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1 Crime Victims: An Introduction to Victimology Sixth Edition By Andrew Karmen Chapter One: What is Victimology?

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Presentation on theme: "1 Crime Victims: An Introduction to Victimology Sixth Edition By Andrew Karmen Chapter One: What is Victimology?"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Crime Victims: An Introduction to Victimology Sixth Edition By Andrew Karmen Chapter One: What is Victimology?

2 2 VICTIMOLOGY “Scientific study of physical, emotional, and financial harm people suffer because of illegal activities.” Included in this definition is the victimization occurring for victims within the criminal justice system.

3 3 Victimization “Is an asymmetrical interpersonal relationship that is abusive, painful, destructive, parasitical, and unfair.” Law forbids certain forms of victimization— oppressive and exploitative acts—but not ALL types of harmful activities.

4 4 VICTIMOLOGY  Victims—Individuals who experience loss, injury, or hardship for any reason  Crime Victims—Above as result of an illegal act  Direct/Primary—Experiences criminal act and its consequences first hand  Indirect/Secondary—Family and those who suffer emotionally or financially but are not immediately involved or physically injured

5 5 Studying of Victimization Scientifically  Subjective Approach –Issues are approached from standpoint of morality, ethics, philosophy, personalized reactions, and emotions  Objective Approach –Requires observer to be fair, open-minded, even-handed, dispassionate, neutral, and unbiased

6 6 Studying of Victimization Scientifically  Why should victimologists NOT be pro- victim?  “Ideal Victim”: person who suffered harm was weaker than aggressor, acting virtuously or not looking for trouble or breaking any laws, and wrongdoer was a stranger acting illegally and was unprovoked

7 7 Victims or Offenders?  Who is the victim and who is the offender?  Not always clear cut—consider the following: –Subway Vigilante –Menendez Brothers –Bobicks

8 8 Criminals as Victims  Predatory persons prey on each other Organized crime “takes out a contract” “Drive-by” shooting between two gangs “Drug deal gone bad”

9 9 Cycle of Violence  Cycle of violence over time can transform a victim(s) into victimizer(s) –Group of picked on students may gang up against the bully –Battered wife may launch a vengeful attack against husband –Convicts much more likely to have been abused physically or sexually as children –Violence Begets Violence

10 10 Victims vs. “Good Guys”  Victimologists do not limit their studies to clashes between victims and offenders  They also consider the social reaction to victimization  Victims outraged by media coverage— sensationalism  Investigation of charges in high profile cases require victimologists to be detached and disinterested in carrying out analysis

11 11 Victimology’s Undeserved “Bad Reputation”  Victimology during the 90s and into the twentieth century has become to many a “dirty word.”  (Paglia, 1993) A critic of contemporary feminism declared on national TV, “I hate victimology. I despise a victim-centered view of the universe…”

12 12 Victimology’s Undeserved “Bad Reputation”  (Leo, 1994) a news magazine commentator complained, “We are deep into the era of the abuse excuse. The doctrine of victimology— claiming victim status means you are not responsible for your actions—is beginning to warp the legal system.”  An author of a book about race relations called a well-known preacher who is a civil rights activist a “professional Victimologist.” (Dreher, 2001)

13 13 Victimology’s Undeserved “Bad Reputation”  (Harrop, 2003) A review of a book noted, “The art of victimology requires three easy steps: (1) Identify a group suffering from real or perceived injustices (2) Exaggerate the problem (3) Blame the problem on a group you don’t like. Conservatives have long condemned the ‘victimology industry’ as a racket, especially when practiced by women and minorities.”

