Social Justice Research

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 390–405 | Cite as

Procedural Justice and Psychological Effects of Criminal Proceedings: The Moderating Effect of Offense Type

  • Malini LaxminarayanEmail author


It is well-established that victims of crime have numerous preferences when encountering the criminal justice system. Often, research examines these preferences in terms of procedural justice, asserting that elements such as voice, respect, and fair treatment may lead to greater satisfaction and more positive experiences. Positive experiences also entail preventing secondary victimization by the legal system. Much of the research surrounding this topic, however, discusses victims of crime as a single entity. The current research examines if differences among crime victims, namely whether they suffered sexual or non-sexual victimizations, influence their legal preferences. Victims of sexual assault have undergone particularly traumatic and stigmatizing experiences that may warrant a greater need for expression and understanding of their harm. It is hypothesized that for victims of sexual assault, there will be a stronger association between procedural justice and negative psychological effects of criminal proceedings. Therefore, type of offense is examined as a moderator variable of this relationship. Hierarchical regression analysis indicated that there is in fact an interaction effect for procedural justice and psychological effects, suggesting that these preferences are more desired by victims of sexual assault.


Procedural justice Victims Sexual assault Secondary victimization 



The author would like to express her gratitude to the Dutch Compensation Fund for Victims of Serious Crimes (Schadefonds geweldsmisdrijven) and the numerous victim support agencies throughout Australia for their assistance.

Conflict of interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Standards

The data collection complies with the current laws of the country in which they were performed.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Victimology Institute Tilburg (INTERVICT)Tilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands

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