Victimology pp 359-379 | Cite as

A Theory of Injustice and Victims’ Participation in Criminal Processes

  • Antony PembertonEmail author


This chapter sees the author develop a ‘theory of injustice’ that will provide the basis for a victimological perspective on justice processes. The chapter commences with some reflections on the consequence of viewing justice and injustice as poles of one dimension. As the author exposes his theory of injustice, he argues that the issue at stake is the manner in which this theory connects to victim’s participation in justice processes and criminal proceedings. Acknowledging that victims need to communicate their experience in justice processes, Pemberton casts doubt on the extent to which this is best understood in terms of reducing their stress symptoms: becoming less anxious or changing the sentence. He proposes that the justice process itself can be an important site for reconnection: of victim experience with society and with important symbols of shared values. This critical stance has some degree of synergy with the restorative justice perspective and central to his proposition is the need to understand that injustice concerns a relationship of victim with his or her self, rather than a relationship with other persons. The second requirement is to appreciate that this self is only accurately understood if it is conceived as being-in-the-world. Only then does the experience of injustice come into its own—when it amounts to an ontological assault. The arguments put forward in this chapter require a fundamental re-think about the way we experience our victimisation and by implication, the traditional ways in which we have come to think about activism.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LINC, KU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.NSCRAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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