Changing views of man in criminal law

Criminology and victimology / Victimology

Changing views of man in criminal law

(full text only available in Dutch)


This issue on Views of man in criminal law starts from the idea that criminal law is embedded in our view of man, his or her capabilities, limitations and responsibilities. An illustrative example is the image of the perpetrator , which has changed dramatically since the nineteenth century and seems to have become harsher in the last decennia: The perpetrator as a sinful and (socially) weaker fellow human being who should be punished but also deserves our support, is nowadays especially seen as a risk factor and even as an outright enemy of society. Also the figure of the victim has undergone a transformation. Victims used to be more or less ignored in criminal cases. Nowadays victims have acquired their own position in criminal procedures and stand up for their interests in various ways. Did shifting views of man, of perpetrators and victims, indeed contribute to a harsher criminal law? Or can contrary tendencies be seen? How do various views of man relate to the question of forgiving?

Publication data

Place of publication:
The Hague
Boom Juridische uitgevers
Year of publication:
Justitiƫle verkenningen 2015/05