The primary objective of this study was to determine the value of counseling services in Dubai public prosecution. Based on the primary and secondary data that was collected and analyzed, it was established that counseling is critical for both victims and offenders. For the victims, it is necessary to ensure that they are capable of overcoming their trauma when the case is finally solved. For the offenders, they need help to come to terms with the new lifestyle they are going to face when they are finally sent to prison. There should be a standard procedure in the prosecution system of Dubai.
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Dubai Public Prosecution has an important responsibility of ensuring that the rights and freedom of people are protected. Those who go against the law should be subjected to a fair trial and appropriate punishment should be given to them in courts under the existing laws. It is expected that justice is maintained at all times and the basic rights and needs of both the accused and the victim are preserved.
In the current Dubai public prosecution system, non-legal counseling is not a service that is offered either to the victim or the accused. It is a practice that has yet to become common not only in the United Arab Emirates but also in other parts of the world. However, counseling is very critical for both the victim and the defendant, especially if they are minors. There are cases of teenagers taken to court because of crime such as rape, robbery with violence, or even homicide.
These are serious crimes that have a massive impact on both the defendant and the victim or their family. In cases of rape committed against a minor, the victim may have a life-long trauma if proper counseling is not done. Post-traumatic stress disorder, if not addressed properly, may have major impacts on the victim. Rape victims require immediate attention from medical experts to help them cope with their new condition. In some cases, a minor may be brought in for homicide that occurred mistakenly without his intention.
The jury may be very understanding and the judge may give very light sentences. However, there is the mental torture that the child will have to bear because of causing the death of a loved one. It is the responsibility of the public prosecution team to offer some form of counseling to these people so that they can lead a normal life free from mental torture. Sometimes the parents may need to be trained so that they can help their children overcome the trauma they face.
Given that the minor will be spending most of their time with their parents, the experts may need to train them on how to handle their delicate children based on what happened to them, and what can be done to ensure that such an event does not recur in future. This is a proposal for a new policy that the prosecution should consider embracing as it strives to offer quality services to its clients. In this paper, the researcher seeks to determine the value of counseling services in Dubai Public Prosecution.
Purpose of the Proposal
The purpose of this proposal is to determine the value of counseling services in Dubai Public Prosecution. The prosecution system does not consider counseling as an important service that should be offered to both parties, especially when it involves major crimes such as homicide, murder, and rape. These are incidents that create a permanent scar even among the perpetrators. The feeling of being haunted may remain in them forever if they are not taken through proper counseling.
Most of the serial killers are people who were not properly counseled when they murdered for the first time. Given their disturbed spirit, they may feel compelled to commit similar crimes either when in prison or once they are released after serving their terms. Making them realize that what they did was wrong but it does not turn them into beasts is very critical. They need to be aware that even after committing such heinous crimes, they are still human beings and need to behave normally.
This proposal seeks to propose new guidelines within the prosecution system where counseling will be a mandatory service both to the victims and the offenders. Before the offenders are subjected to prosecution, deliberate attempts should be made to make them appreciate the purpose of the prosecution. They should be made to realize that under a normal social system that law governs the behavior of people, facing prosecution does not mean that the state is against the accused. What it means is that a crime was committed and as per the law, appropriate punishment is necessary. When they are made to develop such a feeling, they will go to prison knowing that they are paying for their crime and that the authorities are trying to change their behavior.
In this policy proposal project, the researcher has developed clear objectives that should be achieved by the end of the project. The following are the objectives.
- To determine the value of offering counseling services in the DPP system, especially for the juveniles
- To determine if the juveniles (accused or victims) need someone to talk to and the procedure that should be followed to do so.
- To determine the current regional practice regarding counseling among the public prosecution systems
- To come up with recommendations on how the DPP system can embrace the practice of counseling the victims and defendants as appropriate.
Research Questions and Hypotheses
In this proposal, the researcher seeks to respond to the following research questions.
- What is the value of offering any counseling services in the DPP system, especially for juveniles?
- If you see that Juveniles (accused or victims) need someone to talk to, what is the procedure currently?
- What is the current regional practice regarding counseling among the public prosecution systems?
- If a proposal for juvenile counseling services were developed, do you think the DPP would consider it?
To respond to the above research questions, the researcher will collect the relevant data from various sources.
Counseling within the public prosecution system is a relatively new concept that is just emerging in some parts of developed countries. In the past, counseling was considered a primary responsibility of the medical staff. If a victim suffered a rape case, it would be a standard procedure for him or her to be offered such services in hospitals when they are receiving medical services. For the prosecutors, their primary responsibility is largely considered to be that of prosecution.
