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The Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power was adopted by

the General Assembly on 29 November 1985. The Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of
Crime and Abuse of Power consists of two parts: Part A, on “Victims of Crime”, is subdivided into
sections concerning “Access to justice and fair treatment”, “Restitution”, “Compensation”, and
“Assistance”; and Part B, on “Victims of abuse of power”.

Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims

of Crime and Abuse of Power

A. Victims of Crime

1. "Victims" means persons who, individually or collectively, have suffered

harm, including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss
or substantial impairment of their fundamental rights, through acts or
omissions that are in violation of criminal laws operative within Member
States, including those laws proscribing criminal abuse of power.

2. A person may be considered a victim, under this Declaration, regardless

of whether the perpetrator is identified, apprehended, prosecuted or convicted
and regardless of the familial relationship between the perpetrator and the
victim. The term "victim" also includes, where appropriate, the immediate
family or dependants of the direct victim and persons who have suffered harm
in intervening to assist victims in distress or to prevent victimization.

3. The provisions contained herein shall be applicable to all, without

distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, age, language, religion,
nationality, political or other opinion, cultural beliefs or practices,
property, birth or family status, ethnic or social origin, and disability.

Access to justice and fair treatment

4. Victims should be treated with compassion and respect for their dignity.
They are entitled to access to the mechanisms of justice and to prompt
redress, as provided for by national legislation, for the harm that they have

5. Judicial and administrative mechanisms should be established and

strengthened where necessary to enable victims to obtain redress through
formal or informal procedures that are expeditious, fair, inexpensive and
accessible. Victims should be informed of their rights in seeking redress
through such mechanisms.

6. The responsiveness of judicial and administrative processes to the needs

of victims should be facilitated by:

(a) Informing victims of their role and the scope, timing and progress
of the proceedings and of the disposition of their cases, especially where
serious crimes are involved and where they have requested such information;

(b) Allowing the views and concerns of victims to be presented and

considered at appropriate stages of the proceedings where their personal
interests are affected, without prejudice to the accused and consistent with
the relevant national criminal justice system;
(c) Providing proper assistance to victims throughout the legal process;

(d) Taking measures to minimize inconvenience to victims, protect their

privacy, when necessary, and ensure their safety, as well as that of their
families and witnesses on their behalf, from intimidation and retaliation;

(e) Avoiding unnecessary delay in the disposition of cases and the

execution of orders or decrees granting awards to victims.

7. Informal mechanisms for the resolution of disputes, including mediation,

arbitration and customary justice or indigenous practices, should be utilized
where appropriate to facilitate conciliation and redress for victims.


8. Offenders or third parties responsible for their behaviour should, where

appropriate, make fair restitution to victims, their families or dependants.
Such restitution should include the return of property or payment for the harm
or loss suffered, reimbursement of expenses incurred as a result of the
victimization, the provision of services and the restoration of rights.

9. Governments should review their practices, regulations and laws to

consider restitution as an available sentencing option in criminal cases, in
addition to other criminal sanctions.

10. In cases of substantial harm to the environment, restitution, if ordered,

should include, as far as possible, restoration of the environment,
reconstruction of the infrastructure, replacement of community facilities and
reimbursement of the expenses of relocation, whenever such harm results in the
dislocation of a community.

11. Where public officials or other agents acting in an official or

quasi-official capacity have violated national criminal laws, the victims
should receive restitution from the State whose officials or agents were
responsible for the harm inflicted. In cases where the Government under whose
authority the victimizing act or omission occurred is no longer in existence,
the State or Government successor in title should provide restitution to the

12. When compensation is not fully available from the offender or other
sources, States should endeavour to provide financial compensation to:

(a) Victims who have sustained significant bodily injury or impairment

of physical or mental health as a result of serious crimes;

(b) The family, in particular dependants of persons who have died or

become physically or mentally incapacitated as a result of such victimization.

