Women and victims: neglected voices in plea negotiations

Monique Moffa, Arie Freiberg, Asher Flynn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


Victims have played an ambiguous, precarious and changing role in the criminal justice system. The recognition of their role in the sentencing process is now well-established, albeit following a long struggle. Their role in plea negotiations, on the other hand, is still emerging and contentious. Victims are the parties who have personally experienced the effects of crime. In common law jurisdictions they do not have ‘party’ status, nor that of intervener, although they have greater rights in some inquisitorial systems of criminal justice. With the vast majority of cases in adversarial systems resolved through guilty pleas, and many of those resulting from plea negotiations, the facts presented to the court, the number and nature of charges and the ultimate sentence imposed, will be significantly influenced by the outcome of negotiations. This chapter examines both the role victims currently play and arguably should play in the negotiation process, as well as their views of plea negotiations. It assesses the arguments for and against an increased role for victims, as well as the models of victim participation that have been proposed, or are in effect; models that involve information, consultation, participation, accountability, veto powers and legal or other forms of support. The chapter concludes by discussing the need for a trauma-informed, non-adversarial approach to plea negotiations to better serve victims.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Plea Bargaining and Criminal Justice
EditorsMáximo Langer, Mike McConville, Luke Marsh
Place of PublicationCheltenham UK
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781802206678
ISBN (Print)9781802206661
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Publication series

NameResearch Handbooks on Criminal Law and Justice


  • plea negotiations
  • women
  • defendants
  • procedural justice
  • plea deals

Cite this