Law and Humanities
Published: 28 May 2022
Improving Criminal Justice System Responses to Crime Victims with Disabilities in India
Bhanu P. Nunna, Gerd F. Kirchhoff, Manjushree Palit
O.P. Jindal Global University, India
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Keywords: Victim, Disability, Victims’ Rights, Access to Justice, Responses to Victims, Victim Participation
In the past three decades, significant progress has been made in advancing victims’ rights, ensuring comprehensive services for crime victims, and restoring victims as active participants in the criminal justice system in India. However, some victims, particularly those with disabilities, often remain marginalised. This paper examines how prejudices, stereotypes, and misconceptions contribute to the lack of participation of people with disabilities in the criminal justice process in India and how they are often compounded by societal assumptions, stereotyping, and misconceptions. It is argued that for too long, the criminal justice system has failed to adequately address the unique circumstances of people with disabilities. Specifically, this paper explores ways to assist crime victims with disabilities in accessing the criminal justice system, exercising their rights as victims of crime (some of which have legal standing, while others do not), and maximizing their participation in the criminal justice process. Finally, it is concluded that there must be a widespread cultural change among the police, the legal profession, the judiciary, the disability sector, and the general public to better assist victims with disabilities in the aftermath of crime.
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