13. The establishment, strengthening and expansion of national funds for

compensation to victims should be encouraged. Where appropriate, other funds
may also be established for this purpose, including those cases where the
State of which the victim is a national is not in a position to compensate the
victim for the harm.
14. Victims should receive the necessary material, medical, psychological and
social assistance through governmental, voluntary, community-based and
indigenous means.

15. Victims should be informed of the availability of health and social

services and other relevant assistance and be readily afforded access to them.

16. Police, justice, health, social service and other personnel concerned
should receive training to sensitize them to the needs of victims, and
guidelines to ensure proper and prompt aid.

17. In providing services and assistance to victims, attention should be

given to those who have special needs because of the nature of the harm
inflicted or because of factors such as those mentioned in paragraph 3 above.

B. Victims of abuse of power

18. "Victims" means persons who, individually or collectively, have suffered

harm, including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss
or substantial impairment of their fundamental rights, through acts or
omissions that do not yet constitute violations of national criminal laws but
of internationally recognized norms relating to human rights.

19. States should consider incorporating into the national law norms
proscribing abuses of power and providing remedies to victims of such abuses.
In particular, such remedies should include restitution and/or compensation,
and necessary material, medical, psychological and social assistance and

20. States should consider negotiating multilateral international treaties

relating to victims, as defined in paragraph 18.

21. States should periodically review existing legislation and practices to

ensure their responsiveness to changing circumstances, should enact and
enforce, if necessary, legislation proscribing acts that constitute serious
abuses of political or economic power, as well as promoting policies and
mechanisms for the prevention of such acts, and should develop and make
readily available appropriate rights and remedies for victims of such acts.


As has been stated hereinbefore, both the legislature and the Courts have played an important role in
the growth of victimology in the Indian Criminal Justice System in the recent past. However, besides the
legislature and the Judiciary, a very important role has been performed by NGO’s such as Indian Society
of Victimology, National Human Rights Commission and even World Society of Victimology, which has
been a source of inspiration for the activitists of victimology in India. Besides this, an important role has
been performed by International documents such as UN declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for
Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power. The relevance of such international documents and the laws in
other countries, shall be examined in the Indian context. The same can be examined briefly as follows-
(I) Indian Society of VictimologyIn the year 1992, a forum was founded by Kumaravelu Chockalingam 1 in
the Madras University to discuss the problems of the victims of crime, to disseminate knowledge and
awareness of the plight of the victims of crime and to mobilise support for creating a new law to deal
with the problems of the victims. The name of the organisation was Indian Society of Victimology and it
was located in the University of Madras itself. Kumaravelu Chockalingam was also the founder president
and two other senior police officers Dr R.k.Raghvan and Mr Venkatersan, were the vicepresidents of the
Indian Society of Victimology at that point of time.

The major contribution of the Indian Society of Victimology towards advancement of Victimology in
India, was the organisation of a workshop to draft the Victim Assistance Bill. The workshop was
organised by the Indian Society of Victimology in September 1996 with the support of the National law
School India University Bangalore under the leadership of professor N.R Madhava Menon and the
National Human Rights Commission under the chairmanship of its chairman and former Judge of
Supreme Court V. R. Krishna Iyer.

The draft of Victim Assistance bill was submitted to the relevant ministries of the Central Govt such as
Ministry of law and justice Ministry of Home Affairs and the law Commission of India for their
consideration for enacting a new law for victim compensation and victim assistance. The UN
Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice also supported the initiative taken bythe Indian
Society of Victimology .

Simultaneously efforts were made by the Indian Society of Victimology to impress upon the State Govt
of Tamil Nadu to launch a scheme for compensating the victims of crimes, which has already been

The Indian Society of Victimology is as such a professional organization, which started in the year 1992
working for the cause of victims. It comprises of social scientist, professors, research scholars students
and those related to the field of criminal law from all over the country. The Indian Society of Victimology
since its inception has been fighting for the cause of the victims of crime and it has done so by various
methods including organizing symposia and conferences from time to time to highlight the problems of
victims. (II) World Society of Victimology In the year 1979, the World Society of Victimology was founded
in Munster, Germany and since then it has been engaged in promoting victimology in the different parts
of the world. In fact, the source of inspiration for forming the Indian Society of Victimology was the work
being done by the World Society of Victimology at the international level. Kumaravelu Chockalingam,
who is the founder member of the Indian Society of Victimology is also a member of the World Society
of Victimology.

