Thursday, 25 March 2010

Announcing the CCHJR 4th Annual Criminal Law Conference


Accommodating Victims in the Criminal Justice System:
An Inclusionary or Punitive Logic?

Friday, 11th June, University College Cork


The Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Right at the Faculty of Law at UCC is delighted to host its fourth annual criminal law conference, entitled Accommodating Victims in the Criminal Justice System. The aim of the conference is to update delegates on current debates in criminal justice with particular emphasis on the role of victims of crime. For much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the victim in the criminal process was confined largely to a bit-part role of reporting crime and of adducing evidence in court as a witness, if needed. More recently, however, the process is gradually becoming more effective in accommodating the needs and concerns of victims of crime. In the last three decades, in particular, the status of the crime victim has gradually altered from being perceived as a ‘non-entity’ or ‘hidden casualty’ to a stakeholder whose interests and opinions matter. Crime victims are beginning to be anchored as key constituents in the criminal justice landscape and criminal justice agencies will have to rework their relationships with them.

Notwithstanding the increased recognition of victims in the criminal process, some commentators would argue that that many of the needs of victims continue to be unmet. A lack of knowledge among criminal justice agencies about the needs of victims of crime is a key issue. There also remains a problem with the under-reporting of crime. Other issues that cause concern to victims include harassment, intimidation by the process, attrition rates, the lack of private areas in courts, difficulties with procedural rules and legal definitions, delays in the system, and inadequate support services. Other commentators would argue that this shift in the status of the victim will contribute to a reprioritisation of commitments resulting in a recalibration of the scales of justice that further hollow out the rights of those accused of crime. This conference will explore all of these issues with leading experts in the field.

It is anticipated that the conference will act as a forum where legal practitioners, victims’ rights advocacy/support groups, Garda officers, social workers, probation officers, civil servants, judges and academics, can discuss issues of common interest.

For information relating to the conference, please telephone the conference administrator, Ms Noreen Delea, at 021 4902728, or email her at ccjhr@ucc.ie

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