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The use of victim impact statements in sexual offence sentencing: a critique of judicial practice

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 10:25 authored by Davies, R, Lorana BartelsLorana Bartels
This article analyses the sentencing remarks in 100 sexual offence cases from four Australian jurisdictions, supplemented by key findings from interviews with six sexual offence victims who submitted a victim impact statement and 15 professionals who work with victims. We critically evaluate judicial practice in the cases examined and identify a range of approaches that judges take to acknowledge victims in their remarks. We also use a series of examples to explore judicial practice from a victim-focused perspective. The article concludes by making two recommendations for educative processes that will assist judges to develop an understanding of how best to acknowledge victims, while still balancing the other requirements of sentencing. Specifically, we call for the publication of a victim-focused benchbook and introduction of victim-focused pre-sentencing hearings in sexual offence cases.

History

Publication title

Criminal Law Journal

Volume

45

Pagination

168-184

ISSN

0314-1160

Department/School

Faculty of Law

Publisher

Lawbook Co

Place of publication

Australia

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Criminal justice; Expanding knowledge in law and legal studies

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