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Intersectionality In The Criminal Justice System

2262 words - 9 pages

The criminal justice system is dynamic and has changed rapidly since the works of Cesare Beccaria and Cesare Lombroso during Enlightenment Period and this reflects in the issue of intersectionality with the changing approaches taken towards concepts of gender, race and class. Sexual assault will be a predominate study used throughout the essay to examine the different approaches and issues between traditional and non-traditional justices. This essay will first establish where are these intersectionalities found in terms of sexual assault cases and the challenges victims face in the legal process with traditional approaches then followed by a comparison to the transition towards non-traditional alternative justice system has responded with a deeper insight into restorative justices and its effects on resolving these challenges. The role of alternative justice and the key challenges in disproportionate crimes are also important aspects of intersectionality in Australia as they aim to resolve challenges women and the mentally disabled encounter during processing through court in the criminal justice system.
Gender is predominating in the criminal justice system and sexual assault exemplifies the contrast found between the traditional and non-traditional justice systems employed over time. Sexual assault poses a social threat to all aspects of community, spreading insecurity in 43400 victims across Australia and 13300 victims in NSW alone as indicated in the recent Australian Bureau of Statistics Crime Victimisation Report. (ABS 2011, p. 40) There has also been an increase of sexual assault by 51% since 1995 with an average of 4% every year. (ABS 2010) Another major issue within the boundaries of sexual assault is that it holds one of the lowest prosecution rates with only 1 in 10 incidents able to prosecute the offender as guilty. (Fitzgerald 2006, Pg. 1) Sexual assault perpetrators adhere to this as they act towards their victims, women in particular to gain a sense of control especially from low socio-economic backgrounds compared to the middle and upper class. (Fitzgerald 2006) The abundance of statistics and reports conducted all imply that sexual assault is still a predominate issue with disproportionation of not only in gender of the victim but also in age and social class within the criminal justice system.
Beyond the victimisation of women in the criminal justice system there is an abundance of research indicating that intersectionality is evident in policing and judicial roles. With 63.1% of female officers compared to the 14.2% of male officers reporting to have been exposed to sexual violence during service. (Prenzler, 1995) The US has a long track record of male dominating roles in the judicial system since there has been only 4 female compared to 108 male Associate Justices in the Supreme Court and half of them were only recently introduced under the Obama administration. The policing and judicial roles in the criminal justice...

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