The prosecutor is expected to give the victim justice by punishing the rapist appropriately. However, in doing so there is a need to offer adequate counseling to the accused, especially if he is a juvenile (Thibault & Maceri, 2009). The victim needs to understand the essence of the punishment. There should be clear information that the sentence is meant to offer the juvenile opportunity to reform and become a better person in society (Snyder, Glaser, & Calhoun, 2013).
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Emphasis should be on the need for the accused to be transformed other than on the desire to punish them. The ultimate goal of the prison service is to transform offenders so that they can be successfully integrated into the community. For juvenile prisons, there is often the pressure to transform juvenile delinquents to be better people and possible future leaders in society. This can only happen when the accused juveniles are properly counseled. They should develop the desire to have a better life in the future where they are more responsible and determined to transform the community within which they live.
The prosecution may offer legal advice to the victim, but not counseling services that may help them deal with the post-traumatic stress disorder. As such, when the victims are with the prosecution team, they expect counseling on how they can get the most justice based on their case. Counseling is often very important when a victim is seeking justice. In most of the cases, the victims- who happen to be juvenile- may need counseling just as much as they may need to see justice served.
They need to move on with life despite what happened to them (Masters, 2004). Although the victims are represented by the state in such prosecution processes, they still need some form of counseling. For instance, they may want the prosecution to continue without their identity being revealed to the public. They may have a feeling that the physical and emotional trauma they are going through is so severe that they cannot withstand any other stress of negative publicity during the prosecution process.
As such, they need to be advised on how they can testify without revealing their identities. They also need counseling on how to handle themselves during the trial time of prosecution and what to do when the case is finally brought to conclusion. The current prosecution system in the entire Middle East often tries to offer this counseling to its clients. They try to make the victims understand their position and rights in the entire process. However, a lot more still needs to be done to improve the system (Holloway, Brown, Suman, & Aalsma, 2013). Counseling should be made a mandatory requirement in the legal institutions.
The defendants also need legal counseling from the prosecution system. Sometimes defendants are completely unaware of their rights either because of their age or lack of any legal background. They may not be aware of their right to legal counseling. Some do not even understand what they should or should not say to the prosecutors that may lead to self-incrimination. It is the responsibility of the prosecution to inform the accused of their right to a legal representative, especially when they are facing serious crimes such as homicide, robbery with violence, or rape. They should be enlightened about their right not to speak to the prosecution team in the absence of their lawyer.
These are services that are currently available not only in the Dubai prosecution system but also in other prosecution systems in the region. However, it is worrying that in most of the cases the prosecution fails to offer such legal counseling to the defendants when trying to develop their case. They do not inform or remind the accused of their right not to speak to the prosecution. They go ahead and interrogate them, sometimes even using threats to develop their case.
The suspect would end up incriminating themselves, even in cases where a clear explanation of the events would help the jury understand the motive of the defendant. As such, these juveniles need proper counseling before they can be presented in court (Evans & Zhou, 2014). They need to know how to present themselves in court and how to narrate the events that happened to help the jury understand what transpired.
This is a policy proposal project that seeks to introduce a new system in Dubai Public Prosecution. The current prosecution system in Dubai primarily focuses on serving justice at all times. This should continue to be its primary focus. However, it should also focus on caring for the emotional torture of the victims and the accused so that the entire process of prosecution does not leave them emotionally destroyed.
In this policy proposal project, the aim is to consider the value of juvenile counseling and offer a program proposal within this department that will ensure that the prosecution process does not add unnecessary emotional and psychological burden among those who are involved in the process.
In this project, the researcher has conducted a review of the literature to determine what other scholars have found about the issue of counseling in public prosecution. The researcher also engaged a sample of the stakeholders in the prosecution department within Dubai to determine the current status of affairs regarding this issue. It was necessary to collect primary data from these respondents because of the research gaps identified in the literature review. It was evident that not enough research has been done in this field that specifically focuses on Dubai. The respondents that were identified are currently working within this department.
They understand the system and know whether or not public prosecution offers to counsel to the victims and defendants. To select the participants for the study, simple random sampling was used. The people working in this department were chosen randomly to ensure that the personal bias of the researcher does not affect the outcome of the study. Using the research questions that were developed for this study, the researcher gathered data from these respondents. Primary data is important because it helps in confirming the claims made by other scholars as witnessed in the review of the literature.
Primary data collection was done through a face-to-face interview. As mentioned above, all the respondents are currently working in Dubai Public Prosecution. It is common for loyal employees of a given organization to give false information as a way of protecting its image. It was, therefore, necessary to use an approach that would limit the chances of the respondents giving false information. It is easy for a researcher to detect when a respondent is giving wrong information. It takes time for one to create a lie and a good researcher should be able to detect this lie from the facial expression and body language of the respondent.
