompass a transnational, global or comparative approach to the issues they address. Examining new areas of both empirical and theoretical inquiry the series offers the opportunity for innovative and progressing thinking about the relationship between victims, culture and society. The books will be useful and thought provoking resources for the international community of undergraduates, post-graduates, researchers and policy makers working within the broad field of victimisation.