“Public safety must be the top priority. But I believe we can best achieve that by helping those with substance abuse and mental health problems. Our criminal justice system should do more to help rehabilitate people like my brother-in-law instead of making them worse off and more likely to commit crimes.”
These words were shared by Lindsey who became a victim of crime when her brother-in-law killed her sister.
Her attitude toward the crime (and the persecutor) raises a lot of questions about the criminal justice system and factors that contribute to criminal behaviour. It also broadens our perspective on crime victims, and the various people that are impacted.
Caring for the victim
There’s a growing focus on caring for the victim as a principle for justice, but we first need to understand the various victim roles involved.
If you’re reading this post, there’s a 40% chance that you’ve been a victim of crime in the past decade.
Other statistics on crime victims, as shared by the Alliance for Safety & Justice, reveal further concerning issues.
- Eight out of ten victims of crime report experiencing at least one symptom of trauma
- Two out of three victims didn’t receive any help following the incident
When it comes to public policy, victims demonstrate an overwhelming support for reform in public policy.
- Three to one victims prefer holding people responsible through options beyond prison (such as mental health treatment or community service)
- Two to one victims prefer that the criminal justice system focus more on rehabilitating the offending individual than punishing them
- Seven to one victims prefer increased investments in mental health treatment rather than investments in prison and jail
- Ten to one victims prefer increased investments in job creation rather than investments in prison and jail
What do victims of crimes want?
The same survey explores what victims of crimes want when it comes to reform in public policy. The survey was conducted across various demographic groups, showing an overwhelming support for getting to the root of the problem of criminal behaviour.
Ultimately, there is an overwhelming support for getting to the root of the problem of criminal behaviour.
EAr Hustle speaks on victims
Whenever a crime is committed, a victim is impacted. Yet it’s not only the person has been assaulted, the store that has been robbed, or individual who has been defrauded that is affected.
In many instances, families of the offending individuals are also victims. For example, incarceration can separate a parent from their children and permanently impact the relationship.
Ear Hustle episode “Are You Listening?” shares a first-hand account of children who have incarcerated parents, shedding light on a different type of victim.
Listen to the full Ear Hustle episode here.
It's important to listen to victim's stories with a compassionate heart and be guided on their desire for change.