Dalhousie Law Journal


Richard Murphy


Victims of Crime, Compensation, Trends, Outlooks, Modem day, Western society, plight, innocent victims


Modem day western society has only recently begun to pay attention to the plight of the innocent victims of crime. Statutes have been enacted to provide financial compensation to a victim, his dependents or someone responsible for his maintenance, for the suffering and losses that invariably follow from acts of violence. The two basic aims of compensation have been identified as the need to sustain public trust (in that societies core values should be protected) and the desire to demonstrate a concern for individual rights and well being.1 In this paper I shall examine the historical outlook on these compensation programs, the anti-victim prejudices that existed then and now, and how compensation has developed in light of these factors. An examination of the justifications behind compensation will reveal why society is no longer directing all of its attention to the criminal and his rehabilitation, and diverting some of the public purse towards the victims. Along with this comes an examination of the costs of the programs and the arguments against compensation. Nova Scotia's possible motives for enacting this legislation are also examined.

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