Victimology is the study of victimization, including the relationships between victims and offenders, the interactions between victims and the criminal justice system — that is, the police and courts, and corrections officials — and the connections between victims and other social groups and institutions, such as the media, businesses, and social movements. Victimology is however not restricted to the study of victims of crime alone but may include other forms of human rights violations.
Victimisation (or victimization) is the process of being victimised or becoming a victim. Research that studies the process, rates, incidence, and prevalence of victimisation falls under the body of victimology.
victim (plural victims)
(original sense) A living creature which is slain and offered as human or animal sacrifice, usually in a religious rite; by extension, the transfigurated body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist.
Anyone who is harmed by another.
An aggrieved or disadvantaged party in a crime (e.g. swindle.)
A person who suffers any other injury, loss, or damage as a result of a voluntary undertaking.
An unfortunate person who suffers from a disaster or other adverse circumstance.
Narratology. A character who is conquered or manipulated by a villain.
Peer victimisation is the experience among children of being a target of the aggressive behaviour of other children, who are not siblings and not necessarily age-mates.
Secondary victimisation (also known as post crime victimisation or double victimisation) relates to further victimisation following on from the original victimisation. For example, victim blaming, inappropriate post-assault behaviour or language by medical personnel or other organisations with which the victim has contact may further add to the victim's suffering. Victims may also experience secondary victimisation by justice system personnel upon entering the criminal justice system. Victims will lose time, suffer reductions in income, often be ignored by bailiffs and other courthouse staff and will remain uninformed about updates in the case such as hearing postponements, to the extent that their frustration and confusion will turn to apathy and a declining willingness to further participate in system proceedings.
For example, rape is especially stigmatising in cultures with strong customs and taboos regarding sex and sexuality. For example, a rape victim (especially one who was previously a virgin) may be viewed by society as being "damaged." Victims in these cultures may suffer isolation, be disowned by friends and family, be prohibited from marrying, or be divorced if already married.
The re-traumatisation of the sexual assault, abuse, or rape victim through the responses of individuals and institutions is an example of secondary victimisation. Secondary victimisation is especially common in cases of drug-facilitated, acquaintance, and statutory rape.
The term revictimisation refers to a pattern wherein the victim of abuse and/or crime has a statistically higher tendency to be victimised again, either shortly thereafter or much later in adulthood in the case of abuse as a child. This latter pattern is particularly notable in cases of sexual abuse. While an exact percentage is almost impossible to obtain, samples from many studies suggest the rate of revictimisation for people with histories of sexual abuse is very high. The vulnerability to victimisation experienced as an adult is also not limited to sexual assault, and may include physical abuse as well.
Reasons as to why revictimisation occurs vary by event type, and some mechanisms are unknown. Revictimisation in the short term is often the result of risk factors that were already present, which were not changed or mitigated after the first victimisation; sometimes the victim cannot control these factors. Examples of these risk factors include living or working in dangerous areas, chaotic familial relations, having an aggressive temperament, drug or alcohol usage and unemployment.
Revictimisation of adults who were previously sexually abused as children is more complex. Multiple theories exist as to how this functions. Some scientists propose a maladaptive form of learning; the initial abuse teaches inappropriate beliefs and behaviours that persist into adulthood. The victim believes that abusive behaviour is "normal" and comes to expect it from others in the context of relationships, and thus may unconsciously seek out abusive partners or cling to abusive relationships. Another theory draws on the principle of learned helplessness. As children, they are put in situations that they have little to no hope of escaping, especially when the abuse comes from a caregiver. One theory goes that this state of being unable to fight back or flee the danger leaves the last primitive option: freeze, an off-shoot of death-feigning. In adulthood, this response remains, and some professionals have noted that victimisers sometimes seem to pick up subtle cues of this when choosing a victim. This behaviour makes the victim an easy target, as they sometimes make little effort to fight back or even vocalise. And after the fact, they often make excuses and minimise what happened to them, sometimes never even reporting the assault to the authorities.
