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System contact and procedural justice policing: Improving quality of life outcomes for victims of crime



Victims of crime often feel re-victimised when they come into contact with criminal justice professionals. Police, as first responders to many victimisation experiences, therefore need to be particularly sensitive to the way in which they treat victims if they wish to reduce the occurrence of such secondary victimisation. The present study seeks to explore the role that procedural justice policing can play in improving the wellbeing and quality of life of crime victims after system contact. Importantly, it also seeks to put forward a framework for understanding why procedural justice policing might improve victims’ quality of life; this framework draws heavily on theories of emotion. The study utilises survey data collected from 171 crime victims to show that procedural justice policing can indeed reduce the negative impact that system contact can have on a victim’s quality of life. It will be shown that procedural justice enhances victims’ quality of life because it serves to diminish the negative emotions experienced by victims of crime when they come into contact with legal authorities.
To cite this article: Barkworth, J. & Murphy, K. (2016). System contact and
procedural justice policing: Improving quality of life outcomes for victims of crime.
International Review of Victimology, 22(2), 105-122. DOI:
System contact and procedural justice policing: Improving quality of life
outcomes for victims of crime
Julie Barkworth and Kristina Murphy
School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University
Corresponding author:
Julie Barkworth, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice,
Griffith University, Mt Gravatt, QLD, 4122, AUSTRALIA.
Author acknowledgments
This research was supported by the Australian Research Council (Grant Number:
Victims of crime often feel re-victimised when they come into contact with criminal
justice professionals. Police, as first responders to many victimisation experiences,
therefore need to be particularly sensitive to the way in which they treat victims if
they wish to reduce such secondary victimisation from occurring. The present study
seeks to explore the role that procedural justice policing can play in improving the
wellbeing and quality of life of crime victims after system contact. Importantly, it
also seeks to put forward a framework for understanding why procedural justice
policing might improve victims’ quality of life; this framework draws heavily on
theories of emotion. The study utilises survey data collected from 171 crime victims
to show that procedural justice policing can indeed reduce the negative impact that
system contact can have on a victim’s quality of life. It will be shown that procedural
justice enhances victims’ quality of life because it serves to diminish the negative
emotions experienced by victims of crime when they come into contact with legal
procedural justice, policing, crime victims, quality of life, wellbeing, emotion
Victims of crime are often relied upon to assist criminal justice agencies with
reporting crime and when prosecuting offenders. Often overlooked by criminal
justice officials, however, is the victim’s sense of wellbeing and quality of life after
such encounters with the criminal justice system. Research has previously reported
that many victims of crime feel re-victimised as they proceed through the criminal
justice system (for a review see Wemmers, 2013). Research has found many victims
report a secondary victimisation from the criminal justice system when authorities
hold victim-blaming attitudes (Campbell, 1998; Campbell, Wasco, Ahrens, Sefl &
Barnes, 2001; Madigan & Gamble, 1991) or when there is insensitive or
unresponsive treatment from legal officials (Martin & Powell, 1994). Such treatment
can lead to numerous detrimental outcomes for the victim, including anxiety, fear,
and feeling ostracised from the wider community in which they live. As an authority
that often has first point of contact with crime victims, police need to be particularly
mindful of preventing further victimisation, as it is at this stage that victims of crime
can be particularly vulnerable.
While a large body of research has shown that people’s satisfaction with
authorities and the criminal justice system more broadly increases when authorities
engage in procedural justice practices (e.g. Tyler & Huo, 2002; Hinds & Murphy,
2007), there is limited research examining the link between the way police—as front-
line responders—treat crime victims and the subsequent effect that such treatment
can have on a victim’s subsequent quality of life. The present study specifically
seeks to examine the role that procedural justice policing can play in promoting crime
victims’ quality of life after system contact. Importantly, it also seeks to put forward a
framework for understanding why procedural justice policing might improve crime
victims’ overall quality of life; that framework draws heavily on theories of emotion.
Survey data collected from crime victims will be utilised. We will show that when
police officers use procedural justice in their contacts with victims of crime it can: (a)
reduce negative emotions associated with system contact; (b) reduce victims’
subsequent fear of crime; and (c) reduce victims’ feelings of isolation within their
The impact of victimisation
Victims of crime can experience a range of emotions and conditions resulting from
their victimisation experience. Studies of crime victims have consistently revealed a
number of emotional and psychological consequences, including posttraumatic stress
disorder, major depressive episode, anxiety, fear of crime, low self-esteem,
complicated or traumatic grief, agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social
phobia, simple phobia, and feelings of social exclusion (e.g., Boudreaux, Kilpatrick,
Resnick, Best & Saunders, 1998; Garofalo, 1979; Kilpatrick, 1984; Lang, Kennedy &
Stein, 2002; Strang, 2003; Zlotnick et al., 2006).
Police, as first responders to many victimisation experiences, can further
contribute to a victim’s distress through disrespectful treatment or through what
victims often consider as invasive and insensitive questioning (Maier, 2008). Police
are required to gather accurate testimony and as much evidence as possible when
questioning victims. Whilst the solicitation of negative emotion may not be
intentional in these situations, the collection of this information may supersede the
emotional needs of the victim. In order to investigate and later prosecute a case police
require as much detail as possible, but at what cost to the victim?
Campbell and Raja (1999) interviewed mental health professionals who had
worked closely with rape victims and found most therapists believed contact with
criminal justice agents such as the police and the prosecutor’s office could be harmful
to rape survivors’ mental health. This may be linked, in part, to differences in how
authorities believe they should handle a case compared to what victims expect when
dealing with these authorities. Howley (1982, cited in Shapland, 1984) highlighted
these differences, reporting that police believed professionalism and efficiency were
of utmost importance when dealing with victims, while victims expected support,
reassurance and more personal contact from police. Shapland (1984) further found
victims were most concerned with the processes police followed; the outcome they
received in their case mattered less (also see Murphy & Barkworth, 2014). Shapland
found that the attitudes displayed by the police had the biggest impact on victims’
level of satisfaction with their contact. Victim satisfaction was closely linked to the
demeanour of the police and whether police considered the case seriously;
dissatisfaction with the police encounter was linked with experiences of uncaring or
casual attitudes. Cattaneo and Goodman (2010) were specifically interested in
studying the quality of life of victims of violence. They found victims were more
likely to report improvements in quality of life, as well as a reduction in depression
levels, when they had encountered an empowering experience when dealing with the
criminal justice system. Cattaneo and Goodman found victims going through a court
process were more likely to feel empowered when they were able to express their
views and that these views were considered in the decision process.
Together, the findings discussed above show the prominent role that criminal
justice agents can play in influencing the subsequent wellbeing and quality of life
experienced by victims after coming into contact with the criminal justice system.
