Time to shift from ¨punishment only¨ agenda to ¨victim centred and prevention¨ agenda
President Obama affirmed that $80 billion would be better used not for mass incarceration but for pre-school, teachers and university entrance. This is only part of the conclusions from the data and best practices brought together in Smarter Crime Control. Importantly the US federal government could provide funding to States to enable them to invest in effective violence prevention and so reduce their use of mass incarceration. Getting Smarter Crime Control in the US is important but the knowledge and the logic apply to Canada, China, Latin America and across the world.
Irvin Waller calls for genuine action to stop victimization and provide rights for victims. When the World Society of Victimology made him an ¨Honorary Member¨ this July for his significant accomplishments in the victimological field, he called on the next generations of victimologists to build on those accomplishments by shifting governments from their outdated punishment only agenda to a genuine victim centred and prevention agenda.
This is a unique moment in human history. We now have the knowledge endorsed by organizations such as WHO and UN-Habitat to cut violent victimization by 50%. We have the models of best practices to show that it is possible to do it. We have US politicians realising that extraordinary over use of incarceration has not worked. Put it all together … if governments invested just 1/10th of one per cent of world GDP in making the shift to effective violence prevention and rights for victims, they would cut in half the 5% of world GDP lost to violence.
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Let´s prevent violence against women and girls – we have more knowledge than we think
It is time for developed and developing countries alike to take the issues of the prevention of gender based violence seriously by investing in what will stop the violence and assist the victims to survive better.
We have evidence on what works and how to implement it, but we are not using it. Currently victims experience pain and loss equivalent to 5% of GDP for inter-personal violence in developed countries and much higher in many less affluent countries. Yet the evidence shows that a relatively small investment – maybe 2/10th of one percent of GDP – would reduce violence by 50% within 10 years.
The critical implementation steps require a shift from over-relying on what does not work to investing in what has been proven to work. It must also include greater investment in (secondary) pre-crime prevention programs that follow a ¨logical model¨ to reduce violence against women and children. The World Health Organization is providing leadership to help governments make the shifts in orientation and resources.
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Let´s Get Smart on Crime in Canada – Make A Safe Canada, Safer for All (and, SaveTaxes)
The time is long overdue to shift from over-reliance on a ¨reactive, punishment and sensational case¨ agenda to a ¨victim centred, prevention and evidence based agenda¨. Canada must get smart on crime by supporting its pioneering best practices in effective community safety and victim rights, catch up with other advanced nations, and use evidence on what is cost effective.
Canada needs a Crime Reduction and Victim Assistance Act that establishes a National Crime Reduction and Victim Assistance Board to spearhead the shift to an effective violence reduction and victim assistance agenda, through federal, provincial, territorial and municipal collaboration to support all sectors with funding to establish standards, research and development, training and data. It should establish consensus to set and evaluate targets for 2025.
Interpersonal violence does $83 billion in harm to victims each year in Canada – equivalent to 5% of the Canadian GDP. We have the knowledge that investing as little as 1/10th of one percent of our GDP – $1.6 billion – in proven and logical prevention strategies annually would reduce this harm of interpersonal violence to victims by at least 50% by 2025. Why not?
Because investment in proven violence prevention would reduce street and intimate partner violence, it will reduce the demand for: expensive policing; jails overcrowded with persons waiting trial; and unnecessary incarceration. By 2025, it could avoid growth in expenditures on policing and prisons and so save $6 billion a year in current dollars.
Canada must also champion national standards for services and rights for all crime victims that are at least as good as other advanced nations. This will require a proportion of the new investment in prevention to go to the implementation and evaluation of actions that would truly support and show respect for victims of violence on streets, in intimate partnerships and in other areas of living.
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Major UN Crime Congress to Celebrate and Advance Magna Carta for Victim Rights
Millions of people, including many women and children, throughout the world still suffer harm unnecessarily as a result of crime, abuse of power and terrorism. Despite 30 years of progress, too many victims have too few rights. In addition, too many suffer hardship when assisting in the prosecution of perpetrators.
In 1985, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a land mark decision for victims by resolving to prevent victimization and implement the UN Declaration on Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power.
The UN Organization on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is organizing a special ¨High Level Event¨ to take stock of progress and provide guidance for the future at the UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. The Congress is expected to be attended by more than 7000 persons, including the top Justice and Public Safety officials from more than 150 national governments.
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Victims Rights : Smart Ways to Enforce Them
Victims of crimes such as rape, robbery, murder, break-ins, intimate partner violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and assault suffer losses and trauma as a result of crime. They are often frustrated and further traumatized by police and courts.
In 1985, all of the governments who were members of the United Nations General Assembly resolved to reduce crime and provide victims with services and justice. Since 1985, governments across the world have made many strides forward by multiplying the numbers of laws, the amount of compensation and the availability of services.
But too many victims do not get the services and rights that they deserve for no truly good reason. To change this, we must do much more. This proposes making victim rights measurable, informing victims of services and rights, and investing in effective victimization prevention.
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