Self-victimisation (or victim playing) is the fabrication of victimhood for a variety of reasons such to justify abuse of others, to manipulate others, a coping strategy or attention seeking.
Self-image of victimisation (victim mentality)
Victims of abuse and manipulation often get trapped into a self-image of victimisation. The psychological profile of victimisation includes a pervasive sense of helplessness, passivity, loss of control, pessimism, negative thinking, strong feelings of guilt, shame, self-blame and depression. This way of thinking can lead to hopelessness and despair.
In criminology and criminal law, a victim of a crime is an identifiable person who has been harmed individually and directly by the perpetrator, rather than by society as a whole. However, this may not always be the case, as with victims of white collar crime, who may not be clearly identifiable or directly linked to crime against a particular individual. Victims of white collar crime are often denied their status as victims by the social construction of the concept (Croall, 2001). Not all criminologists accept the concept of victimization or victimology. The concept also remains a controversial topic within women's studies.
The Supreme Court of the United States first recognized the rights of crime victims to make a victim impact statement during the sentencing phase of a criminal trial in the case of Payne v. Tennessee 501 U.S. 808 (1991).
A victim impact panel is a form of community-based or restorative justice in which the crime victims (or relatives and friends of deceased crime victims) meet with the defendant after conviction to tell the convict about how the criminal activity affected them, in the hope of rehabilitation or deterrence.
Consequences of crimes
Emotional distress as the result of crime is a recurring theme for all victims of crime. The most common problem, affecting three quarters of victims, were psychological problems, including: fear, anxiety, nervousness, self-blame, anger, shame, and difficulty sleeping. These problems often result in the development of chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Post crime distress is also linked to pre-existing emotional problems and sociodemographic variables. This has been known to become a leading case of the elderly to be more adversely affected.(Ferraro, 1995)
Victims may experience the following psychological reactions:
Increase in the belief of personal vulnerability.
The perception of the world as meaningless and incomprehensible.
The view of themselves in a negative light.
The experience of victimization may result in an increasing fear of the victim of the crime, and the spread of fear in the community.
Victim facilitation, another controversial sub-topic, but a more accepted theory than victim blaming, finds its roots in the writings of criminologists such as Marvin Wolfgang. The choice to use victim facilitation as opposed to “victim blaming” or some other term is that victim facilitation is not blaming the victim, but rather the interactions of the victim that make him/her vulnerable to a crime.
While victim facilitation relates to “victim blaming” the idea behind victim facilitation is to study the elements that make a victim more accessible or vulnerable to an attack. In an article that summarizes the major movements in victimology internationally, Schneider expresses victim facilitation as a model that ultimately describes only the misinterpretation of victim behavior of the offender. It is based upon the theory of a symbolic interaction and does not alleviate the offender of his/her exclusive responsibility.
In Eric Hickey’s Serial Murderers and their Victims, a major analysis of 329 serial killers in America is conducted. As part of Hickey’s analysis, he categorized victims as high, low, or mixed regarding the victim’s facilitation of the murder. Categorization was based upon lifestyle risk (example, amount of time spent interacting with strangers), type of employment, and their location at the time of the killing (example, bar, home or place of business). Hickey found that 13-15% of victims had high facilitation, 60-64% of victims had low facilitation and 23-25% of victims had a combination of high and low facilitation. Hickey also noted that among serial killer victims after 1975, one in five victims placed themselves at risk either by hitchhiking, working as a prostitute or involving themselves in situations in which they often came into contact with strangers.
There is importance in studying and understanding victim facilitation as well as continuing to research it as a sub-topic of victimization. For instance, a study of victim facilitation increases public awareness, leads to more research on victim-offender relationship, and advances theoretical etiologies of violent crime. One of the ultimate purposes of this type of knowledge is to inform the public and increase awareness so fewer people become victims. Another goal of studying victim facilitation, as stated by Maurice Godwin, is to aid in investigations. Godwin discusses the theory of victim social networks as a concept in which one looks at the areas of highest risk for victimization from a serial killer. This can be connected to victim facilitation because the victim social networks are the locations in which the victim is most vulnerable to the serial killer. Using this process, investigators can create a profile of places where the serial killer and victim both frequent.