It was one of the reasons why the face-to-face interview was considered appropriate. It was also an appropriate method of collecting data because it allowed the researcher to clarify issues that the respondents had before answering the questions. The researcher reassured them of the anonymity of their identity and the fact that this paper was only meant for academic purposes.
The researcher was interested in finding answers to the research questions set in chapter one to achieve the objectives of this paper. There were four questions based on the four objectives of the study. The study used both primary and secondary data to respond to these research questions. The following were the research questions used in the study.
What is the value of offering any counseling services in the DPP system, especially for juveniles?
In this question, the focus was to determine the value of offering counseling services in the DPP system, especially for juveniles. The respondents were asked to give their views about the value of counseling services in the Dubai public prosecution system. It was clear that most of them understood the importance of counseling both to the victims and perpetrators of criminal acts. The respondents particularly noted that rape victims need proper counseling to ensure that they lead a normal life. The respondents noted that these victims often undergo a lot of trauma when subjected to such demeaning and physically hurtful ordeals.
They need to be taken care of emotionally to ensure that they overcome their emotional stress. The defendants also need some form of counseling to help them deal with their situation and be ready to face a life behind bars knowing that one day they shall be integrated back into the community and will be expected to lead normal lives just like other members of their society. The respondents noted that counseling services were specifically important for juveniles because most of them have limited knowledge about the processes of courts and the possible impact that legal processes may have on their lives (Roberts & Springer, 2007).
Offering counseling services prepare them for the possible outcome of such legal processes. They get to understand what is expected of them and how they can handle themselves before, during, and after the legal proceedings.
The findings closely matched the findings made in the review of the literature. The perpetrators of these criminal acts also require some form of emotional support as they go through prosecution. Not all those who are suspected of committing a crime are often found guilty. Some allegations may have serious impacts on the defendant. In such cases, being declared innocent after a fair trial may not offer them full psychological freedom. They may still have the scar of being referred to as rapists or murderers. These people rarely get the support they need to recover from the emotional torture after being suspected of committing certain crimes.
The prosecution should come up with a new system where such people are taken through proper counseling to help them lead a normal life. They should be made to understand that it is normal for such allegations to come up, but the most important thing is that their innocence has been proven in the court of law. Such people may have resentment towards their accusers and may even be tempted to take revenge in any manner possible. However, through proper counseling, these people can overcome their resentment and forgive their accusers. They can lead a normal life knowing that the accusations do not change who they are and that they do not turn them into social misfits.
It was also noted that some of these juveniles come from abusive families and are committing crimes because they feel they have nothing to lose. Others are bought up in environments where they learn that the only way of solving their problems is through violence. Such juveniles need counseling before they can be subjected to legal proceedings (Grebstein & Van, 2016). In some cases, the accused may be found guilty beyond any reasonable doubt of committing a given crime.
When these people are sent to prison, the aim is always to help them change their criminal behavior and become law-abiding individuals. However, these people can only change their behavior in these correctional facilities if they develop a mentality of wanting to be better people. Instead of focusing on the criminal acts of these defendants during the prosecution period, the prosecutor should work closely with them to help them appreciate the relevance of the prosecution process. They need to understand that they are given a second chance in life to go through their past criminal acts and to decide on how to become better people.
With the help of counseling, they will not consider the time they spend in jail wasted. They should consider it as an opportunity given to them to reflect upon their lives, away from the society, and to decide on the best way they want to integrate with members of the society once they are released from prison. In Jordan, the legal system has developed a culture of counseling those who have been sentenced to a jail term before they are sent to prison.
Such processes help them to cope with the new lifestyle in prison. As such, counseling services are very important for the Dubai prosecution system. The current system has not placed enough emphasis on juvenile counseling (Siegel & Welsh, 2011). The findings show that the juveniles need to be protected when they are subject to legal processes. It does not matter whether they are the victims or offenders. Measures should be put in place that considers the fact that they are not of legal age.
If you see that juveniles (accused or victims) need someone to talk to, what is the procedure currently? Are there any plans in place for additional services?
In this question, the focus was to determine if currently there are procedures put in place that can be used to offer counseling services to juveniles. As such, it was necessary to determine if these officers working in the Dubai Public Prosecution department often offer counseling to t victims and defendants for the period in which they interact with them. The respondents noted that in most of the cases, the accused may get counseling.
The juvenile has the liberty of visiting a specialist who will be responsible for taking care of the problems. However, such a juvenile only has access to one specialist who will meet all the counseling needs. For the victims, the system allows them to look for counseling services on their own, without any mandate that forces the DPP to help them get such counseling services. The office is yet to come up with a policy that will ensure that the victims and the accused can get emotional counseling. They stated that it is appropriate for the department to come up with a new policy that will focus on offering both legal and emotional counseling to the participants.
