According to your textbook, proponents of victim compensation have philosophical bases for believing that the government has the obligation to provide victim compensation. Discuss two (2) of...

According to your textbook, proponents of victim compensation have philosophical bases for believing that the government has the obligation to provide victim compensation.

  1. Discuss two (2) of these reasons.
  2. Do you believe that the government has the obligation to provide victim compensation? Provide two (2) supporting facts to justify your position.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is hard to know exactly what philosophical bases belong in this answer without knowing what your textbook is.  I will answer as best I can using a book I know of.  This is a book called Victimology, by William Doerner.  Doerner says that there are two bases for the idea that the government should compensate victims of crime.  These are the concept of social welfare and the idea of the social contract.

The concept of social welfare holds that the government has a responsibility for ensuring that all of the people who live in the country are able to have at least a minimum standard of living.  The government has to help people achieve this standard if they are unable to achieve it for themselves.  What this means is that the government is supposed to help people out if they have problems which (through no fault of their own) keep them from living a good life.  We can use the idea of social welfare as a philosophical basis for victim compensation because people who have been victims of crimes have been harmed by things that were not their fault.  To the extent that the harm done to them has limited their ability to have a good standard of living, the government needs to compensate them.

If we think that the idea of the social contract is a basis for victim compensation, we are saying that the government needs to compensate victims for failing them.   The idea of the social contract says that the government is supposed to preserve the people’s life, liberty, and property.  In return for this, the people have to give money to the government (taxes) and have to obey the laws.  In other words, we have given up some of our freedoms to the government in exchange for the government’s protection.  In contract law, people have to pay compensation if they do not keep up their end of a contract.  This means that the government owes the victim compensation because it failed to live up to the contract it made by protecting their life, liberty, or property.

As for the second part of your question, that is really a personal opinion that should come from you.  Do you believe either of these arguments? Looking at the social welfare argument, do you think the government needs to compensate people only if the crime has severely degraded their ability to enjoy life?  What if the harm has been psychological? Is there any reason for the government to give money when the money will not rectify the harm done?  With the social contract idea, will paying compensation really make up for the crime?  Is it fair to make other citizens pay when the government does not protect an individual?  These are all issues that you should think about when making up your mind.

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