The findings specifically highlight the value of police—as first line responders—
using procedural justice in encounters with crime victims.
Procedural justice policing: What do we know?
Procedural justice occurs when authorities treat people fairly and make decisions
fairly. When judging whether an encounter with a police officer is procedurally just,
people often focus on four aspects communicated by an officer: respect,
trustworthiness, neutrality, and voice (Rankin & Tyler, 2009; Tyler, 2008; Tyler &
Huo, 2002; Tyler & Murphy, 2011). Research suggests that people perceive an
encounter to be more procedurally just when they have been treated with respect,
politeness and dignity, and when they feel they have been allowed an opportunity to
air concerns and be involved in resolving their case (i.e. voice) (Tyler & Huo, 2002).
Perceived fairness is also achieved through a sense of trust in the authority, elicited
by the officer acting in the best interests of the person with an open, honest and
caring attitude, and through a sense that treatment and decisions are conducted or
made in a neutral manner. If neutral, the authority bases their actions and decisions on
fact rather than personal opinion (Rankin & Tyler, 2009; Tyler, 2008; Tyler & Huo,
2002; Tyler & Murphy, 2011).
A significant body of research has demonstrated the importance of procedural
justice in police-citizen interactions. Procedural justice policing has been found to
increase the public’s trust and confidence in police (Murphy, Mazerolle & Bennett,
2014; Tyler, 2003; Tyler & Huo, 2002), increase the public’s satisfaction with police
(Hinds & Murphy, 2007; Tyler & Huo, 2002), and has been found to improve public
perceptions of police legitimacy (Tyler, 1990; Sunshine & Tyler, 2003; Hinds &
Murphy, 2007; Murphy, Hinds & Fleming, 2008; Bradford, Murphy & Jackson,
2014). Compliance behaviours have also been shown to increase when people feel
they have been treated with procedural justice by a police officer (Tyler 1990;
Mastrofski, Snipes & Supina, 1996; McCluskey, Mastrofski & Parks, 1999;
McCluskey, 2003; Jackson et al., 2012; Paternoster, Brame, Bachman & Sherman,
1997). Specifically, if police use procedural justice during encounters with the public,
people are more willing to obey the directives of police and will be more likely to
obey the law in their everyday lives (Tyler , 1990). Cooperative behaviours such as
voluntarily reporting crime and victimisation, and willingly assisting police in their
crime control efforts are behaviours that have also been shown to be positively
influenced by procedural justice policing (Tankebe, 2009; Reisig & Lloyd, 2007;
Jackson, Bradford, Stanko & Hohl, 2012; Murphy et al., 2008; Murphy, Tyler &
Curtis, 2009; Murphy & Cherney, 2012; Sargeant, Murphy & Cherney 2014;
Sunshine & Tyler, 2003; Tyler & Fagan, 2008).
Importantly, research has found that procedural justice can significantly
improve crime victims’ satisfaction with police encounters (Elliott, Thomas, &
Ogloff, 2011, 2012; Laxminarayan, Bosmans, Porter & Sosa, 2013; Ruback, Cares, &
Hoskins, 2008; Wemmers, 1998). This effect was demonstrated clearly by Wheller,
Quinton, Fildes and Mills (2013) in their recent experimental field trial in England.
Relative to victims in a control group, Wheller et al. (2013) found that victims who
had contact with police officers trained in procedural justice were significantly more
likely to report feeling satisfied with their police contact, and they were significantly
more likely to rate police treatment of them as procedurally fair. Police who had not
been trained in the use of procedural justice elicited significantly lower levels of
victim satisfaction and evaluations of fair treatment. Victims of crime can also be
encouraged to assist police by reporting subsequent crimes and victimisations if they
feel they have been treated with procedural justice during an initial encounter (Elliott
et al., 2012; Murphy & Barkworth, 2014). Such findings are particularly noteworthy
considering the low rate of reporting by victims of crime (Australian Bureau of
Statistics, 2010a; Fisher, Daigle, Cullen & Turner, 2003).
We are aware of only three studies to date that specifically attempt to link
victims’ evaluations of procedural justice with their subsequent wellbeing and quality
of life; only one of these studies focuses exclusively on police (see Elliott, Thomas &
Ogloff, 2013; Laxminarayan, 2012; Wemmers, 2013). Elliott et al.’s (2013) study
utilised qualitative interviews from 110 crime victims to show that procedural justice
during a police-victim interaction led victims to report a stronger sense of wellbeing;
specifically, procedural justice “was beneficial in addressing the negative
psychological consequences of crime by giving victims a sense of closure,
empowerment, and making them feel safer” (p. 1). Elliott et al.’s results provide
support for Cattaneo and Goodman’s (2010) finding that experiences of
empowerment with criminal justice authorities can improve overall quality of life.
Second, Wemmers (2013) found that procedural justice was able to reduce the post-
traumatic stress symptoms experienced by victims of crime. Wemmers surveyed 146
crime victims on two occasions: once soon after the prosecutor received their case
from the police and again six months later. In each survey, victims were asked about
the procedural justice they received from both police and other criminal justice
agents. Wemmers found that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms
improved with time. However, while procedural justice had little to do with this
improvement, victims who reported higher levels of procedural justice at time 1 were
significantly less likely to report strong PTSD symptoms at time 1. Third,
Laxminarayan (2012) surveyed 190 victims of serious crime. She found that
receiving procedural justice from criminal justice agents was associated with a more
positive quality of life; quality of life was measured via five items assessing the
consequences that the criminal proceedings had on their self-esteem, their level of
optimism, trust in the legal system, their faith in a just world, and their ability to cope
with crime. Taken together, these results demonstrate the importance of procedural
justice as a therapeutic tool for improving victims’ quality of life outcomes.
Explaining these effects through an emotion framework
With procedural justice having such a positive influence on so many outcomes (and
not just with victims), researchers have tried to understand why procedural justice
might be so effective. Prominent here are studies that show that emotion plays a
significant role in predicting why procedural justice influences people’s evaluations
of authorities. Empirical studies have revealed that both positive and negative
emotion can be elicited by experiences of procedural justice and injustice; those who
experience procedural justice tend to be more likely to experience emotions such as
happiness, while those who report experiencing procedural injustice are more likely
to report emotions of anger, frustration, guilt, or anxiety (e.g. Barkworth & Murphy,
2014; Kriehbiel & Cropanzano, 2000; Weiss, Suckow, & Cropanzano, 1999).
Interestingly, some recent studies have shown that emotion can play an important
mediating role between procedural justice and subsequent attitudes and behavioural
reactions (e.g. De Cremer & Den Ouden, 2009; Barkworth & Murphy, 2014; Murphy
& Tyler, 2008; VanYperen et al., 2000). For example, using both experimental and
longitudinal survey data from Australians who had had a recent encounter with
police, Barkworth and Murphy (2014) found that anger mediated the relationship
between procedural justice and self-reported compliance behaviour; if people
received procedural injustice from police they experienced more anger, resulting in
lower levels of compliance and cooperation with the law and police.
