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


Davies, R and Bartels, LM, The use of victim impact statements in sexual offence sentencing: a critique of judicial practice, Criminal Law Journal, 45, (3) pp. 168-184. ISSN 0314-1160 (2021) [Refereed Article]


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.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:therapeutic jurisprudence, justice, empowerment
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Law in context
Research Field:Criminal law
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in law and legal studies
UTAS Author:Davies, R (Ms Rhiannon Davies)
UTAS Author:Bartels, LM (Ms Lorana Bartels)
ID Code:151622
Year Published:2021
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2022-08-02
Last Modified:2023-01-20

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