Riding ( 1999 p.413 ) has shown that looking as a informant in a test can be a ‘terrifying’ , ‘intimidating’ , ‘confusing’ and ‘a hard and stressful’ experience. These are some feelings that affect ‘regular’ informants and so for informants the experience must be an highly disking one. Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights allows the suspect to cross-examine the informant but for the informant, this confrontation with the suspect is non a pleasant experience. This paper deals with the theoretical positions of victimology, viz. positivism, feminism, extremist and critical subdivisions. We will so turn to the responses that have been made by the condemnable justness system in order to understate the ordeal for the victim.

It has been said, that positive victimology stems from the designation of factors which contribute to a non random form of exploitation, a focal point on interpersonal offenses of force, and a concern to place victims who may hold contributed to their ain exploitation ( Miers, 1989 ) . From the positivists’ point of view, forms and regularities are important for look intoing victimology and in order to supply general findings that affect a huge figure of people. Positivists claim that certain ‘victim prone’ personalities precipitate the offense and are a cause of their exploitation. Critics argue that victim blaming has become an progressively popular rationalization for condemnable behavior, where victim blaming has become institutionalised within the academic universe under the pretense of victimology ( Clark and Lewis, 1977 ) . A feminist subdivision was developed as a consequence of the unfavorable judgments that positivist victimologists encountered. Feminists argued that victimology was used as a manner for society to legalize sexual male laterality and physical laterality over females. This ‘victim blaming’ was highlighted in relation to ravish and led to the negative portraiture of adult females victims in the media where it was stated that many colza victims precipitated the offense ( Cochrane et al, 2004 ) .

From feminism, extremist victimology emerged. This perspective accents human rights and the function of the province in specifying who ‘legitimate ‘ victims are and how the condemnable justness system is involved in the ‘construction ‘ of victims and felons. This theory trades with victims who escape sensing by the province and are ‘invisible’ . This holistic attack efforts to include all issues that are pertinent to adult females such as colza and domestic force, in order for them to derive public acknowledgment. Similar to extremist victimology, critical victimology looks at the ‘invisible’ victims and the function of the province that adds to the inequalities of society and in bend creates victims. Critical victimology adopts an interpretative attack and efforts to speculate societal issues in relation to victimology. Critical victimology views the province as a self-motivated, self-interested organ that contributes to all victims, ‘visible’ and ‘invisible’ victims.

From these positions, greater consciousness of the function of the victim in society was encountered but the adversarial judicial system in the UK deterred many from giving grounds and the idea of being cross-examined troubled many. Reforms to the judicial procedure have been made in order to try to extenuate the disadvantages of the prosecution system such as the rule of orality and the disadvantages of the adversarial procedure. For, illustration, the Witness Service was established in order to enable informants to give better grounds in Crown Court tests. Its function is to keep that equal precautions are established particularly if they are vulnerable and intimidated informants ( VIWs ) . However, Burton ( 2007, p.6 ) notes a job that VIWs merely receive assistance from the Witness Service at a late phase in the test procedure. We shall now look at farther reforms made by the authorities in order to try to decide some of the jobs which vulnerable informants face.

The White Paper,Talking up for Justice,was created in order to suggest possible reforms to witness protection ( Home Office 1998 ) . The proposals were used by the authorities to bring forth the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 ( YJCEA ) and to beef up witness protection for VIWs. The act stated that informants could utilize communicating AIDSs when giving grounds. These included the usage of screens, video-evidence, and unrecorded telecasting nexus. Section 16 of the YJCEA provides that the under 17, those with a physical upset, witnesses with a learning disablement or a mental upset are all eligible for protection. Section 17 provides that informants who are likely to endure peculiar hurt have protection under the YJCEA. Statisticss show that 7-10 % of informants fall under subdivision 17 but other statistics claim that 24 % autumn under subdivision 17 ( Burton 2007 ) . This spread between the existent figure and the figure used by the governments is a distressing factor. Section 41 introduces limitations on cross-examination, in peculiar the usage of sexual history grounds. Sections 36 and 37 provide a limitation on cross-examination by the suspect if charged with colza or other sexual offenses. However, a recent Home Office study ( which was looking at the effectivity of s. 41 ) found that it has had small consequence in colza instances as sexual history grounds continues to be used and this affects the decision-making of the justice and jury ( Kelly et al, 2006 ) .