But how can such findings explain why procedural justice might impact upon
crime victims’ quality of life? Here we can draw upon theories that place emotion at
the heart of explaining people’s reactions to law enforcement (e.g. Braithwaite, 1989;
Karstedt, Loader & Strang, 2011; Sherman, 1993; van den Bos 2009; Lind & van den
Bos 2002). Lind and van den Bos’ (2002) uncertainty management theory, for
example, is particularly noteworthy as it provides a framework for understanding the
consequences of system contact on people’s subsequent reactions. The uncertainty
management model suggests that procedural justice can be particularly important to
people in situations that make them feel uncertain. Studies undertaken in the
workplace context demonstrate that procedural justice is important to individuals who
feel ‘uncertain’ about both their status within their organisation and about how their
employer will treat them (Lind & Van den Bos 2002; Van den Bos 2001). It is not
unreasonable to expect that victims of crime will experience uncertainty; uncertainty
about how their case will be viewed by police before they even contact police, and
uncertainty about how society may view them (i.e. will they be believed, will they be
blamed for their victimisation). Social psychological research has revealed that
feelings of ‘uncertainty’ can increase people’s need to feel socially included in groups
(Hogg & Abrams, 1993; Hogg & Mullin 1999). Victims of crime, therefore, may feel
particularly anxious about their level of acceptance by others in society.
The ‘uncertainty management’ literature further suggests that uncertainty
about what to expect from a given situation causes negative emotions such as anger
and anxiety (Van den Bos 2001). To counterbalance such negative emotion,
individuals who experience uncertainty will focus on fairness when forming
judgments about authorities. This occurs because being treated with respect, being
given voice in decision-making, and experiencing unbiased procedures communicates
to people that they are valued members of the group, which reduces their feelings of
status uncertainty. Procedural justice is likely to be important to victims because it
serves to communicate to them that they are valued members of society. This in turn
will reduce feelings of uncertainty and the negative emotions that this uncertainty
Common in the emotion literature, and related to arguments made by
uncertainty management theory, is the idea that events can be appraised as either
harmful or favourable to one’s own goals and desires, and specific emotions are
experienced as a result of this appraisal (e.g. Barkworth & Murphy, 2014; Giner-
Sorolla, Mackie & Smith, 2007; Mackie, Devos & Smith, 2000; Smith, 1993;
Murphy & Tyler, 2008). Certain negative emotions (e.g. anger; anxiety; shame), for
example, are suggested to manifest when a judgement is made that a person or group
is harming or threatening the self (Mackie et al., 2000, p.602). It is these negative
emotions that can then lead to negative behaviours as the individual attempts to
protect the self. Such theories of emotion can similarly be used to explain why
victims of crime may respond as they do to negative and procedurally unjust
experiences with criminal justice agents. Murphy and Tyler (2008) use emotion
theories to specifically argue that procedural injustice can threaten a person’s sense of
self-worth. They suggest that people can experience negative emotions in response to
such threats, and the experience of these negative emotions will determine how they
will behave.
In the context of victimisation, therefore, unfair or disrespectful treatment can
amplify a victim’s feelings of uncertainty, can threaten a victim’s self-worth, and will
leave them feeling upset, anxious, or ashamed. Procedurally just treatment, in
contrast, will serve to reduce status uncertainty and the negative emotions associated
with such uncertainty, thereby resulting in more positive quality of life outcomes,
including greater feelings of social inclusion and empowerment after victimisation.
Victims of crime are understandably sensitive to how others perceive them. They are
particularly sensitive to whether they will be believed and valued by authorities (see
Murphy & Barkworth, 2014). Messages from authorities that communicate to
victims that they are believed, valued and respected (i.e., procedural justice) are less
likely to leave victims feeling isolated and excluded because such treatment is less
likely to elicit uncertainty and negative emotion. In other words, how a victim’s
emotions are experienced and managed serves as the psychological mechanism
explaining why and how procedural justice will have an impact upon their subsequent
quality of life. If we want victims to feel safe, empowered and included within
society, the priority of police should be to reduce the negative emotions experienced
by victims of crime. We propose this can be achieved through procedural justice.
The present study
Both the Elliott et al. (2013) and Laxminarayan (2012) studies discussed above show
that procedural justice has a positive influence on crime victims’ overall quality of
life. Neither study, however, attempted to put forth a theoretical framework for
understanding why this occurs. It is within this context that the present study seeks to
extend their work. The present study seeks to examine the importance of procedural
justice policing for enhancing crime victims’ feelings of social inclusion and
empowerment after victimisation and system contact. It seeks to explore whether
procedurally just treatment can reduce the negative emotions often felt by victims of
crime when they come into contact with law enforcement. And importantly, the
present study specifically tests whether procedural justice enhances feelings of social
inclusion and empowerment through reducing the negative emotion experienced by
victims of crime. Based on the literature reviewed above, three specific hypotheses
will be tested:
1) Procedural justice policing will reduce the negative emotions experienced by
victims of crime when they come into contact with police;
2) Procedural justice policing will have a positive influence on a crime victims’
quality of life (operationalized as feelings of social inclusion and fear of
3) The positive effect of procedural justice policing on quality of life will be
mediated by emotions experienced by victims of crime.
Participants and procedure
In 2009, a random sample of Australian citizens selected from the publicly available
Electoral Roll was mailed an invitation to participate in a research study about crime,
safety and policing in their neighbourhood. Voting is compulsory in Australia. Hence,
all Australian citizens over the age of 18 are required by law to register their name
and address on the Roll. A stratified random sampling technique was employed in the
selection of citizens to account for variation in population size across State and
Territory jurisdictions. In total, 2088 people were selected and invited to participate.
The survey included approximately 360 questions that addressed topics such
as perceptions of crime in the community, experiences of victimisation, encounters
with police, satisfaction with police activity, and attitudes toward police. The sample
of participants selected was sent a survey package which included a copy of the
survey, a reply paid envelope, and a cover letter explaining the aims of the research,
guaranteed confidentiality, and included a Free-call 1800 number to be used for
assistance. Three reminder letters were sent to non-responders over a period of three
months to encourage completion of the survey, with a replacement survey and reply
paid envelope also accompanying the second reminder letter. A total of 1203 useable
surveys were returned (58% response rate), and after accounting for out-of-scope
individuals (i.e., those who had died, were incapable of completing the survey, or
whom did not live at the address the survey was sent to; N=232), a final adjusted
response rate of 65% was obtained (for details about the full survey instrument, the
methodology adopted for the broader project, and the main findings see Murphy,
Murphy and Mearns, 2010).
