Better justice responses for sexual violence victims

A Griffith University Australian Research Council study aims to develop a model of appropriate responses to help sexual violence victims move on with their lives.

Professor Kathleen Daly from the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice says in the aftermath of serious crime, victims need information, support and practical assistance.Victims also need a sense of justice, which is the focus of her research.

“Rather than asking if victims are satisfied with a justice response, we should be asking whether it meets their needs for participation, voice, validation, vindication, and offender accountability.”

Professor Daly says while criminal justice responses to sexual victimisation are inadequate, innovative justice responses are also controversial.

“This study rethinks theory and research on effective justice for victims in diverse contexts of violence.

“It focuses on victims’ justice needs, and will present and test a model to evaluate and compare the effectiveness of justice responses, including courts, conferences, compensation, and truth-seeking.”

The project team will conduct a systematic analysis of existing research on conventional and innovative justice mechanisms, and gather new data on compensation and documentary theatre.

“Our findings will re-direct research and policy by identifying better ways to evaluate justice responses to serious crime, including sexual violence, from a victim’s perspective.

“Sexual victimisation is the primary focus of the research, but the model will have general applicability to serious crime as well.”