U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Victim's Charter: Citizens as Consumers of Criminal Justice Services

NCJ Number
Howard Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 38 Issue: 4 Dated: November 1999 Pages: 384-396
Brian Williams
Date Published
November 1999
13 pages
The British Victim's Charter attempts to define crime victims as consumers of criminal justice services, and in the process conceals some of the choices that are open to them and guides them away from collective action.
A narrow, consumerist definition of citizenship creates a situation in which citizens are provided with limited information about the choices available to them, even while government-promoted charters use a misleading rhetoric of choice and empowerment. The Victim's Charter is aimed at redefining the scope and nature of voluntary and statutory agencies' services for victims of crime. It sets new priorities for the work of local statutory agencies by encouraging complaints by individual service users. Crime victims, however, are given only limited information about their entitlements and the prospects for challenging their treatment as victims. The selective provision of information limits crime victims' knowledge about access to organizations that might promote collective victim action. Individualized and bureaucratic responses to individual victims by both statutory and voluntary victim services are encouraged. Paradoxically, radical victims' agencies are deliberately marginalized, ostensibly in the name of citizens' rights. The Victim's Charter, for example, continues the government's policy of marginalizing pro-feminist, anti-racist, and single-issue, self-help victims' organizations by simply ignoring their existence. 3 notes and 38 references