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THE ROLE OF THE VICTIM IN SENTENCING. DISCUSS factors that affect sentencing decisions, including the purposes of punishment and the role of the victim. THE ROLE OF THE VICTIM IN SENTENCING. THE ROLE OF THE VICTIM IN SENTENCING.

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slide1

THE ROLE OF THE VICTIM IN

SENTENCING

DISCUSS factors that affect sentencing decisions, including the purposes of punishmentand the role of the victim

THE ROLE OF THE VICTIM IN

SENTENCING

slide2

THE ROLE OF THE VICTIM IN

SENTENCING

Judges have to remind the public they DO NOT sentence FOR THE VICTIM, but for the community…

Retired Supreme Court Judge Ron Howie in

Putting the Truth into Sentencing, SMH (2010)

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THE ROLE OF THE VICTIM IN

SENTENCING

Victim Impact Statements

A victim of crime has the right (in the NSW Charter of Victim’s Rights) to prepare and present a ‘Victim Impact Statement’ during the sentencing of the offender.

They can really only do it if the crime involved actual or threatened violence (including sexual assault).

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THE ROLE OF THE VICTIM IN

SENTENCING

  • Victim Impact Statements
  • CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES:
  • How important should a VIS be to the judge in deciding the sentence, given that the VIS is ‘unsworn’ (could be made up)?
    • The judge in R v Slack (2004)wrongly decided that a VIS has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
    • But it’s really up to the judge, but generally the statements add to the aggravating factors (Aguirre v Regina (2010)).
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THE ROLE OF THE VICTIM IN

SENTENCING

  • Victim Impact Statements
  • CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES:
  • Judges can ask that the victim change their statement if the judge thinks that something should be left out (e.g. the Anne Redmanmurder case, where the victim’s family wrote that they hoped the defendants would suffer in prison).
    • But this censoring Victim Impact Statements ALSO causes controversy (“Why can’t the victim have their say?”).
    • Murder case material censored by court (ABC News, 2012)
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THE ROLE OF THE VICTIM IN

SENTENCING

  • “Restorative Justice” and the victim
  • Youth Justice Conferencing (getting young offenders to face their victims and come up with a punishment together – instead of a judge just sending them to jail) has been working from the victim’s perspective because they get to talk to the offender and help them take responsibility for their crime.
  • Effectiveness:
  • Youth Justice Conferencing is no more effective in stopping offenders from reoffending than the Children’s Court (64% vs 65%) (BOCSAR 2012)
  • However, 88% of victims said they would recommend conferencing to other victims!
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THE ROLE OF THE VICTIM IN

SENTENCING

So why not do it with adults?

They did! It was called Forum Sentencing…

“… offenders dealt with under the Forum Sentencing Scheme are no less likely to re-offend than offenders dealt with in a conventional (usual/regular) court setting”

“Does Forum Sentencing reduce reoffending?, BOCSAR (2009)