Victimology pp 321-357 | Cite as

From Cinderella to Consumer: How Crime Victims Can Go to the Ball

  • Edna ErezEmail author
  • Jize Jiang
  • Kathy Laster


This chapter traces the changing role of victims in an adversarial criminal justice system. Adopting a historical perspective, the authors examine the impact of victim-centred reforms aimed at improving victim participation in a criminal process not designed to accommodate them. The chapter considers why these reforms have not fully realised their intended objectives and examines alternative ways in which the interests of victims can be integrated within a system of criminal justice. The authors contend that in the digital age, reconceptualising victims as ‘consumers’ of criminal justice services could yet provide a metaphoric shift in thinking, allowing victims to be better integrated into the system. Pointing towards other areas of public and private service delivery as illustrative, they maintain that a new consumerist perspective has made organisations more respectful, accountable and responsive to the needs of their increasingly empowered ‘customers’. They suggest that, at the very least, a ‘customer focus’ approach, including the use of ‘customer satisfaction surveys’, and ‘user-centred design’ approaches will make victims’ experiences more central, as well as enhance accountability for the way they are treated. The authors suggest that revisiting a consumerist approach could still address the crisis of trust in criminal justice systems, which are falling short of changing public expectations about the need for greater transparency, accountability and community engagement.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminology, Law, and JusticeUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.School of Law, Shanghai University of Finance and EconomicsShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Sir Zelman Cowen Centre, Victoria UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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