One of the striking peculiarities of the Dutch administration of criminal justice (Tak 1993:20-25) is the wide discretionary power of the judiciary concerning sentencing. There is hardly any statutory rule for sentencing in the present Dutch Penal Code or the Code of Criminal Procedure.
According to some theorists punishment is justified by its contribution to the maintenance of the social order. Punishment is thus a means of upholding the law through contributing to the prevention of crime.
According to Malcolm Davies (1993) there are a number of common themes relating to changes in sentencing policy around the world. He argues that three particular themes stand out: ""...the decline in the faith previously placed in rehabilitative sentencing strategies ... a concern with sentencing disparities and the subsequent attempts to provide guidelines for, and constraints on, sentencers; and ... the restoration of just desert principles whilst at the same time endeavouring to restrict the use of imprisonment on fiscal and penological grounds.
Violent and aggressive children receive much attention from psychologists, social workers and criminologists, but parents as victims of the verbal and physical abuse of their children are often ignored. These parents usually suffer in silence and experience feelings of guilt, anxiety, hopelessness, powerlessness and have a need for empathy and emotional support.
It is generally accepted that the murder of unsuspecting innocents, that is massacres, usually occurs under war conditions though there have been notable exceptions. However, in the South African context massacres have largely occurred outside a war situation and, up to the 1980s, have usually been linked to labour strikes/boycotts or political protests.
Statistics have shown that in the case of 80 per cent of all offenders in the Republic of South Africa a relapse to recidivism occurs. Investigations and interviews with offenders indicate that the most crucial reason why so many offenders relapse into crime may be the inadequate supportive aftercare system available to offenders upon release.