Victim Impact Statements and the Nature and Incidence of Offender Remorse: Findings from an Observation Study in a Superior Sentencing Court
(2013) 22(2) Griffith Law Review 430-455
26 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2014
Date Written: December 1, 2013
Scholars have argued that disclosure of the impact of the crime on the victim through victim impact statements has the potential to produce an emotional response in offenders that creates an opportunity for offenders to express remorse and apologise to crime victims in the sentencing hearing. Implicit in this claim is the concept that the incidence of such victim focused remorse is a virtue and a positive restorative element of VISs. Drawing from data largely generated by observation of eighteen sentencing hearings of homicide offenders and semistructured interviews with fourteen family victims, this article examines this claim by exploring offender response to victim impact statements, and the nature and incidence of offender remorse observed in the courtroom.
Keywords: victim impact statements, offender remorse, sentencing, apology, observation
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