The term victim is defined in Criminal Procedure Code 1973 section 2(wa) as “Victim” means a person who has suffered any loss or injury caused by reason of the act or omission for which the accused person has been charged and the expression of “victim” contains his or her guardian or legal heir.
In a layman language victimization can be termed as the process of being victimized or becoming a victim. There are several forms of victimization such as primary, secondary, re-victimization, and self-victimization. Primary victimization is victimization caused due to the direct commission of a crime by the offender to the victim whereas secondary victimization (also known as post crime victimization or double victimization) occurs due to inequalities in the insight of state agencies/institutions/instrumentalities. Re-victimization happens when the victim is being victimized again. Self-victimization is using a variety of reasons to justify abuse.
The chief goal of a criminal justice system is certainly the defense of individual life, liberty, and property. The modern criminal law is supposed to represent the drives and norms of the society as well as to punish and reform the criminals but it overlooks the victim. The criminal justice system in our country is based on the premise that hundred guilty men should be let free, but one innocent man should not be punished.
The jurisprudence of our criminal system traces its roots in the institution theory of punishment which aims to achieve social balance by socializing the criminals. The Indian Criminal jurisprudence which is personified mainly in Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Code of Criminal Procedure has countless provisions to ensure that the liberty of is not chained such as presumption of innocence, the right to legal assistance, right to fair trial, right of the accused to be informed of charges before trial, and right to present a defense. During the endless process of trial in our country, the sufferings of victims are entirely overlooked by sympathy for the accused. But of late, it has been realized by the courts that the eventual off beam has been done to the victim and his welfare is of the same importance as that of the accused. The attitude has begun to change. Many countries around the world have recognized the need to provide rehabilitation and legal assistance to help them recover from the effects of crime.
In the case of Bodhisattwa Gautam v. Subhra Chakraborty, the Supreme Court held that if the court trying an offence of rape has jurisdiction to award compensation at the final stage, the Court also has the right to award interim compensation. The court, having satisfied the prima facie culpability of the accused, ordered him to pay a sum of Rs.1000 every month to the victim as interim compensation along with arrears of compensation from the date of the complaint.
Providing assistance to victims of crime is of great importance because victims have ached irreparable damages and harm as a result of a crime. The problems of victims and the impact of crime are long-lasting. Therefore, the activities of the criminal justice system should be receptive to the needs of the victims of crime and address their issues sincerely and empathetically. Various efforts are made to improve the criminal justice system in India by the judiciary but there is a lot to be done in order to make a favorable environment for victims. Measures including passing a dedicated law for victim welfare to sensitizing the state agencies to the needs of a victim would ensure victim welfare.