As we were specifically interested in victims of crime who had had contact
with police in relation to their victimisation, a sub-sample of respondents who
completed the survey was extracted; this sub-sample comprised of those who had
been a victim of either property or personal crime in the preceding 12 months and
who had reported that victimisation to police. A total of 171 victims who fit the
selection criteria were identified. Table 1 presents means and standard deviations for
demographic variables for the extracted sample.1
[insert Table 1 here]
1 Women were slightly over-represented in the survey (but only by about 3% based on Australian
population figures). Australian census figures reveal that 51% of Australia’s population are women.
Our results may therefore have slightly over-represented female victims of crime. We should note,
however, that we control for gender in our statistical models.
The present study was interested in examining the effect of procedural justice on two
concepts: 1) negative emotions; and 2) quality of life. The procedural justice scale
was constructed using 6 items measured on a 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly
agree) Likert scale. The scale was designed to measure victims’ perceptions of police
use of procedural justice during their contact (e.g., ‘Thinking about your contact with
police, were they…… polite/respectful/courteous?’). Higher scores on the scale
indicated greater procedural justice was experienced during the encounter (M=3.74;
SD=0.58; Cronbach alpha=0.93). The Appendix presents the items used to construct
the procedural justice scale, along with those items presented below.
Three negative emotion scales were of interest. Each was measured on a 5-
point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree). All three scales asked
how participants had felt during their recent encounter with police. The three scales
measured: 1) shame and embarrassment (i.e., shame; 2 items; M=1.83; SD=0.84;
Cronbach alpha=0.86); 2) tension and anxiety (i.e., anxiety; 2 items; M=2.13;
SD=1.00; Cronbach alpha=0.97); and 3) anger, frustration and resentment (i.e.,
anger; 3 items; M=2.00; SD=0.95; Cronbach alpha=0.92). These negative emotions
were selected for use in the current study given prior research has shown that
procedural injustice is strongly associated with these emotions (see Kriehbiel &
Cropanzano, 2000; Weiss et al, 1999; Murphy & Tyler, 2008), and because studies of
victimisation have revealed they are common emotions experienced by victims of
crime (e.g., Strang, 2003). Higher scores on each of these scales reflected more
extreme feelings of shame, anxiety, and anger.
Two quality of life measures were examined: 1) how one’s quality of life was
affected by fear of crime; and 2) feelings of social inclusion. Fear was
operationalized via one-item, which asked participants to indicate how much their
quality of life was impacted by fear of crime. This item was measured on a 1 (no
impact) to 10 (very large impact) scale. Given the skewed responses given to this
item, the measure was recoded to a 1 (no impact) to 6 (large impact) scale (response
categories 6 to 10 were collapsed into one response category). It was then reverse
scored so that a higher score reflected a more positive quality of life (i.e., less impact
of fear on their lives/greater feelings of safety; M=3.12; SD=1.72). Social inclusion
was measured via two items and assessed the degree of isolation victims felt within
their own community (e.g., ‘I feel like an outsider in my community’); scores on this
scale were reverse scored so that a higher score reflected greater feelings of social
inclusion (M=3.88; SD=0.77; Cronbach alpha=0.87).
Fear of crime was selected as an outcome measure for victims’ quality of life
because research has shown that victims of crime often experience greater levels of
fear than non-victims (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2010b); greater fear results in a
lower quality of life. Scholars also suggest that exclusion from valued social groups
ranks as one of the most aversive of human experiences, with social exclusion linked
to poor self-esteem, anxiety, depression, disengagement, aggression, and loneliness
(Gardner, Pickett & Brewer, 2000; Nezlek, Kowalski, Leary, Blevins & Holgate,
1997; Williams & Sommer, 1997). Hence, given the status uncertainty victims are
likely to experience after victimisation, feeling socially included in society is likely to
have benefits to their overall quality of life.
Finally, several demographic control variables were also utilised in the current
study. These included age, gender (0 = male; 1 = female), income (AUD$), and
education (1 = little formal schooling to 10 = postgraduate degree).
In order to examine the impact of procedural justice policing on victims’ emotions
and quality of life, a series of regression analyses were conducted. The first set of
regression analyses used demographic measures as controls and the procedural justice
variable to predict shame, anxiety, and anger, respectively (see Table 2). The second
set of analyses used demographics, procedural justice, and emotions to predict fear
(Table 3) and social inclusion (see Table 4). Variables were entered in blocks in
Tables 3 and 4 to test whether the emotions of shame, anxiety and anger would
mediate the effect of procedural justice on both fear and feelings of social inclusion.
[insert Table 2 about here]
It can be seen from Table 2 that procedural justice was negatively associated
to all three emotions. Victims who felt they received greater levels of procedural
justice from police when reporting their victimisation were significantly less likely to
feel shame, anxiety, or anger, respectively. Importantly, none of the demographic
variables predicted emotional reactions; procedural justice was the sole predictor of
Step 1 of Tables 3 and 4 show that procedural justice was also related to
victims’ quality of life. Procedural justice was found to be positively and
significantly related to both feelings of fear and social inclusion. If victims felt they
had experienced greater levels of procedural justice from police after reporting their
victimisation they were less likely to feel their quality of life had been impacted by
fear of crime, and they were more likely to feel socially included in their community.
Models 1, 2 and 3 in Table 3 also show that gender was related to fear.
Unsurprisingly, female victims were more likely than male victims to feel their
quality of life had been negatively affected by fear of crime. Age was also found to
predict feelings of social inclusion, with older victims feeling higher levels of social
inclusion (see Models 1, 2 and 3 in Table 4).
Where the findings become particularly interesting is in Step 2 of each model.
First, turning to Table 3 we can see that the emotions of shame, anxiety and anger are
all negatively related to the fear of crime variable. Those with higher levels of shame,
anxiety and anger are less likely to feel safe (i.e., their quality of life has been more
affected by fear of crime). Upon entry of these emotion variables at Step 2, we can
also see that the previously significant relationship between procedural justice and
fear disappeared. Instead, only the three emotion variables continued to predict fear.
These findings suggest that negative emotion can mediate the effect of procedural
justice on victims’ fear levels. These mediation effects were confirmed via three
significant one-tailed Sobel tests (z=2.91, p<0.002 for shame; z=1.82, p<0.03 for
anxiety; and z=2.29, p<0.01 for anger, respectively).
Similar findings were obtained when examining the social inclusion models.
