"The Impact of Police on Victims," in Emilio Viano (ed.) Crime and Its Victims.
Hemisphere Publishing Co, 1989, 71-78.
Victims traditionally have been the "forgotten participants" in the criminal justice system,
valued by the police only for their role in reporting crimes when they occur and appearing in
court as witnesses. Studies of the police have highlighted the extent to which their function is
to deal (often inadequately) with victims' problems rather than "fight crime." Police officers
who respond to calls represent the sole contact that the majority of victims have with the
criminal justice system, for most crimes are never solved and many do not even warrant a
follow-up visit from a detective. As responding officers provide the primary link between victims
and the state, any attempt to improve the lot of crime victims inevitably will depend on the
active assistance of these officers. There is little systematic information on how the police deal
with victims and what the effect of that treatment is. Surveys indicate that most Americans
have a favorable opinion of the police before an emergency contact, but many come away
from the experience unhappy. Past research suggests that victims want information,
recognition, advice, support, protection, and reassurance and that they often do not get these
from the police.
Victim Research Abstracts