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Homicide, Voluntary Organizations, and the State in England and Wales

NCJ Number
Homicide Studies Volume: 4 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2000 Pages: 37-62
Paul Rock
Date Published
February 2000
26 pages
This article examines victims’ advocacy groups that have emerged in the politics of homicide.
The article explores the groups’ experience of traumatic loss, their organizational structures, the mandates they have claimed and their political impact and influence. Because the groups are so new and evolving so rapidly, this article can be no more than a provisional assessment of how those experiences and mandates have led to the making of different demands on government and the criminal justice system, and how they have contributed to rather different policy outcomes. The article primarily concerns the new politics of claims to victim status flowing from the aftermath of violent death. Becoming a victim is a descriptive process embedded in social transactions. It is also a rhetorical process, a “partisan activity intended to persuade others to adopt and act on preferred understandings of persons and circumstances.” The construction of primary victims has proceeded quite far in England and Wales and primary victims are solidly established as an object of policymaking and practical action by criminal justice agencies. The secondary and tertiary victims of homicide are not well established and have almost no acknowledged place in criminal justice proceedings. Notes, references