In Table 4 (Model 1 and 2) we can see that shame and anxiety each significantly
predicted the level of social inclusion victims of crime experienced in their
community. Those with greater levels of shame and anxiety were more likely to feel
isolated in their community. Importantly, like the analyses presented above, the
shame and anxiety emotions again fully mediated the effect of procedural justice on
feelings of social inclusion; the procedural justice variable ceased to predict feelings
of social inclusion once shame or anxiety emotions were accounted for. These
mediation effects were confirmed via two significant one-tailed Sobel tests (z=1.87,
p<0.03 for shame; z=1.98, p<0.02 for anxiety). The results for anger were slightly
different. As can be seen in Step 2 of Model 3 in Table 4, when the anger variable
was entered into the regression model, the significant effect of procedural justice
disappeared. However, given the anger variable itself did not significantly predict
feelings of social inclusion, anger was not a true mediator for the effect of procedural
justice on social inclusion. What we can conclude, however, is that when a victim’s
emotions of anger are taken into account, procedural justice has little relationship to
the victim’s feelings of isolation.
Taken together, the findings seem to suggest that procedural justice policing
has an important role to play in enhancing the subsequent quality of life of victims of
crime. This appears to be so because procedural justice reduces the negative emotions
often experienced by victims of crime when they come into contact with legal
[insert Table 3 about here]
[insert Table 4 about here]
The present study sought to examine the role that procedural justice policing plays in
promoting crime victims’ quality of life after system contact. Three specific
hypotheses were tested: 1) perceptions of police use of procedural justice will reduce
the likelihood of various types of negative emotion experienced by crime victims; 2)
procedural justice policing will have a positive influence on victims’ evaluations of
their quality of life; and 3) emotions will mediate the relationship between procedural
justice and quality of life.
We found a number of interesting results. First, procedural justice was able to
predict victims’ emotions. Victims who believed they were treated in a procedurally
unjust way by police officers when reporting their victimisation were significantly
more likely to feel anger, frustration and resentment, they were more likely to
experience shame and embarrassment, and they were more likely to feel tense and
anxious as a result of their system contact. These findings support Hypothesis 1, and
much of the previous literature that demonstrates that system contact can leave
victims of crime feeling vulnerable, ashamed and angry. Second, we found procedural
justice was also associated with victims’ self-reported quality of life. Those victims
who felt they had received unfair treatment from police were much more likely to
express their quality of life had been impacted by fear of crime. They were also more
likely to express that they felt socially isolated in their community. Conversely, those
who felt they received procedural justice from police were less likely to feel their life
was impacted by fear and they were less likely to feel isolated in their community.
These findings support Hypothesis 2; receiving procedural justice from police
appears to positively affect crime victims’ subsequent quality of life. Third, and
importantly, the present study put forward a theoretical framework that attempted to
explain why procedural justice might be linked to a victim’s evaluations about their
quality of life. The framework drew heavily on existing emotion theories. It put forth
the idea that procedural justice policing would influence crime victims’ subsequent
quality of life because procedural justice serves to reduce the level of status
uncertainty and negative emotions often experienced after system contact. We found
support for Hypothesis 3; negative emotions did mediate the effect of procedural
justice on victims’ self-reported quality of life.
Implications of the findings
So what do these findings tell us? The vast majority of procedural justice studies
with victims of crime show a strong and consistent link between perceptions of fair
treatment and victims’ satisfaction with the criminal justice system (for a review see
Laxminarayan et al., 2013). Only a handful of studies to date, however, have
investigated whether procedural justice received during a victim’s encounter with the
police can also be linked to their subsequent wellbeing and quality of life after system
contact. Our study suggested that an association between procedural justice policing
and quality of life does exist; procedural justice can predict how crime victims feel
about different aspects of their lives. While such a finding may not be surprising to
scholars working in the victimisation literature, our results also highlight the fact that
procedural justice may be able to be used effectively when police officers are called
to a victimisation event. As noted in the Introduction, Wheller et al. (2013) found that
crime victims exposed to police officers who had received procedural justice training
were significantly more likely to evaluate the encounter as procedurally fair and were
more satisfied with their police contact than were victims who had been exposed to
officers who received no such training. Wheller et al.’s research tells us that police
officers can be trained to use procedural justice and that it can be easily and
effectively implemented in the field.
The fact that our findings show that procedural justice has the potential to
impact upon the quality of life of victims of crime supports earlier research by
Laxminarayan (2013), Wemmers (2013) and Elliott et al. (2012). Each of those
authors found a link between legal authorities (police and court officials) treating
victims with procedural justice and victims’ quality of life. In particular,
Laxminarayan (2013) and Elliott et al. (2012) found that procedural justice improved
victims’ self-esteem, their faith in a just world, their trust in legal authorities, and
provided them with a sense of empowerment. Where our study extends those prior
studies, however, is that it explains why procedural justice might have such positive
effects on the quality of life of crime victims.
Theories of emotion in both the sociology and psychology literatures posit an
important role for emotions for explaining how people react to events (e.g.
Braithwaite, 1989; Karstedt et al., 2011; Sherman, 1993; van den Bos, 2001). We
know, for example, that offenders who are punished by legal authorities can feel
stigmatised by their experience if the punishment serves to humiliate them for what
they have done. John Braithwaite argues that when such shame-related emotions are
managed by the offender in a counter-productive manner this can lead to anger,
further retaliatory behaviour, and subsequent re-offending (see Braithwaite, 1989;
Braithwaite & Braithwaite, 2001). Victimisation experiences may operate in a
similar fashion. There is no doubt that a victimisation event can be threatening to
one’s sense of self. The literature is full of examples of crime victims feeling
ashamed, anxious, and angry about their victimisation, leaving them feeling uncertain
about whether they will be believed or respected by authorities and members of the
community (see Murphy & Barkworth, 2014). Police can further exacerbate these
feelings of vulnerability and uncertainty through the way in which they treat victims
(e.g. Campbell, 1998; Campbell et al., 2001; Madigan & Gamble, 1991; Martin &
Powell, 1994; Wemmers, 2013; Van den Bos, 2001). In a victimisation situation
where one’s sense of self has been threatened, feeling valued and respected through
procedurally just treatment may be particularly important to crime victims. Fair
treatment can foster a sense of validation and understanding of a victims’ situation
and communicates to victims that they are valued, that they will be believed, that
their best interests are taken into account, and that they will be looked after. Such
treatment can therefore protect them from the negative emotions that can result in
destructive thoughts and behaviours. Our findings certainly add weight to the
emotions literature by showing that procedural justice can reduce the negative quality
of life outcomes experienced by crime victims because procedural justice reduces the
negative emotions experienced by system contact. This is likely due to the fact that
procedural justice reduces feelings of status uncertainty (see Van den Bos, 2001,
While our findings add support to uncertainty management theory and other
emotion-based theories of system contact, they also have implications for police
practice and policy. Given that victims of crime are likely to feel a high degree of
uncertainty and negative emotion prior to even contacting police, this requires a
policing approach that is sensitive to these emotions and feelings of uncertainty.
