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Just Interests

Victims, Citizens and the Potential for Justice

Robyn Holder

Just Interests: Victims, Citizens and the Potential for Justice contributes to extended conversations about the idea of justice – who has it, who doesn’t and what it means in the everyday setting of criminal justice. It challenges the usual representation of people victimized by violence only as victims, and re-positions them as members of a political community. Departing from conventional approaches that see victims as a problem for law to contain, Robyn Holder draws on democratic principles of inclusion and deliberation to argue for the unique opportunity of criminal justice to enlist the capacity of citizens to rise to the demands of justice in their ordinary lives.
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Chapter 7: Experiencing justice

Robyn Holder


Justice is experienced as well as imagined. This chapter uses procedural and distributive justice theory to explore what lies behind assessments of satisfaction with criminal justice made by victims of violence. People make assessments from different standpoints and not only as ‘victim’. The longitudinal panel reveals high victim satisfaction with police that plummets in assessments of prosecution and of court and do not recover six to eight months after the finalization of the case. Behind dissatisfaction are assessments of the outcome acceptance, the quality of interpersonal justice, an influential victim voice and respect for offender rights. These form an integrated justice judgement. Within these dimensions, victims identified the importance of recognition of their standing, equality of treatment, and information and dialogue. The outcome was assessed in relation to its implications for the offender, the victim’s community of others, and to themselves.

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