The Public´S Perceptions Of Victims And Criminals

1082 words - 4 pages

Such shows like America’s Most Wanted have been instrumental for the victims’ rights movement here in America. “America’s Most Wanted has become one of the most important programs on television, having played a major role in the capture of more than 1,100 fugitives in the U.S. and 30 countries, including 17 on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List, rescue of 61 children and Missing persons since its launch in 1988” (Welch, 2013). The host of the show John Walsh was a victim in his own right when his son Adam was taken from a Florida mall in 1983. The abduction of their son Adam prompted the Walsh family to seek help from various law enforcement agencies for themselves and other families that were in similar situations thus leading to the enactment of the Missing Children’s Act. This act would require the FBI to keep a detailed record of any missing child, therefore, making it easier for parents to search for their child. “The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act July 27 is now a bittersweet day for the Walshes; which marks the worst day of their lives in 1981, but also a day that brings hope to families who seek justice and answers because of the law named for their son” (Welch, 2013). John Walsh and shows like America’s Most Wanted has been a steady and loud voice for victims’ and their families since his own son was abducted. A top executive for Lifetime Network had this to say about John Walsh and his commitment to bring justice to the victims’ loved ones, “For more than two decades John Walsh has been leading the fight against crime and it’s an honor to partner with him on bringing back this important show” (Welch, 2013).
The public’s perception of victims and criminals vary greatly among the masses here in the United States. According to research conducted by Susan E. Gegan and Nicholas Ernesto Rodriguez, victims of crime play a critical role not only in the criminal justice system they also often provide eyewitness information to law enforcement which help aid in the capture of suspects (Gegan, Rodriguez, 1992). They also state that “the American system of jurisprudence has emphasized the interests of offenders and the needs and concerns of victims have become subordinate to those of the offenders” (Gegan, Rodriguez, 1992). According to the theory observed by the researchers, the criminal justice system not only has emphasized the interests of the offenders but has put the victims secondary to those offenders. Individuals can experience many types of victimizations which include domestic violence, theft, and child abuse. The perception of the masses in our society about these crimes and others are not always valid or accurate. The perceptions that are driven by those of the media include myths about certain crimes and the distinguishing characteristics of some of those that have been victimized. Some examples of these perceptions that are held by our society are people are to blame for their own victimizations, they might...

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