Police may not be able to solve the crime that victims report to them, but they can
change the way in which they interact with victims of crime. Listening to victims,
ensuring they communicate to victims that they have their best interests at heart,
ensuring they treat all types of victim with respect, regardless of their background or
victimisation experience, will ensure that victims of crime feel more satisfied with
their system contact. Police agencies should ensure that all of their officers receive
training in procedural justice so that they recognise the value that such treatment can
have on a victim’s subsequent quality of life. Wheller et al’s. (2013) study shows that
such training is easy to implement and has far reaching benefits for victim
satisfaction. Given that police rely so heavily on members of the public to report
crime and victimisation, providing an experience that victims will view as
procedurally fair will reduce their feelings of secondary victimisation, but it will also
encourage victims to report subsequent victimisations to police in the future.
Interactions that do not utilise procedural justice, in contrast, risk impacting on the
long-term effectiveness of police, as victims of crime shy away from police out of
fear of experiencing secondary victimisation and social exclusion.
Limitations of the study
While our study demonstrates that procedural justice can promote quality of life
outcomes among crime victims, it is worth mentioning that there are some limitations
inherent in our data. While these limitations do not discredit our findings they should
be taken into account when interpreting the results. First of all, our study only
contained a relatively small sample of crime victims (N=171). This is not dissimilar
to other studies in the field, but it does raise a concern over whether the findings can
be generalised to all victims of crime. The victims studied here had experienced a
variety of different offences (e.g. burglary, assault, sexual assault, motor vehicle theft,
vandalism of property). Laximarayan et al. (2013) argue that such heterogeneity in
victimisation samples is a limitation because there are subtle nuances in victimisation
experiences that can occur across different victimisation contexts (for evidence of this
see Murphy & Barkworth, 2014). These nuances cannot be ascertained when the
sample is combined. Laximayaran et al. therefore suggest that researchers should
consider examining the impact of criminal justice processes across different types of
crime victim separately. Murphy and Barkworth’s (2014) recent study points to the
value of such an approach. They were able to show that procedural justice concerns
mattered less for some types of crime victim; for other types of victim procedural
justice mattered a great deal in determining whether they would be willing to engage
with police again. It is therefore possible that had we had a larger sample with which
to work with, we might have found that procedural justice impacted differently upon
quality of life outcomes for different types of crime victim.
A second limitation relates to the nature of our data. The present study
utilised cross-sectional survey data. The true direction of causality between our
variables cannot be determined with such data. We cannot be certain, for example,
whether victims who are particularly emotional to begin with, or whom have a lower
quality of life, are less likely to evaluate police favourably, or whether the type of
police treatment received caused more negative emotion and poorer quality of life to
be experienced. These pre-existing feelings should be taken into account in future
research to examine what impact they have over and above the effect of procedural
justice on emotions and well-being. Further analyses of changes over time using
longitudinal datasets may offer a more robust test for such relationships. Ideally,
accessing a group of people prior to victimisation and then tracking their experiences
in the criminal justice system after a victimisation event would be a much stronger
test of the research questions posed in our study. Related to this limitation is the fact
that we are unable to control for the time-lag between victimisation experience and
interview. While we asked about victimisation experienced in the preceding 12-
month period, some victims may have experienced victimisation 12 months prior to
completing a survey, while others only 1 month prior to the survey. Future research
should control for this.
Third, we only had a limited number of quality of life measures available in
our survey. We found there was a relationship between procedural justice and
emotion, and between procedural justice and fear of crime and feeling isolated within
a community, but perhaps if asked about the impact of police treatment on other
aspects of quality of life (e.g. faith in a just world; self-esteem, a sense of
empowerment, etc.) we may have failed to find relationships.
Finally, the amount of variation explained in some of our models was weaker
than desired. While this was of less concern for the three models predicting emotion,
the two models that used quality of life as dependent variables were only able to
explain a maximum of 20% of the variation in quality of life responses. This suggests
that other variables not contained in the models contribute to the quality of life
experienced by victims of crime.
Despite the limitations in our study, we were still able to highlight some interesting
results. Importantly, procedural justice policing can have a positive effect on a crime
victim’s quality of life after system contact. Our research shows that a victim’s fear of
crime and their feelings of social exclusion can be significantly reduced if police use
a procedurally just approach when they first come into contact with a crime victim.
Our findings suggest that the positive relationship between procedurally fair
treatment and quality of life occurs because procedural justice serves to reduce the
shame, anxiety, and anger that can be experienced by victims coming into contact
with the criminal justice system. In conclusion, our results highlight the importance
of police officers always using procedural justice when they come into contact with
crime victims. As noted earlier, victims of crime want and expect support and
reassurance, and they desire a more personal approach from police. A procedural
justice policing approach can deliver this.
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Procedural justice
Thinking about your recent contact with police, would you say they were…..
Used clear simple language
When you think about the way you were treated during your recent contact with
police, do you feel…..?
Shamed by the experience
Quality of life affected by fear
How much is your quality of life affected by fear of crime?
Social inclusion
I feel distant from people in my community
I feel like an outsider in my community
Table 1
Demographic details of extracted sample; those who had experienced and reported
victimisation to police in previous 12 months.
Extracted Sample
(N = 171)
M SD %
Age 53.93 14.56
Income ($’000s) 85.56 54.11
Male 45.9
Female 54.1
Year 12 or lower 34.6
Cert.1 – Adv. Diploma 29.0
Bachelor Degree or higher 36.4
Table 2
Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression analysis exploring the role of procedural
justice policing on victims’ feelings of shame, anxiety and anger.
Shame Anxiety Anger
Predictor β β β
Age -0.06 -0.05 -0.11
Gender (0 =
Male) 0.12 0.14 0.10
Education -0.10 0.04 0.04
Income -0.12 -0.09 -0.05
Procedural Justice -0.56*** -0.46*** -0.59***
R20.36 0.24 0.40
df 121 120 122
***p < .001
Table 3
Hierarchical regression analysis exploring the role of procedural justice policing and
emotion on victims’ fear of crime.
Model 1 Model 2 Model 3
Step 1 Step 2 Step 1 Step 2 Step 1 Step 2
Predictor β β β β β β
Age -0.09 -0.11 -0.11 -0.11 -0.09 -0.12
Gender (0 =
Male) -0.24* -0.20* -0.23* -0.21* -0.24** -0.21*
Education 0.00 -0.03 -0.00 0.01 -0.00 0.02
Income 0.04 0.00 0.04 0.03 0.04 0.03
Procedural Justice 0.20* 0.01 0.20* 0.11 0.21* 0.05
Shame - -0.35*
*- - - -
Anxiety - - - -0.20* - -
Anger - - - - - -0.27*
R20.08 0.16 0.08 0.11 0.09 0.13
F change 2.12 10.41** 2.10 3.85* 2.36* 5.51*
df 5, 115 1, 114 5, 114 1, 113 5, 116 1, 115
*p < .05; **p < .01; Note: fear of crime is coded so a higher score indicates less fear
(i.e., higher quality of life)
Table 4
Hierarchical regression analysis exploring the role of procedural justice policing and
emotion on victims’ feelings of social inclusion.
