This post emerged out of a discussion with a client, so thank you client
In the legal domain the intention of the perpetrator matters little, and victim impact matters a lot. Nor does the victim's subjective meaning making matter much...the police will tend to arrest Jean Valjean even if the Bishop does not want to press charges, does not think of the silver candlesticks as ever being his - "to the Lord is the earth and the fullness thereof" - or that they were "stolen."
Perhaps this is because the law is concerned with regulating society, with reinforcing norms (right and wrong), with punishment and with - too rarely - restorative justice. It does not question the notions of agency, private property, free will, volition or responsibility, and nor does it explore - in the areas of libel, defamation, intimidation, boundary violations, bullying, harassment, traumatisation etc - how the 'victim' may co-create the injury along with the perpetrator, by the kind of conceptualising and languaging they use to describe to themself what has happened. (And which is subtly reinforced by the agendas and power struggles and discourses of those around them)
In the psychological domain, however, it is different. Perhaps because this domain is less concerned with "good" and "bad" than with balance, happiness, well-being and freedom. The intentions of the perpetrator are unknowable, even if the perpetrator says what they were....because the perpetrator may be an unreliable witness. But the meaning making of the survivor / victim / overcomer is accessible, and this meaning making is all important as to whether minutes or hours in the past will grow into a huge and heavy wound-burden in the present, (what Eckhart Tolle calls an identity maintained by identification with the pain body) or whether the person will turn from digging in the graveyard of the past to dwell in the house of the present and presence.