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Victorian Omission of Victims paper at the Annual Society of Legal Scholars Conference

Stephen Strauss-Walsh, a postgraduate researcher at the School of Law, attended the 108th Annual Society of Legal Scholars Conference at The Sutherland School of Law in University College Dublin on the 8th of September 2017, where he delivered his short legal history paper presentation which was entitled ‘The Motivations as well as Significances Behind the Victorian Omission of Victims’.

His intention was to describe the removal of victims from nineteenth century justice frames and analyse the motivations and repercussions of this event. This involved evidencing why the victim was removed from criminal justice, how it was brought about and what this meant.

This paper concluded by summarising the main points which can be drawn from this study; that factors like Industrialisation, Urbanisation, difficulties with victim centrality, Irish Essentialism, the reform & rationalisation of the State as well as transformations in the Criminal Law all materially contributed towards the victim’s removal from the criminal justice framework, as well as the rather undesirable consequences which flowed from this.

The objective of the paper was to therefore explain what propelled the crime victim’s removal and how victimhood itself became rather obfuscated as a consequence of this omission to an esteemed group of legal scholars from across Britain and Ireland.

The paper was very well received by an affable audience, promoting good humoured debate about whether some of Jeremy Bentham’s more unusual ideas have contributed towards the birth of modern liberalism and how exactly legal historians and academics should go about establishing the perpetually tenuous link between cause and effect in their work.

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