Model 1 Model 2 Model 3
Step 1 Step 2 Step 1 Step 2 Step 1 Step 2
Predictor β β β β β β
Age 0.24* 0.22* 0.27** 0.26** 0.24* 0.22*
Gender (0 =
Male) 0.07 0.10 0.06 0.09 0.07 0.10
Education -0.06 -0.08 -0.05 -0.05 -0.06 -0.05
Income 0.07 0.04 0.06 0.04 0.07 0.06
Procedural Justice 0.27** 0.15 0.27** 0.18 0.27** 0.16
Shame - -0.21** - - - -
Anxiety - - - -0.19* - -
Anger - - - - - -0.18#
R2 0.16 0.19 0.18 0.21 0.16 0.18
F change 4.35*** 3.86* 4.95*** 3.95* 4.34*** 2.63
df 5, 115 1, 114 5, 114 1, 113 5, 116 1, 115
#p<0.11; *p < .05; **p < .01; ***p<0.001
... This weakness bars victims from obtaining protection for their rights. Therefore, it is necessary to reconstruct a protecting victims' rights (Lugianto, 2014;Barkworth & Murphy, 2016). ...
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p>The act of chemical castration is now one of the sanctions in Indonesia's positive law. However, it is still limited to child protection based on Law Number 17 of 2016, which can be imposed on perpetrators of sexual crimes against children if the victim is more than one person, is seriously injured, has mental disorders, suffers from infectious diseases, reproductive system disorders, and lose their life. This paper analyzes criminal policy and people's reactions to castration concerning the objectives of punishment. This research is doctrinal research as prescriptive research using a legal approach regarding legal categories regarding castration, the relationship between rules, difficulties that arise and predicting future developments on criminal policy regarding castration in positive law as one of the new sanctions in the criminal system. The results of the study is that the birth of chemical castration in criminal policy reform is based on a balance between the interests of child victims of sexual crimes and perpetrators of crime, but its existence in positive law does not necessarily make the whole community accept even though the pros and cons of castration are still balanced based on the purpose of punishment based on Pancasila. The recommendations put forward are the need for socialization of castration for all levels of society in a balance between the interests of child victims of sexual crimes and the interests of criminals, increasing non-penal efforts and the application of selective castration sanctions, and providing assistance for child victims of sexual crimes.</p
... 33 Pardoning has no portion in clearing a criminal of his wrongdoing but recompense to a degree plays a imperative part in diminishing oneself of the burden of being a casualty. 34 ...
The simple questions and answers for each step of the criminal justice system, including crime and social growth.
... 33 Pardoning has no portion in clearing a criminal of his wrongdoing but recompense to a degree plays a imperative part in diminishing oneself of the burden of being a casualty. 34 ...
... 33 Pardoning has no portion in clearing a criminal of his wrongdoing but recompense to a degree plays a imperative part in diminishing oneself of the burden of being a casualty. 34 ...
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The study of crime victims remains the only emphasis of mainstream victimology in the modern criminal justice system. This focus has resulted in greater awareness and understanding of not only crime victims but also the ways in which crime is measured and the role that victims play. In addition, society as a whole has moral responsibility because crime is the product of certain undesirable social conditions. The main purpose of this Research Paper is to clarify the concept of criminology along with that the additional afford is to identify the different approaches of victimology, constructive extension, and severe differences. Introduction: When we think about wrongdoing we oftentimes see at the casualty, this think about is named Victimology, a department of Criminology. Victimology deductively considers the relationship between a harmed party and a guilty party by analyzing the causes and the nature of the ensuing enduring. Particularly, victimology centers on whether the culprits were total outsiders, unimportant colleagues, companions, family individuals, or indeed detainees and why a specific individual or put was focused on. Criminal victimization oftentimes dispenses financial costs, physical wounds, and mental harm. According to Brittanica, Victimology to begin with risen within the 1940s and '50s, when a few criminologists (strikingly Hans von Hentig, Benjamin Mendelsohn, and Henri Ellenberger) inspected victim-offender intelligence and pushed complementary impacts and part inversions. These forerunners raised the idea that some of those who were injured or killed shared some culpability for their own misfortunes with the lawbreakers. Costly mistakes could be found and risk-reduction strategies could be determined by methodically studying the activities of victims.
... In addition to its many benefits, a failure to invoke procedural justice may result in poor perceptions of the police and an unwillingness to cooperate or ask police for help in the future. Recent studies have demonstrated that a lack of procedural justice has a significant impact on both the perception of police by communities and their willingness to accept decisions made police (Barkworth & Murphy, 2016;Brown, 2019;Castaneda, 2018;Flippin, 2018;Gau, 2014). Reisig et al. (2018) found instances of distributive fairness to be of particular significance in facilitating citizen cooperation with the police. ...
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Paramount to effective public safety and perception of the police is the public’s experiences. Looking through the lens of procedural justice, we examine implications of citizen-gender perceptions during police interactions. We expect that, despite invariant implementation of procedural justice, public perceptions will vary depending on both officer and respondent gender. We use a 2 × 2 factorial vignette design to measure the relationship between officers’ behavior as consistent or inconsistent with procedural justice and respondent attitudes toward those behaviors. Respondents’ (N = 1028) perceptions were measured based on antagonistic feelings, positive personal qualities, fear, and respect. Results reflect expectations; female officers are perceived differently than male officers despite invariant levels of procedural justice implementation in three out of four categories (excluding respect). Results strengthen the existing body of work concerning the significance of procedural justice and add to the growing understanding of the effects of gender perceptions in the sphere of law enforcement.
The National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) disaggregates crime clearances into crimes cleared by arrest and crimes cleared by exceptional means. This feature is an improvement to the Summary Reporting System and allows law enforcement agencies to perform cross-jurisdiction comparisons of their clearance practices and investigative performances. This study uses sexual assault clearance rates to demonstrate a method of cross-jurisdiction comparison, which can be used to improve agency practices. Findings show much variability in sexual assault clearance rates across agencies, but most of this variation is explained by agency use of clearance by exceptional means. Further, no single agency characteristic examined here explained variability in exceptional clearance rates. Finally, there was additional agency variation in the offense type used to clear a sexual assault by arrest. The article concludes with a discussion of the importance of NIBRS for advancing law enforcement research and practice and the need for greater attention to data quality in NIBRS.
While a significant amount of research has been conducted in regards to public opinion of police, limited information can be found that reflects college students' opinions toward the subject, and even fewer studies have specifically used students on a college campus as a sample to study such opinions. The majority of past research focuses on low-income minorities who live in transitional neighborhoods and those who typically harbor the most negative views of the police in the United States. The questions this study attempted to answer were, "Are there certain demographic and social factors that can predict negative views toward police?" "If so, do these factors differ from or continue to confirm the results presented in past studies?" This study, through the use of questionnaire survey research, seeks to determine if a broader demographic of individuals, particularly college students, might be dissatisfied with police in present times, in light of the recent events regarding police use of force, what some may call police brutality, hostility, and unprofessionalism. The dependent factor was the respondents' views toward police. A two-part questionnaire survey was distributed to a sample of 323 students at a mid-size university in a southwestern state, and the data obtained from the surveys were analyzed to determine what additional demographic variables may be significant in the explanation of negative attitudes toward the police. Race and ethnicity remained a significant variable and "single" was found to be an unusual significant variable that was seldom used in prior research.
This qualitative study identifies police interactions with gun violence co-victims as a crucial, overlooked component of police unresponsiveness, particularly in minority communities where perceptions of police illegitimacy and legal estrangement are relatively high. Gun violence co-victims in three cities participated in online surveys, in which they described pervasive disregard by police in the aftermath of their loved ones' shooting victimization. We build on the checklist model that has improved public safety outcomes in other complex, high-intensity professional contexts to propose a checklist for police detectives to follow in the aftermath of gun violence. To build the checklist, we also reviewed the general orders of five police departments to better understand what guidance, if any, is currently given to police personnel regarding how they should interact with gun violence victims.
Justice for sex crimes is particularly complex due to the differences between victim needs and the operations of the criminal justice system. This study, using 70 semi-structured interviews and 2 focus groups from Canadian police departments, shows that Canadian police officers use characteristics from both procedural and distributive concepts of justice when responding and dealing with victims of sex crimes. We show that building trust, inclusion in the process, and upholding individual treatment needs are compelling components of police response that garner victim agency and satisfaction. As a result, victims are more satisfied with the process and outcomes of their cases, and through reconstructing success, so are police officers. Our discussion of a pluralistic approach captures how police officers justify and negotiate distributive and procedural justice in their responses to sex crime victims. Unlike research that focuses on the adverse treatment of victims, this paper finds promising changes in Canadian police officers’ conceptualization of justice for victims.
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What does it mean to trust the police? What makes the police legitimate in the eyes of the policed? What builds trust, legitimacy and cooperation, and what undermines the bond between police and the public? These questions are central to current debates concerning the relationship between the British police and the public it serves. Yet, in the context of British policing they are seldom asked explicitly, still less examined in depth.
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Encounters with the criminal justice system shape people's perceptions of the legitimacy of legal authorities, and the dominant explanatory framework for this relationship revolves around the idea that procedurally just practice increases people's positive connections to justice institutions. But there have been few assessments of the idea-central to procedural justice theory-that social identity acts as an important social-psychological bridge in this process. Our contribution in this paper is to examine the empirical links between procedural justice, social identity and legitimacy in the context of policing in Australia. A representative two-wave panel survey of Australians suggests that social identity does mediate the association between procedural justice and perceptions of legitimacy. It seems that when people feel fairly treated by police, their sense of identification with the superordinate group the police represent is enhanced, strengthening police legitimacy as a result. By contrast, unfair treatment signals to people that they do not belong, undermining both identification and police legitimacy.
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This paper extends Tyler's procedural justice model of public compliance with the law. Analysing data from a national probability sample of adults in England and Wales, we present a new conceptualization of legitimacy based on not just the recognition of power, but also the justification of power. We find that people accept the police's right to dictate appropriate behaviour not only when they feel a duty to obey officers, but also when they believe that the institution acts according to a shared moral purpose with citizens. Highlighting a number of different routes by which institutions can influence citizen behaviour, our broader normative model provides a better framework for explaining why people are willing to comply with the law. © 2012 The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (ISTD). All rights reserved.
This research examined how the legal, medical, and mental health systems respond to the needs of rape victims. A national random sample of rape victim advocates (N = 168) participated in a phone interview that assessed the resources available to victims in their communities. as well as the specific experiences of the most recent rape victim with which they had completed work. Results from hierarchical and iterative cluster analysis revealed three patterns in victims' experiences with the legal, medical, and mental health systems. One group of victims had relatively positive experiences with all three systems, a second group had beneficial outcomes with only the medical systems, and the final group had difficult encounters with all three systems. Multinominal logistic regression was then used to evaluate an ecological model predicting cluster membership. Community‐level factors as well as features of the assault and characteristics of the victims predicted unique variance in victims' outcomes with the legal, medical, and mental health systems. These findings provide empirical support for a basic tenet of ecological theory: environmental structures and practices influence individual outcomes. Implications for ecological theory and interventions to improve the community response to rape victims' needs are discussed.
Legal authorities gain when they receive deference and cooperation from the public. Considerable evidence suggests that the key factor shaping public behavior is the fairness of the processes legal authorities use when dealing with members of the public. This reaction occurs both during personal experiences with legal authorities and when community residents are making general evaluations of the law and of legal authorities. The strength and breadth of this influence suggests the value of an approach to regulation based upon sensitivity to public concerns about fairness in the exercise of legal authority. Such an approach leads to a number of suggestions about valuable police practices, as well as helping explain why improvements in the objective performance of the police and courts have not led to higher levels of public trust and confidence in those institutions.
This chapter reviews the literature on procedural justice. Its focus is upon the role of procedural justice judgments in shaping people's reactions to the processes used to resolve conflicts within the legal system. Studies suggest that people focus heavily upon the fairness of procedures when evaluating their experiences with the legal system, and are much more willing to accept outcomes that they do not like or feel they deserve if they consider those outcomes were arrived at through a fair procedure. This suggests the importance of evaluating legal procedures from the perspective of public views about their fairness as procedures. Such evaluations suggest that people are concerned about a variety of issues when evaluating a procedure, including whether it provides opportunities for the parties to present their evidence and express their views; whether decisions are made in neutral, factual ways; whether people are treated with dignity and in ways that respect their rights; and whether the authorities are sincerely trying to do what is right.
The authors conducted a systematic review on the topic of victim satisfaction with criminal justice to examine which aspects of the procedure and the legal outcome are associated with victim satisfaction. The systematic review resulted in 22 articles. Factors were conceptualized into (1) variables related to the procedure and (2) variables related to the outcome. The study uncovered covariates of satisfaction in both categories. Findings, however, were ambiguous. The mixed findings suggest there is a need to understand both the differences among victims and when certain facets are more important in influencing satisfaction with the judicial process.