a) Mission ofthe World Society of Victimology

i) To promote research in Victimology and on victim needs -The World Society of Victimology organises
workshops on victimological issues and victim needs at its intefnational symposia including national and
international surveys on victims analysis of the consequences of victimization and evaluations of the
services and processes for victims. It fosters the publication of the proceedings from its international
symposia. It makes available on its website an international bibliography of the documents on
Victimology and the victim related 'issues. Its research committee was created to advance victimlogical
research throughout the world and encourage interdisciplinary and comparative work in this field. It is a
partner with the UN office for Drug and Crime Prevention, which provides extensive documentation on
the victim related issues on the internet.

ii) To provide education and training - The World Society on Victimology organises international courses
on Victimology and victim assistance. A two week course on Victimology victim assistance and criminal
justice has been organized every year for since 1984 in Dubrovnik. Similar courses on Victimology and
victim assistance have been organized for Asia in mito Japan since 1998. The World Society of
Victimology worked with the UN to develop the handbook on justice for victims on the use and
application of the “Declaration ofBasic Principles ofJustice for Victims ofCrime and Abuse ofPower” in
the year 1985. It also fostered the translation of the handbook into major world languages. In this
respect, the World Society of Victimology works further by following the below mentioned objectivesa)
Convincing the law schools and others involved in the training of criminal justice professionals to include
course on Victimology, victim rights and issues and convince dealing in the field of law to require this

b) It also encourages the University programs on Victimology including victim assistance, victim’s rights
crisis response restorative justice and victimization prevention.

c) It provides training to international victim service providers by organizing courses for them.

d) Promote a system of credentials for victim service professionals and establish international standards.
e) Host an annual training course for international service providers.

iii) To provide servicesfor victim service provider’s and victimologistsThe World Society of Victimology
organizes workshops on services for victims at its international symposia. It’s committee on victim
services was established to provide a network of victim services around the globe and to develop a
knowledge basis for training and technical assistance based on the international declaration on the basic
principle ofjustice for victims of crime and abuse of power. It does so by the following methods, namely

a) Facilitate and support a database of victim service Agencies across the world in order to
facilitate the referral of victims for services in countries where needed;
b) b) Encourage the concerned institutions and agencies such as Human Rights Commissions to
monitor the availability and standards of the facilities for the victims;
c) c) Assist the International Court with its mandate to assist, protect and respect for the rights of
the victims.

World Society of Victimology’s recommendations to the 11th U.N Crime Congress

The World Society of Victimology in its meeting held at Bangkok Thailand in April 2005 made
recommendations to the 11th U.N Crime Congress, which are as follows

The WSV calls on member States to take the following actions through the UN Crime Prevention and
Criminal Justice Programme as well as through their national agencies.
1) Victim Assistance Programmes - Invest in projects to implement victim assistance and support,
including services provided to women and children by non - government health and mental health and
police professional.

2) Research and surveys - Invest in research to assess the extent to which victims receive services and
justice as well as surveys to measure the extent of victimization and its impact including the
international victim survey and a regular survey focused on domestic violence.

3 Education and training- Develop standards for police lawyers health professionals and others as wel as
establish appropriate training and educational courses.

4) legislation- Adopt legislation that puts the principles in the U.N Victim Declaration into the language
of member States in a form that it provides a framework for the implementation of the declaration.

5) Permanent network for victim assistance and justice - Establish a permanent network of centers
concerned with research training education and action for victims.

6) Prevention-Implement National Crime Prevention programmes consistent with the U.N guidelines
and the recommendations of the World Health Organization to significally reduce violence and criminal
victimization with a priority to violence within the family.

7) Convention - Establish the process to develop a draft convention for consideration by the
U.N.Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in 2006, to foster universal implementation
of the un victim declaration.