Descriptive and prescriptive
Descriptive law is when it describes how people, or even natural phenomena, ussually behave.
Prescriptive law – it prescribes how people ought to behave. For example, the speed limits imposed upon drivers are laws that prescribe how fast we should drive. They rarely describe how fast we actually do drive.
Social morality, rules and law
Prescriptive law regulates relations between people. Some of them are customs – informal rules of social and moral behavior. Customs are not made by government and are not written down. Sometimes we break these rules and suffer any penalty. Other member of society may ridicule us, criticize us or act violently toward us when we break these rules or one important of them. The rules of social institutions tend to be more formal then customs, carrying precise penalties for those who break them. Governments, making laws for their citizens, use system of courts backed by the powerof the police to enforce these laws.There are two kinds of prosecution in many countries: a) to conduct a civil action against somebody, demanding compensation for his injury and getting his claim enforced by a court of law; b) police might also start an action against someone for a crime or violence. If found guilty, he/she might be sent to prison, or might be made to pay a fine to the court. Making and enforcing laws government have motives. Without laws there would be anarchy in society. Second purpose is the implementation of justice. Sometimes laws are simply an attempt to implement common sense. Common sense is not such a simple matter. It becomes clear because in order to be enforced, common sense needs to be defined in law and definitions written down. The laws differ in variuous countries. It makes difficulties to write a general introductory book about the law today.
Particular country has particular legal system. There two kinds of law in the world. New of them is based on English Common law, and has been adopted by many Commonwealth countries and most of the US. Another, sometimes known as Continental law, or Roman law, has developed in most of continental Europe, Latin America and many countries in Asia and Africa which have been influenced by Europe. Continental law has also influenced Japan and several socialist countries.
Common law systems
By doctrine of precedent, judges attempted to apply existing customs and laws to each new case, rather than looking to the government to write new laws. If the essential elements of a case were the same as those decision regarding guilt or innocence. If no precedent could be found, then the judge made decision based upon existing legal principles, and his decision would become a precedent forother courts to follow when a similar case arose. The doctrine of precedent is still a central feature of modern common law system. Equity is another important feature of the common law tradition. The courts of common law and of equity existed alongside each other for centuries. In England people were dissatisfied with the inflexibility or the common law, and this practice developed of appealing directly to the king or to his chief legal administrator (lord chancellor). As the lord chancellor’s court became more willing to modify existing common law in order to solve disputes; a new system of law developed alongside the common law. Rights that were not enforced as common law but which were considered “equitable” wererecognised of this system. These two systems caused some problems. A person had to begin actions in a different courts in order to get a satisfactory solution. In a breach of contractclaim, a person had to seek specific performance in court ofequity, and damages in a common law court. Later these two systems were unified.
Continental systems are known as codified legal systems.They have resulted from attempts by governments to produce a set of codes to govern every legal aspect of a citizen’s life. It was necessary to make laws that were clear and comprehensive, in order to separate the roles of legislature and judiciary. The lawmakers were influenced by the model of Canon law. It is important not to increase the differences between these two traditions of law.
Modern Japanese law
In spite of tradition of private law, the lawmaker’s of Japan decided to adopt criminal and civil codes closely based on the Continental law. And new codes of law developed under the postwar occupation show some influence from Anglo-American common law traditions. That is why modern Japanase law consists of two traditions of law.
Socialist legal systems
Codyfying Chinese law system comprehensively, but so far there has been just a little progress. In China, law courts are still primary regarded as political instruments. But recently, citizens in some areas have been encouraged to seek legal redress in disputes with other citizens.