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Victims' Rights in the Criminal Justice System

Unit(s) of assessment: Social Work and Social Policy

Research theme: Safety and Security of Citizens and Society

School: School of Social Sciences


Re-orienting the system towards victims

Procedural and evidential laws have undermined victims’ rights for a long time. Recently, victims have shifted from passive bystanders to active stakeholders in the criminal justice system. but this brings new legal and policy challenges. We need to understand the role victims should play and the rights they should be able to exercise.

Our research looks at the implications of re-orientating the criminal justice system towards victims. We are interested in finding out how the development of victims’ rights impacts on the rights of defendants.

Addressing the Challenge

Uncovering what works best for victims, offenders, and the wider community

Our work has broad implications for society. Findings can help policymakers, the police, judges and lawyers learn how to protect the rights of both victims and offenders throughout the criminal process.

In Australia, the Victoria Law Reform Commission’s final report to the Attorney General made extensive use of our research. The government is now considering some major proposals informed by our work. We are having a similar impact in New Zealand, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.


An international perspective that never loses sight of the individual

Professor Jonathan Doak is an expert in restorative justice and victimology.

To broaden our impact around the world, we are working with:

  • Government agencies
  • NGOs
  • Academic partners in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and Australia