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 ( CJA ) reformed the condemnable justness system wholly, with reforms sing compulsory condemning to issues that affect victims of offense and informants. Section 139 of the CJA allows informants to review their memory from a papers which they have swore that represents the truth, merely if it is likely that the witness’ remembrance would be more accurate at the clip of the papers than at the test. This subdivision provides that the new CJA creates a given in favor of reviewing the victims’ memory. When VIWs have given old grounds, a transcript of their picture recorded interview may function as the VIWs’ statement for the intents of the ‘refreshing memory’ regulation under s.139. This is particularly pertinent with mention to ravish instance where it would be particularly hard for victims to give grounds and so they would go disquieted and possibly their facts would acquire muddled. This ‘memory refresh’ alleviates some frights that victims may hold when giving grounds.

The reforms made have offered some solutions to the jobs that arise when a VIW gives grounds. As seen above, we can see that the work of the Witness Service, YJCEA and CJA have made some impact, in colza instances particularly, but jobs remain. The fact that the Witness Service can non openly discourse the instance with the victim could take to floor when discoursing the instance at tribunal, is certainly a damaging factor. Cross-examination occurs sing past sexual history of colza victims that is in direct struggle with s.41 of the YJCEA. Statistics sing colza victims show that twelve per centum of female colza victims said that the test was worse than the colza ( Victim Support, 1996 ) .

My personal experience with the constabulary has shown them to be really unhelpful. This in bend proved to be debatable when adult females or bush leagues attempted to affect the constabulary. I found that adult females chose non to describe the offense or reported it at a ulterior day of the month possibly a hebdomad subsequently. Many adult females that had non reported their offense thought it was ‘their fault’ and so chose non to prosecute the affair. We can see from my personal observations that these clarify the jobs that lie within the system of victim support. From these lingering jobs we can see that farther reforms are required to give further protection than the YJCEA and CJA can offer.


A. Riding, ‘The Crown Court Witness Service: Small Help in the Witness Box’ ) Howard Journal of Criminal Justice 38 ( 4 ) ( 1999 ) ; pp 411-420

Clark, L. M. G. and Lewis, D. J. ( 1977 )Rape: The Price of Coercive Sexuality, Toronto: Women ‘s Imperativeness

Cochrane, J. Marsh, I. Melvill, G.Condemnable Justice: An debut to doctrines, theories and pattern( 2004 ) . London ; Routledge.

European Convention on Human Rights: hypertext transfer protocol: //www.opsi.gov.uk/ACTS/acts1998/ukpga_19980042_en_3 # sch1

Home Office, Talking Up for Justice: Report of the Interdepartmental Working Group on the Treatment of Vulnerable or Intimidated Witnesss in the Criminal Justice System ( Home Office: London, 1998 ) .

L. Kelly, J. Temkin and S. Griffiths, Section 41: An Evaluation of New Legislation Restricting Sexual History Evidence in Rape Trials, Home Office Online Report 20/06: hypertext transfer protocol: //www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs06/rdsolr2006.pdf

Miers, D. ‘Positivist Victimology ‘ ,International Review of Victimology, 2 ( 1 ) ( 1989 ) ; pp.3-22.

Young, J. ( 1997 ) ‘Left Realist Criminology: Extremist in its Analysis, Realist in its Policy ‘ , in Maguire, M. , Morgan, R. and Reiner, R. ( explosive detection systems )The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, 2nd edn, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Victim Support, Women, Rape and the Criminal Justice System ( Victim Support: London, 1996 ) . p.16.