Justice Term Paper

Pages: 10 (2891 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice

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1). In recent years England and Wales have actually improved the plight of sexual violence victims through a number of reforms, includes "the introduction of special measures to assist victims to give evidence in court, improved practices and protocols for working with survivors and an expansion of services to support victims" (Gunby, Carline, Bellis, & Beynon 2012, p. 2). In particular, the 2003 Sexual Offences Act was meant to serve as a kind of substantive update to England and Wales' laws regarding the investigation and prosecution of sexual offenses, and it came in the face of evidence that the justice system was severely lacking both in terms of its own internal investigations into sexual crime and the conviction rate for offenders (Goldson 2006, p. 64). Part of this lack was due to the fact that England's legal history is almost entirely dependent on the common law tradition, and part of it was due to the simple fact that crimes which disproportionately affect women have historically been regarded with something less than intense interest or dedication (Nemitz 2006, p. 110-111).Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Justice One of the Most Assignment

However, the reforms of the last decade should not be taken to mean that the treatment of sexual violence victims is anywhere close to ideal, because a number of issues still remain. Perhaps the most pernicious is the occasional tendency for law enforcement to act skeptical of a victim's claims, a phenomena that increases in frequency when the victim had been voluntarily consuming alcohol prior to the attack (Gunby, Carline, Bellis, & Beynon 2012, p. 2). This is not to suggest that it is law enforcement's natural position to disbelief claims of sexual violence, but rather to recognize that investigating and prosecuting sexual violence comes with an extra set of difficulty not commonly found in the case of other crimes, including the admittedly murky concept of consent as it relates to intoxication. While it is often tempting to come down strongly on either the side of the accuser or the accused, in many cases where alcohol is involved, the reality is much harder to discern, and thus law enforcement must be careful to treat potential victims with respect without simultaneously rushing to judgment. This difficulty arises because "in order to mitigate possible rejection, the cues men and women use to signify attraction are typically ambiguous," which can quite understandably lead to situations in which one party misinterprets the actions or words of another (Gunby, Carline, Bellis, & Beynon 2012, p. 2). While alcohol awareness and moderation programs can help prevent these kinds of situations, the fact remains that law enforcement must learn to find some nuance when dealing with sexual assault victims in cases where alcohol is involved in order to protect potential victims without unintentionally victimizing an innocent suspect (Burrell & Erol 2009, p. 190).

Aside from cases involving alcohol, another area of sexual violence in which England and Wales suffers in its response is domestic violence, because sexual violence committed within a preexisting relationship is not only common, but also difficult to investigate and prosecute (Applegate 2006, p. 368). In the past women were generally considered the property of their husbands, and domestic violence, including sexual violence, was fairly easy to conceal. As society has matured domestic violence has become increasingly condemned, and public pressure has succeeded in forcing law enforcement agencies into investigating and prosecuting domestic violence cases more vigorously (Applegate 2006, p. 376).

However, if determining the veracity of a sexual violence claim is difficult when alcohol is involved, it becomes extremely difficult when the accuser and accused are already in a domestic relationship, because everything that makes sexual violence cases uniquely difficult is multiplied by the fact that the parties involved have a preexisting, deeply intertwined relationship. As a result, law enforcement must find ways to encourage victims to come forward while ensuring that those victims have access to some kind of safe, secure space. The aforementioned reforms of the last decade have included greater pre-trial support for victims of sexual violence, and this is particularly important for cases in which the victim and suspect were or are in a domestic relationship.

In this discussion of law enforcement's responses to victims and survivors of sexual violence, it is important to point out that false accusations of sexual violence are not particularly common, or at least not as common as the popular discourse around the subject might have one believe. In fact, "the premise that women frequently make false allegations of rape is not supported by recent evidence," but despite this the notion remains a popular trope, particularly in cases where alcohol is involved (Gunby, Carline, Bellis, & Beynon 2012, p. 9). Thus, when this study talks about the need for law enforcement to balance respect for the victim and concern for the potential innocence of an accused individual, it should not be taken as a reiteration of this faulty notion that women frequently falsely accuse people of sexual violence. Instead, one should regard it as an acknowledgment of the inherent difficulty of determining guilt in cases involving alcohol, rather than a suggestion that law enforcement should be automatically suspicious of women in these cases. In fact, pointing out the difficulty of these cases is important, because the belief that women frequently make false accusations of sexual violence is disturbingly widespread, and highlighting that a lack of conviction does not necessarily mean that a victim was lying is an important step towards dispelling this dangerous and destructive myth.

Law enforcement's response to victims of sexual violence in England and Wales have improved dramatically over the last decade, as a series of reforms and investigations resulted in much more robust victim support programs. However, sexual violence still represents a particularly difficult area to deal with, and law enforcement must be aware not only of the difficulty that arises when alcohol or domestic relationships are involved, but also the large amount of disinformation available. Only by treating victims with respect and dignity while maintaining high levels of professionalism can law enforcement hope to mitigate some of the devastating effects of sexual violence.

References

Part A

Bainbridge, J. 2006, "Lawyers, Justice and the State: The Sliding Signifier of Law in Popular

Culture," Griffith Law Review, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 153-176.

Caldeira, G.A. & Gibson, J.L. 1995, "The legitimacy of the Court of Justice in the European

Union: Models of institutional support," The American Political Science Review, vol. 89,

no. 2, pp. 356-356.

Cancino, J.M. & Enriquez, R. 2004, "A qualitative analysis of officer peer retaliation: Preserving

the police culture," Policing, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 320-340.

Hassell, K.D., Zhao, J. & Maguire, E.R. 2003, "Structural arrangements in large municipal police organizations: Revisiting Wilson's theory of local political culture," Policing, vol. 26, no.

2, pp. 231-250.

Linkins, J.R. 2007, "Satisfy the Demands of Justice: Embrace Electronic Recording of Custodial

Investigative Interviews through Legislation, Agency Policy, Or Court Mandate," The

American Criminal Law Review, vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 141-173.

Morris, M.W., Leung, K., Ames, D. & Lickel, B. 1999, "Views from inside and outside:

Intergrating emic and etic insights about culture and justice judgement," Academy of Management. The Academy of Management Review, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 781-796.

Vidmar, N. 2002, "Case Studies of Pre- and Midtrial Prejudice in Criminal and Civil Litigation,"

Law and human behavior, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 73-105.

Part B

Applegate, R.J. 2006, "Changing local policy and practice towards the policing of domestic violence in England and Wales," Policing, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 368-383.

Brooke, W.G. 1870, "Report on the differences in the law of England and Ireland as regards the protection of women," Journal of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland, vol. I, pp. 202.

Burrell, A. & Erol, R. 2009, "Tackling violence in the night-time economy on the ground:

Putting policy into practice in England and Wales," Crime Prevention and Community

Safety, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 189-203.

Goldson, B. 2006, "Fatal Injustice: Rampant Punitiveness, Child Prisoner Deaths, and Institutionalized Denial -- A Case for Comprehensive Independent Inquiry in England and Wales," Social Justice, vol. 33, no. 4, pp. 52-68.

Gunby, C., Carline, A., Bellis, M. & Beynon, C. 2012, "Gender differences in alcohol-related… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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