14 14 Victimology’s Undeserved “Bad Reputation”  Victimology is a new academic discipline that only means “the study of” victims  It is focused on the research about people harmed by criminals  It does not impose a partisan point of view or a set or predictably biased conclusions  The ideology of “victimism” is a coherent, integrated set of beliefs that shapes interpretations and leads to political action  Do not confuse “victimism” with “victimology”

15 15 Victimology’s Undeserved “Bad Reputation”  Victimological research must tell the whole truth regardless of who is disappointed or insulted  Three types of biases undermine the ability of any social scientist to achieve objectivity—They include:

16 16 Three Types of Bias 1. May arise from personal experience, taking the form of individual preferences and prejudices 2. Derives from the history of the discipline itself –Pioneers in the study of victimology first introduced the concept of victim-blaming –Today, majority of victimologists are pro-victim

17 17 Three Types of Bias 3.A subtle bias traced back to the mood of the times 60s-70s: a demand for government to devise ways to help victims get back on their feet financially, medically, and emotionally 80s: a theme of self-reliance and a reduction in government social spending and tax cutting gained popularity

18 18 The Origins of Victimology  Box 1.1, Page 14, provides highlights in the brief history of Victimology and Victim Assistance  Significant gains in the United States when the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice urged criminologists to pay more attention to victims

19 19 The Origins of Victimology  By the 70s victimology became a recognized field of study  By 1990, 240 colleges and universities offered courses in victimology  Most states passed crime victim rights amendments to their state constitution  2004—Congress enacts the Crime Victims’ Rights Act which provides for fair treatment and opportunities for input in federal court proceedings

20 20 Victimology vs. Criminology  Victimology is best viewed as an area of specialization within criminology  Criminology embraces the scientific study of crimes, criminals, criminal laws and the justice system, societal reactions, and crime victims

21 21 Victimology vs. Criminology  Criminologists ask why certain individuals become involved in lawbreaking while others do not  Victimologists ask why some individuals, households, and entities are targeted while others are not, and why over and over again

22 22 Victimology vs. Criminology  Criminologists apply their findings to devise crime prevention strategies  Victimologists use patterns and trends to develop victimization prevention strategies and risk-reduction tactics  Both criminologists and victimologists study how the criminal justice system actually works versus how it is supposed to work

23 23 Victimology vs.. Criminology  Boundaries –Boundaries are clear cut for Criminology –Boundaries for Victimology still unclear –Overlap due to lack of boundaries  Crime rates vs. victimization rates

24 24 Divisions Within The Discipline  Political ideologies shape policy recommendations: –Conservative –Liberal –Radical

25 25 Divisions Within The Discipline  Conservative Influence –Focuses on basically street crimes –Everyone to be held accountable for their decisions and actions –Emphasis on self reliance, NOT government –Individual responsibility for preventing, avoiding, resisting and recovering from criminal acts –Strictly punish offenders on behalf of their victims

26 26 Divisions Within The Discipline  Liberal Influence –Scope of field to extend beyond street crimes –Endorse government intervention –Extend ‘safety net’ mechanisms for all kinds of misfortunes –Look to wrongdoers repaying their victims to allow for reconciliation

27 27 Divisions Within The Discipline  Radical/Critical/Conflict Influence –Victimization is a result of oppressive social system –Scope of the field to include:  industrial polluters, hazardous workplaces, fraudulent advertisers, brutally violent law enforcement agencies, poverty, malnutrition, family dysfunction, unemployment and substance abuse; these are social problems of which the CJ system is part of the problem

28 28 What Victimologists Do  Victimologists explore the interactions between victims and offenders, victims and the criminal justice system, and victims and society  Four step process victimologists follow when carrying out their research:

29 29 What Victimologists Do  Step 1: Identify, Define, and Describe the Problem  Step 2: Measure the True Dimensions of the Problem  Step 3: Investigate How Victims Are Handled  Step 4: Gather Evidence to Test Hypotheses

30 30 Chapter One Key Terms VictimVictimizationVictimology Direct/Primary Victims SurvivorsIndirect/ Secondary Victims SubjectiveApproachObjectivity SensationalismVictimismIdeologyCriminology Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Best Practices Just Desserts Bullying MuggabilityRatings Stockholm Syndrome IncidenceRatesPrevalenceRates LifetimeLikelihoodsProfile Needs Assessment


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