Victims in domestic policy making: examining the policy network
The last chapter examined the context of international developments, above the level of the state, in which individual jurisdictions have found themselves addressing the issue of victimization and the place of victims within their criminal justice systems. As set out in Chapter 1, the overriding goal of this volume is to demonstrate how, at the national level, such policy developments are the products of a complex web of political, legal and social influences, of which transnational and international regulation is just one element. As such, the specific purpose of this chapter is to examine the extent to which common themes and drivers behind victim reform can be identified within the sample of nine heterogeneous states under review. Clearly this is a complex task, and care must be taken on the part of both writer and reader to avoid making unfair or sweeping generalizations. Nevertheless, methodologically this is a problem inherent to all transnational or international comparisons. Such disadvantages must be viewed in light of the real benefits accrued from comparative research, particularly where it bridges conventional classifications (e.g. between common law and civil law countries), thus allowing ‘difference’ (in policies, in justifications, and in practices) to act as a lens for the understanding of policy development.