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Blamestorming, blamemongers and scapegoatsAllocating blame in the criminal justice process$
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Gavin Dingwall and Tim Hillier

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781447305002

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447305002.001.0001

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Blame, punitiveness and criminalisation

Blame, punitiveness and criminalisation

(p.135) Seven Blame, punitiveness and criminalisation
Blamestorming, blamemongers and scapegoats

Gavin Dingwall

Tim Hillier

Policy Press

Chapter Seven addresses the growth in the culture of blame and an increased need for scapegoats. Using examples from cases where children suffered harm or neglect, it is shown that ‘justice’ now entails blaming not only those who directly caused the harm (all of whom were dealt with fully by the criminal law) but those whose alleged inaction or incompetence provided a space for the abuse to occur. Lessons should be learnt and the incompetent should not be kept in post if their presence risks further abuse taking place but allocating personal responsibility beyond the individual abuser risks creating scapegoats. Why is it no longer sufficient to punish those who actually neglected or abused the child? The chapter also documents two parallel trends namely a shift from civil to criminal liability and from human rights to the international criminal court. All of the developments in this chapter have occurred in a brief timeframe which highlights the relevancy of the approach which we adopted.

Keywords:   blame culture, scapegoats, child abuse, civil liability, international criminal court, human rights

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