Empowered or Protected? The ‘problem’ of complainants’ rights in Danish and Norwegian preparatory works on criminal procedure

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Empowered or Protected? The ‘problem’ of complainants’ rights in Danish and Norwegian preparatory works on criminal procedure. / Antonsdottir, Hildur Fjola.

Rape in the Nordic Countries: Continuity and Change. Routledge, 2019.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

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TY - CHAP

T1 - Empowered or Protected?

T2 - The ‘problem’ of complainants’ rights in Danish and Norwegian preparatory works on criminal procedure

AU - Antonsdottir, Hildur Fjola

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - In the mid-2000s, Danish and Norwegian criminal procedural law underwent legislative amendments to strengthen the rights of complainants in cases of sexual violence and other cases of serious violations. While in Norway complainants were afforded participatory rights and stronger legal representation in court, this was largely not the case in Denmark. The aim of this chapter is to identify how the ‘problem’ of complainants’ increased participatory rights and stronger legal representation is represented in these policy processes. The findings suggest that the Norwegian policy process was characterised by the use of domestic, international, legal and extra-legal sources, while the Danish policy process was largely based on domestic legal sources. In the Norwegian preparatory works, complainants are represented as citizens in need of empowerment through increased rights. Affording complainants increased participatory rights and stronger legal representation is also construed as ensuring the rule of law. In the Danish preparatory works, by contrast, the dominant representation of the complainant is rooted in the notion of victimhood. This representation is shaped by a protection discourse whereby the complainant is protected from the possibly harmful consequences of having rights. Not affording complainants increased participatory rights and stronger legal representation is further construed as preserving the rule of law.

AB - In the mid-2000s, Danish and Norwegian criminal procedural law underwent legislative amendments to strengthen the rights of complainants in cases of sexual violence and other cases of serious violations. While in Norway complainants were afforded participatory rights and stronger legal representation in court, this was largely not the case in Denmark. The aim of this chapter is to identify how the ‘problem’ of complainants’ increased participatory rights and stronger legal representation is represented in these policy processes. The findings suggest that the Norwegian policy process was characterised by the use of domestic, international, legal and extra-legal sources, while the Danish policy process was largely based on domestic legal sources. In the Norwegian preparatory works, complainants are represented as citizens in need of empowerment through increased rights. Affording complainants increased participatory rights and stronger legal representation is also construed as ensuring the rule of law. In the Danish preparatory works, by contrast, the dominant representation of the complainant is rooted in the notion of victimhood. This representation is shaped by a protection discourse whereby the complainant is protected from the possibly harmful consequences of having rights. Not affording complainants increased participatory rights and stronger legal representation is further construed as preserving the rule of law.

M3 - Book chapter

SN - 9781138606517

BT - Rape in the Nordic Countries

PB - Routledge

ER -