Victimization and inaccessible justice have been global problems since ages, which hardly come to fore and not enough recognized by the mainstream society. Each year with crime incidences, untold number of individuals, families, and communities get shattered in no time without their own fault. And accurately measuring the breadth and depth of this global problem is a tremendous challenge. To add to this, the reporting methods and crime definitions differ from country to country. However efforts have been made to build perspective on this scenario with various International Crime Victimization Surveys and allied surveys. That helps us to understand that millions of people throughout the world suffer harm as a result of crime and violence every year and are in need of help. (Leary M., 2006) To be more specific, here are some facts presented by various sources:
United Nations has been raising up this issue since 1985 and has been taking efforts to improve status of victim and access to justice and rights worldwide by declaring basic principles, victim rights, structure of mechanisms for implementation of the rights and thus setting one uniform essential framework to create victim restorative space, that countries are following in their own way. Rights and services for crime victims vary considerably from country to country, but on the whole, we have made important progress throughout the world. For example:
Some countries allow victims to review evidence, ask questions during the trial, be represented by an attorney at the country’s expense, and even appeal the decision of a prosecutor not to file their case. A few countries provide victims with an ombudsman to help ensure enforcement of their rights.
With further advancement and enhancement in understandings of the justice delivery systems worldwide and their services, such as ‘trauma informed care’, ‘restorative justice’, usage of ‘victim impact statement’, we feel the need to match up to this global progress and grow even further; however the first realistic goal is to be able to provide at least the basic victim’s rights declared by the United Nations as given below:
DISHA has identified that the Indian Criminal Justice System even though was devised to protect rights of innocents and punish the guilty; takes hardly any cognizance of the victim’s redress, and especially the victim’s rights that should be in place to support victim to restore holistically to a normal life of dignity, peace and hope. As a result of this the victim gets further victimized (secondary victimization) due to deprivation from rights, stigmatization in society and isolation in absence of support system.
We believe, this all happens because victim and victim’s rights were never recognized, adopted and channelized by creating necessary frameworks in systems. Even now there is no mention and definition of ‘victim’ and ‘victim’s rights’ in the constitution. Though there have been some guidelines on ‘rights of accused’ coming through some landmark judgments, the System has not gone much ahead when it comes to victim’s rights and rehabilitation.
So far the system has basically come up with framework for right of compensation and information. This in the form of mentioning definition of victim in CrPC and their right of compensation through a state level victim compensation scheme, adhering to section 357A. This amendment needs awareness and implementation to really improve status of victims while we still have various committee reports and recommendations to bring into framework.
So far the victim has following core rights
And there are schemes / provisions to formulate schemes by States to provide at least monitory compensation to the victim; in Maharashtra we have Maharashtra Victim Compensation Scheme, Manodhairya Yojana and VCS 18.
On concluding note, they say, “Justice delayed is Justice denied” but we want to say that ‘rehabilitative’ justice is not destination of a process, it’s the process itself. By supporting victim from the very first step we can truly achieve rehabilitation of victim.
| ● Physical Injuries|
● Other medical emergencies
● Permanent Disabilities
● Sleep Disorders
● Eating Disorders
● Sexual Dysfunction
● Possible risk of Sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy
|Emotional / Psychological Harm||● Shock, loss of trust|
● Feeling of unreality, numbness, out of control, vulnerability
● Shame, Guilt and Fear
● Anger, rage, intense sorrow or grief
|Impact on Mental Health||● Post Trauma Stress Disorder|
● Anxiety disorder
● Suicide ideation
● Panic Symptoms
● Inability to concentrate
● Preoccupation with crime
● Avoidance of things associated with crime
● Increased risk of drug abuse
● Being hyper-vigilant, concerns about personal safety
|Financial Impacts||● Medical bills|
● Personal belongings damaged, destroyed or stolen
● Loss of employment
● Loss of wages due to
o Taking time off from work to repair damage
o Participating in the criminal proceedings
o Seeking medical or rehabilitative treatment
● Relocation expenses
● Funeral and burial expenses
● Care of dependents
● Costs for rehabilitative / restorative equipment for e.g. wheelchair.
|Spiritual Harm||● Distrust or anger against God/fate|
● Hyper or increased engagement in religious practices
● Engagement in superstitions
● Acceptance of suffering as a punishment for sins did in this life and past life
● Acceptance of suffering as being part of God’s will
|Impact on social relations||● Withdrawal |
● Intrusive Sympathy by others
● Invasive frequent discussions by others about the crime or gossiping
● Non-acceptance, avoidance by the society
● Difficulty in finding partner for marriage for rape victims
|Impacts on family||● End of personal relationships or turbulence in them|
● Financial crisis due to loss of earning individual
● Disruptions in the education of children
● Constant tussles within family about decision making
● Fight within family for property related issues or custody of children or personal belongings
● Early burden of family responsibility on some members
● Being misguided by some family members or close relatives
● Abandonment, disowning by family members
● Separation within family members due to rehabilitative steps such as sending children to residential schools, hostel or children home, elders to other relatives / shelter homes
● Birth of new-born in unwanted pregnancy due to sexual exploitation.