A human rights-based approach to the prosecution of sexual crime: victims and prosecutorial decision-making

Reid, Peter Michael (2023) A human rights-based approach to the prosecution of sexual crime: victims and prosecutorial decision-making. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The key to the successful reform of the criminal justice response to sexual crime lies in understanding the structural position of victims within the criminal process and the role that they play in criminal justice decision-making. This thesis accordingly confronts the conflicting narratives of progressive law reform and stymied delivery in the investigation and prosecution of sexual crime in Scotland. It explores the structural barriers to the effective integration of victims’ interests into the criminal process and frames the entrenched, systemic challenges in meeting victims’ justice needs as a human rights issue. By combining a review of legislative and policy developments in Scotland with indepth interviews with Advocates Depute and other specialist sexual offence prosecutors, it explores the victim’s current role in criminal justice decisionmaking and what, in terms of Scotland’s legal and constitutional commitment to human rights norms, that role ought to be. Ultimately, this thesis advances a principled framework for integrating victims’ substantive and procedural justice needs into the criminal process and proposes a human rights-based approach to prosecutorial decision-making in sexual offence cases. By re-positioning victims of sexual crime, not as tools in the prosecutor’s case, but rather as rights-bearers – respected individuals with a legitimate, legal interest in the process and the decisions that are taken – it argues that much can be done to improve the criminal justice response to sexual crime, while at the same time future proofing the justice system from Convention rights-based challenges in years to come.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Supported by funding from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Supervisor's Name: Leverick, Prof. Fiona and Chalmers, Prof. James
Date of Award: 2023
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2023-83606
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 May 2023 10:26
Last Modified: 23 May 2023 10:27
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83606
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/83606

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