Guidelines for the Treatment of Victims of Crime: Best Practice
Victims of crime are sometimes overlooked when consideration is given to reforming the criminal justice system of Commonwealth countries. This leads to the incorrect perception that 'criminals have more rights than victims'. It detrimentally affects the public perception and support for fundamental human rights provisions in the law, especially those dealing with the rights to a free trial. It also erodes confidence in the judiciary and justice systems. The United Nations "Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power" defines victims as persons who have suffered harm including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss or substantial impairment of their fundamental rights through acts or omissions in violation of criminal laws operative in domestic legislation. This publication sets out best practices and guidelines of dealing with those victims at various stages in the criminal justice systems in the Commonwealth, including the role of police, prosecutors and courts. It also looks at issues of compensation and restitution for victims of crime. The Expert group consisted of experts drawn from across the Commonwealth.
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