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Shared responsibility is a concept, through which persons are to be accountable for other individuals' deeds by harboring, ignoring, or tolerating them, without actively collaborating in the crime. Therefore, in search of victims of a crime, the authorities can engage certain degrees of shared responsibility. The degrees vary from the lowest to the highest; that is it has some extremities. Some of the degrees include the complete innocence; victim proneness; victim facilitation; victim provocation; and victim fabrication. The most effective and clear degrees in this case are entirely innocent; victim facilitation; and victim provocation.
First, there is the degree of shared responsibility involving the utterly innocent victim. This is a situation that entails the victims of the crime, which never consciously took part in the criminal actions that affected them. According to Karmen (2010), such victims claim to have done their best to safeguarding themselves, or taken all the existing precautions to ensure that they do not participate in the crime. Moreover, these are the victims who engage the help of some available security devices, such as, home and car alarms, all in an attempt to protect their possessions. What is more, a wholly innocent victim is one that has not instigated or provoked the other observant of the law to act on them.
In addition, the utterly innocent person is the one that has the lowest degree of responsibility. These are victims of crime that did nothing to attract their attackers to them; hence, they are not guilty of any criminal activity that might have affected them. For instance, victims of rape are considered as totally innocent victims. Nonetheless, there are some rape cases in which the victims have, in one way or the other, provoked the assailants by dressing skimpily. Rape victims, especially minors are involved in criminal activities in which they are entirely innocent. Therefore, at this level of victimization, there is no degree of responsibility that is detectable. By way of example, in the collapse of the Wallstreet Bank, many innocent victims suffered the consequences of Bernard L. Madoff’s criminal activities (Times, 2011).
Victim facilitation is another degree of determining an individual’s contribution in the shared responsibility. Here, there is an increasing degree of responsibility in the crime because of the circumstances that surround the activity. The crime victims in this degree have unconsciously contributed to the occurrence of the crime victim. This is possible when victims act or behave negligently, carelessly, or foolishly; hence leading to a criminal activity. This implies that the crime victim contributes to the unlawful activity by failing to take precautions, making mistakes, or creating favorable conditions for its occurrence.
According to Karmen (2010), facilitation acts as a catalyst that enhances the occurrence of the offense. For example, in the case that involved four suspects in the murder of a young man in Bensonhurt, Mr. Serrano was charged with crime facilitation on grounds that he carried a loaded pistol in the company of his friends. Therefore, he facilitated and participated in the murder of Yusuf Hawkins through availing the firearm at the crime scene (Howe, 1989).
Another degree of determining shared responsibility in criminal cases is victim provocation. This is a situation that demonstrates the highest degree of victim’s contribution in the crime. In this circumstance, the loser holds more responsibility than the winner. The situation further explains a case where a person participates in crime occurrence by provoking the attacker. In determining the extent of provocation in this situation, it is highly beneficial to find out whether the injured party instigated the attack in a way. This involves the confirmation of whether the injured victim took part through inciting, challenging, or goading the law-abiding parties in the crime. For example, in the case of the Ms. Geimer’s rape case on Switzerland, the evidence showed that the minor had created a provocative situation for the assailant. Moreover, it was found out that her case involved some of her mother’s permissiveness (Cieply, 2009).
On the implication of law, there are certain considerations that are done in each of the above cases. This implies that the enforcement of laws depends on the relevance of the victims on the conditions of the shared responsibility (Weisel, 2011). Therefore, some of these determinations depend on the law enforcers, courts, and corrections. To begin with, in the first degree of shared responsibility above is the wholly innocent victim. This is a situation in which there is hardly any contribution to the crime by the victim. That is the victims are innocent because they have taken the essential precautions to avoid crime; they have not created any opportunity for crime; and have not provoked the assailants.
In this case, the law enforcers can arrest all the victims of the crime whether with or without a warrant depending on the situation of the crime. In the court, proceedings are carried out in order to deter mine the degrees of shared responsibilities of the crime victims. Once a victim is determined to be perfectly innocent beyond any reasonable doubt, the court presses no charges on the individual. This is because the court fines and punishes individuals who are found guilty. In the corrections stage, a totally innocent victim is exempted from this because that is only meant for those persons that contributed to the occurrence of the crime.
Secondly, in a situation that involves victim facilitation, the police also has to arrest the victims, whether with or without orders depending on the conditions of the crime. Victim facilitation implies that individuals have acted carelessly, or negligently. Moreover, a victim has facilitated crime if they in a way created an opportunity for the occurrence of the crime. Though the police cannot immediately determine their degree of the victim’s role in the crime, they can just arrest all the victims. In addition, it is the court’s responsibility to determine the conditions in which an individual can be declared guilty. In this case, the facilitators of the crime are also found guilty of the crime because they contribute highly to the crime.
In the corrections stage, it is worth noting that the degree of shared responsibility determines whether the victim should undergo some rectification process in the form of imprisonment or probation. Victim facilitation calls for either option according to the level of victim’s participation in the offense. For example, in the case of Yusuf Hawkins’ murder, Mr. Serrano was charged with having a share of the crime by carrying a loaded firearm in the company of his friends (Howe, 1989). This is because he carelessly possessed the gun, and thus created an opportunity for the crime to happen. If he had not carried the loaded pistol, the murder might not have taken place. Therefore, Mr. Serrano deserved a legal action for his mistakes, whether he consciously participated in the crime or not.
In the implication of the law on the issue of victim provocation, there are also many determinations that ought to be carried out before any judgment is passed in the court of law. This is a situation in which a victim has made a significant contribution in the criminal activity by goading, provoking or inciting the assailants to act. For instance, in a situation where a lady is raped because of dressing skimpily, or acting seductively to the assailant, the rape victim will have the biggest responsibility of the crime. In such a situation, the police will just arrest the attacker as he is the only one seen as a criminal.
When the court is determining the degree of the shared responsibility in such a situation, the court has to work on all the evidence that the victim provoked or incited the assailant before the attack. If it is established that the rape victim had dressed or acted provocatively beyond any reasonable doubt, it passes judgments to both parties accordingly. Depending on the available laws the rapist is fined or imprisoned, while the victim also faces certain charges and fines. In the correction section of the case, the prison authorities determine how long the rapist will stay. The court also determines whether the victim is put on probation or not. Moreover, the court also determines the conditions required in order to release an offender on probation or parole monitoring.
In case of re-victimization, the court might have to free an utterly innocent victim. However, in case of victim facilitation, law enforcers are authorized to arrest the victim of the crime. Moreover, the court ought to act strictly in the victim, in reference to the first experience. This is because the victim is aware of actions and their implications. Therefore, the court is liable to impose heavy charges on the victim than in the first incidence. Likewise, in case of victim provocation, the authorities are forced to charge the victim heavily for negligence and incitation. For instance, if a rape victim had been put on probation for being re-victimized under similar conditions, then the court of the law might be forced to sentence her to imprisonment. The authorities, sometimes, have to release such a victim on parole monitoring, or probation.
In conclusion, there are varied degrees of shared responsibility that are used in the establishment of a victim’s involvement in crime. These degrees are arranged in an ascending order, from the least contribution to the highest. Some of these degrees are entirely innocent; victim proneness; victim facilitation; victim precipitation; victim provocation; and victim fabrication. In its implication of law, the judicial system determines the judgments passed according to the relevance of the victims’ roles in the crime.
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