Satisfied? Exploring Victims' Justice Judgements

33 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2014

See all articles by Robyn Holder

Robyn Holder

Griffith University - School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Date Written: 2014


Across common law countries, victims of crime and victim advocates have made trenchant and sustained critique of criminal justice systems. Running deep in the debate has been the claim that justice itself is absent. In response, legislators and administrators have initiated various reforms from services to ‘rights’ charters. In examining victims’ experiences with and assessments of reforms, both policy makers and researchers have tended to rely on ‘satisfaction’ as a measure. While useful for policy purposes, satisfaction may hide more than it reveals about the expectations and interests of people who are victims of crime. Instead, this chapter argues for closer engagement with ideas of justice. It does so through the narratives and survey responses of a group of men and women who became involved in the criminal justice system in a large regional city in Australia following an incident of violence against them. Interviews with people on three occasions identified a conception of justice that was a dynamic integration comprising substantive and procedural elements. Moreover, this conception drew on core values associated with the public role of the criminal justice system, especially those of fairness, equality and respect. Conceiving of victims as clients or consumers of justice ‘services’ through the lens of satisfaction fails to recognize the normative power of justice as an inclusive ideal as well as its political potency in communal governance.

Keywords: criminal justice, justice, crime victim, satisfaction

JEL Classification: K4, K41

Suggested Citation

Holder, Robyn, Satisfied? Exploring Victims' Justice Judgements (2014). RegNet Research Paper No. 2014/28, Available at SSRN: or

Robyn Holder (Contact Author)

Griffith University - School of Criminology and Criminal Justice ( email )

Room 3.09, Social Sciences Building (M10)
176 Messines Ridge Road, Mt Gravatt
Brisbane, QLD 4122
+61(7)3735 3440 (Phone)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics