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Shobhit Agrawal





Crime victims have assumed a prominent place in the study of criminal law. It seems unlikely
that the victim’s newfound prominence is a coincidence. But beyond the somewhat trivial
explanation that the criminal law’s new focus on the victim is a response to our previous
neglect of the area; it is difficult to identify the reason for the victim’s new prominence in the
study of criminal law. This is because there is no single reason. The recent call for more
respect for the victim’s interests, rights, and perspective within the criminal justice system is
sympathetic to the victims. This shift in perspective may be the result of more people being
victimized, or it may result from real victims being increasingly able to speak up. But it is
probably even more the result of the society identifying itself – for whatever reasons – with
the victim.

The interest criminology and criminal law have had in the victim since the seventies and
eighties also seems to be based on the assumption that the victim deserves the attention
offenders have had since the founding days of our disciplines. But the focus on victims has
produced quite different results. Criminologists’ findings on the victim – quickly named
“victimology“ – brought to an end the naive idea that it is sufficient to look only at the
offender – and perhaps the society in which he grew up – in order to understand criminal acts.
Victimology is the study of crime from the victim’s point of view. It is the science which
makes victims the centre of study and aims at intensive understanding of the victim-offender
relationship, investigates the victim’s share in crime causation, examines the ways and means
to protect victims before commission of the crime, during investigation and trial of the
offender and also restitution and reparation of the damages caused to him by perpetration of
the crime. Thus there is no single reason to explain criminal law’s newfound obsession with
the victim. However this focus on the victim is a welcome development.
The victim is one of the central figures in the criminal process and deserves the attention he
gets. The criminal justice can collapse without the cooperation of the victim. Thus the victim
must play a major role in criminal proceedings. Steps are being taken all over the world to
enhance the role of victims in criminal proceedings- starting from investigation to the trial
and even during sentencing. These steps are reflected in the amendments in the criminal
procedure of several countries, which have given the victim a major role to play during
criminal proceedings. It is hoped that this role enhancement of the victim during criminal
proceedings and the importance given to the victims will not be abused and will help in
improving and developing the criminal justice system.

Research Methodology

The research is purely a doctrinal research methodology. The method of writing followed in
the course of this research paper is primarily analytical. The researcher also adopts case
analysis to a very small extend in which the relevant judgments of Supreme Court & High
Courts are discussed. The researcher further engages the primary and secondary sources of
data. The analysis on web and internet was also done in order to understand new issue which
is at the forefront. The aid of various articles, case briefs was also utilized during this
particular research.

Aims and Objectives:

The aim of this project is to explore and analyse the role of the victim during criminal
proceedings. The project aims at analysing the interaction of the victims with the constituent
elements of the criminal justice system i.e. the police, lawyers and courts and the role played
by him at each stage of the criminal process. Objectives of this project include looking at
victims of sexual offences and their special needs and role and also analysing the concept of
compensation to victims. The project suggests remedial measures to enhance the role of
victims during criminal proceedings and to sensitise the criminal justice system to the needs
and expectations of the victims.
Scope and Limitation

The scope of this project is limited to studying the role of the victim in criminal proceedings
from the point of view of the law of criminal procedure, analysing the flaws in the system
which prevent the victim from playing an effective role in the criminal justice system and to
suggest remedies to enhance the role of the victim in the criminal process. The project does
not look at the role of the victim in criminal proceedings in the USA and also does not
explore victimological theories relating to victims and types of victims etc.

Research Questions

 Why is the study of the victim and his role during criminal proceedings important in
criminal law?
 How does the victim interact with the various elements of the criminal justice system
and what is his role during the various stages of the criminal process?
 What are the special needs and rights of victims of sexual offences?
 How and why is compensation to victims awarded?
 Are the present schemes for victim compensation in India adequate? If not how can
they be improved?
 How can the Criminal Justice System be sensitized to the rights and needs of the
 How can the role of the victim during criminal proceedings be enhanced and made
more effective so as to help facilitate the development and improvement of the
criminal justice system?