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Victims - Conclusion

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At a reunion held in 1997 in the nation's capital to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the work of the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice, James Vorenberg, the commission's director, said that the development that the group had most failed to anticipate was the subsequent surge of concern with crime victims.

Considerations that led to the striking increase in emphasis on crime victims include the broad campaign to empower those who were not being dealt with satisfactorily, among them minorities, women, gays, and the disabled. In addition, support of victim initiatives carried a great number of political pluses: few could oppose aiding victims, except in terms of cost, and those who did would appear cold-blooded and uncaring.

Once launched, the victim's movement inevitably built up a constituency that developed a strong personal vested interest in seeing its expansion: Crisis center workers, victimology scholars, and, of course, victims and potential crime victims. The movement has provided benefits for a great number of people who otherwise might have gone neglected. It has influenced the operation of the criminal justice system, sometimes for better, sometimes for the worse, with that judgment depending on the observer's political preferences. Most importantly, the renewed focus on crime victims has tilted the balance of the scales of justice more toward equity and fairness to all those who participate in and are effected by Western systems of criminal justice.

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