Proponents of victim compensation have philosophical bases for believing that the government has the obligation to provide victim compensation.  Discuss two (2) of these reasons.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One potential basis for the idea that the government should compensate victims of crime is the concept of social welfare.  According to this concept, the government has a responsibility for ensuring that all members of its society can enjoy a minimum standard of living even if they are unable to provide it for themselves.  In other words, if you have some problem that is not your fault and which prevents you from living a good life, the government should help you out.  This can be seen as a philosophical basis for victim compensation because victims of crimes have had their lives disrupted by things that were not their fault.  If the government should help out people who are disabled, it should also help out people who have been seriously harmed by crime.

A second basis for victims’ compensation is the idea of the social contract.  The idea of the social contract says that people give up some of their rights to the government in exchange for the government’s protection.  The government is supposed to preserve the people’s life, liberty, and property in exchange for their tax dollars and their obedience to the law.  When a person becomes the victim of a crime, the government has failed to keep up its end of the bargain.  When someone fails to keep up their end of a contract, they have to pay compensation.  In this case, the government owes the victim of a crime compensation because it failed to protect their life, liberty, or property.

These are the two main philosophical bases for the idea of victims’ compensation.

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