The victims often need counseling services to help them deal with the mental torture that they may be experiencing based on the ordeal they went through at the hands of their attackers. For instance, a juvenile who is a victim of rape may need counseling to help him or her deal with the problem emotionally. If such counseling services are not offered properly and within the right time, they may have a permanent scar that will forever affect their lives in the future.
What is the current regional practice regarding counseling among the public prosecution systems?
The respondents noted that they play a small part in counseling and they often take workshops so that they can test the efficiency of these services in helping the juveniles undergoing legal processes. Understanding the victim or accused that needs counseling services is critical for the specialists. In the review of literature, it was apparent that little has been discussed about emotional counseling offered to offenders and their victims for the period of prosecution.
The prosecutors often focus on proving to the court that the accused is guilty as charged and rarely do they focus on how to help them overcome their emotions. The respondents felt that more still needs to be done to ensure that juveniles, both victims and accused, get adequate counseling every time they have to undergo the legal processes.
If a proposal for juvenile counseling services was developed do you think the DPP would consider it?
The DPP indeed reserves the right to approve the proposals made from the project. In this section, the interest of the researcher was to determine if the appropriate department would consider implementing the proposals made. The respondents gave overwhelming support for a new system that focuses on helping the offenders and the victims overcome their emotional trauma during the time of prosecution. Given that sometimes prosecution may take a long time, they need counseling services to deal with the emotional challenges they are facing. The respondents felt that the proposals needed to be implemented. It was noted that in most cases the juveniles go without getting proper counseling because of the poor structures and systems that do not emphasize these services.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Counseling services are very important for people who are going through legal trials. As to the victims of crimes such as rape, they need help to overcome post-traumatic stress disorder. Although sometimes they get such services at the hospital where they are given medical attention, the prosecution team should also have its counseling services for these victims. Offenders also need to be taken through counseling. Some of these cases may take very long before they are concluded.
During that period, the suspects may be subjected to a lot of mental torture, especially if they did not commit the crime. They need to be taken through regular counseling to enable them to appreciate the relevance of the process.
In case they are guilty of the crime and the court finds them so, they need to know that serving a term is meant to bring justice to the victims and to offer them an opportunity to reflect upon their past and come up with a new approach of facing their life. It is worrying that in the entire region the prosecution system has never considered emotional counseling as a necessary service that it should be offering to the clients. In most of the cases, both the victims and defendants are often subjected to massive emotional stress that may have massive psychological impacts on them in the future. A good example is a rape case.
The study shows that the victim may lead the rest of his or her life wondering why the incident happened. They may not have an effective interpersonal relationship in their future lives if their emotional torture is not effectively addressed. It is often expected that such victims would get counseling from the medical experts who address their cases. However, they need support even after being discharged.
The prosecution team should find a way of helping such victims cope with their condition during the entire process of prosecuting the case. The parents need to be trained on how to handle their children given their delicate emotional status after such horrific events. They need to know how to monitor the behavior of their children and to determine if they need special assistance that may require the attention of medical staff. In many instances, these victims are left with an emotional scar that may not heal immediately. It may take a while and may require constant support for these victims to fully recover.
The following policy proposals were made based on the analysis of primary and secondary data.
- Dubai Public Prosecution should embrace a new policy where victims of specific crimes and the offenders are taken through some form of emotional counseling for the entire time of prosecution.
- To ensure that this policy is effectively implemented, the prosecution department should train its staff on counseling and hire more staff that will be responsible for counseling the victims and the offenders.
- The department should coordinate with hospitals and other institutions caring for the victims to ensure that coordinated counseling services can be offered to these victims.
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Grebstein, C., & Van, W. A. (2016). Turning the tide of male juvenile delinquency: The ocean tides approach. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
Holloway, E., Brown, J., Suman, P., & Aalsma, M. (2013). A qualitative examination of juvenile probation officers as gateway providers to mental health care. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 24(3), 370-392. Web.
Masters, R. E. (2004). Counseling criminal justice offenders. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Roberts, A., & Springer, D. W. (2007). Social work in juvenile and criminal justice settings. Springfield, ILL: Charles C Thomas.
Siegel, L. J., & Welsh, B. (2011). Juvenile delinquency: The core. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.
Snyder, B., Glaser, B., & Calhoun, G. (2013).The juvenile offender parent questionnaire: A structural validation study. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 46(1), 38-49. Web.
Thibault, E. A., & Maceri, J. J. (2009). Juvenile justice guide. Flushing, NY: Looseleaf Law Publications.