Victim Personal Statements in Managing Victims’ Voices in Sentencing in Northern Ireland: Taking a more Procedural Justice Approach

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Abstract

Victim Personal Statements (VPS) have been introduced in a number common law criminal justice systems. Although VPS have been espoused as important in ensuring victims’ ‘voices’ are ‘heard’ in sentencing, this article examines the extend of improving victim satisfaction and procedural justice in Northern Ireland. In light of increasing juridification of victim participation through VPS by the EU and the English Court of Appeals its impact on sentencing has mixed views amongst victims, intermediaries and legal practitioners. Drawing from 24 interviews with judges, lawyers and intermediaries, this article finds that greater attention should be paid to vulnerable victims’ inclusion and for judges to better articulate the value VPS have in sentencing and the significance of such statements in acknowledging the victim’s experience, rather than engendering harsher sentences
Original languageEnglish
JournalNorthern Ireland Legal Quarterly
Volume68
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2017

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