2 Constructing a Victim Profile Forensic victimology is concerned with the investigation and examination of particular victims alleged to have suffered specific crimes, which is an idiographic form of knowledge building.Idiographic refers to the study of the concrete: examining individuals and their actual qualities.An idiographic victim profile is a list of the characteristics possessed by a specific victim.This includes physical, biological, mental, social, educational, occupational, and personality descriptors.
3 Constructing a Victim Profile Nomothetic refers to the study of the abstract: examining groups and universal laws.The primary goal of nomothetic victim studies is to accumulate general, typical, common, or averaged characteristics of victim groups.Nomothetic victim profiles, therefore, do not represent an actual victim that exists in the real world.
4 The Purpose of Victim Profiles Forensic victimologists serve investigations and court proceedings in the following ways:Assist in understanding elements of the crimeAssist in developing a timelineDefine the suspect poolProvide investigative suggestionsAssist with crime reconstructionAssist with contextualizing allegations of victimizationAssist with the development of offender modus operandi
5 The Purpose of Victim Profiles Continued:Assist with the development of offender motiveAssist with case linkageAssist with public safety responseEducate the courtForensic victimology is intended to serve both investigative and forensic goals, which are very different in scope and reliability with respect to findings.
6 Standards of PraticePractice standards are the fundamental rules that set the limits of evidentiary interpretation.The following practice standards are designed to help reduce bias, encourage the employment of analytical logic and the scientific method, and require the formation of hypotheses and conclusions only in accordance with the known evidence.Forensic examiners must strive diligently to avoid bias.Forensic examiners are responsible for requesting all relevant evidence and information in order to render an adequate victim profile and form related opinions.
7 Standards of PraticeForensic examiners are responsible for determining whether the evidence they are examining is of sufficient quality to provide the basis for an adequate examination.Forensic examiners must, whenever possible, visit the crime scene.Forensic conclusions, and their basis, must be provided in a written format.Forensic examiners must demonstrate an understanding of behavioral science, forensic science, and the scientific method.All conclusions must be based on established facts. Facts may not be assumed for the purpose of analysis..
8 Standards of PraticeConclusions must be valid inferences based on logical arguments and analytical reasoning.Conclusions must be reached with the assistance of the scientific method.Conclusions must demonstrate an understanding of, and clearly distinguish between, individuating findings and all others.Forensic examiners must demonstrate an understanding of the conditions of transfer (Locard’s Exchange Principle and Evidence Dynamics).Any evidence, data, or findings on which conclusions are based must be made available through presentation or citation..
9 Victimology: General Guidelines The following objective packages must be gathered and assessed by the criminal investigator and forensic victimologist alike, as with any intelligence.Personal PackageDigital PackageResidence PackageRelationship PackageEmployment PackageFinancial PackageMedical PackageCourt Package.
10 Victimology: General Guidelines Personal PackageSexRaceHeightWeightHair color/length/dyedEyes: color/glasses/contactsClothing/jewelryPersonal itemsGrooming/manner of dressSmoker or non-smokerHobbies/skillsRoutine daily activities and commitmentsRecently scheduled eventsUpcoming scheduled events.
11 Victimology: General Guidelines Digital PackageCall phone: calls, chats, address book, GPS, photos, videoLaptop/desktop: , calls, chats, documents, address books, browser history, photos, videoPersonal Web sites: recent browser history, social network and social media activity, blogs, dating Web site, and other personal subscription Web sitesFinancial Web sites/payment history: stocks, mutual funds/401K, credit cards, and online bankingPersonal GPS device: recent trips, destinations, bookmarked points of interest.
12 Victimology: General Guidelines Residence PackagePhysical home addressLocation/condition of bedroomEvidence of music/literature/personal interestsPersonal correspondencePersonal sexual items/explicit materialMissing itemsSigns of violenceLocation/condition of personal vehicleHard line phone calls911 calls and criminal history of residence.
13 Victimology: General Guidelines Relationship PackageCurrent and previous intimate or marital partner(s)Current and previous family membersCurrent and previous household membersCurrent and previous friendsCurrent and previous co-workers/classmatesHistory of relationship counseling.
15 Victimology: General Guidelines Financial PackageWallet/Purse: contents, cards, personal itemsCredit cards/historyBank accounts/historyProperty ownershipStocks/mutual funds/410K/retirement benefitsInsurance policies.
16 Victimology: General Guidelines Medical PackageCurrent state of intoxication (drug and alcohol levels)Current medical conditions (physical and mental)History of serious medical conditionsCurrent medicationsCurrent treatment regimesCurrent treatment professionalsRecent medical appointmentsAddictions (drugs, alcohol, or obsessive behavior).
17 Victimology: General Guidelines Court PackageCriminal historyCivil court historyWitness historyIn-state and out-of-state recordsEvidence of victim criminal activity during the crimeEvidence of ongoing victim criminal activity unrelated to the crime.
18 Victimology: General Guidelines These packages should be used to complete the following tasks:Compile a list of the victim’s daily routines, habits, and activitiesCompile a complete list of victim family members with contact informationCompile a complete list of victim friends with contact informationCompile a complete list of victim coworkers/schoolmates with contact informationCreate a timeline of events using witness statements, digital evidence, and physical evidence..
19 Creating a Timeline: The Last 24 Hours The purpose of creating a timeline is to familiarize the forensic victimologist with the last known activities of the victim.A good approach to creating this timeline of locations and events includes at least the following steps:Compile all witness dataCompile all available forensic evidence and findingsCompile all of the police/media crime scene photographs and videoCompile all security stills and video covering the crime scene and any paths taken by the victim or offender to or from it.
20 Creating a Timeline: The Last 24 Hours Continued:Create a linear timeline of events and locationsCreate a map of the victim’s route for the 24 hours before the attack, as detailed as possiblePhysically walk through the victim’s last 24 hours using the map and forensic evidence as a guideDocument expected background elements of the route..
21 Creating a Timeline: The Last 24 Hours Then, attempt to determine the following:The point at which the offender acquired the victimThe place where the offender attacked the victimHow well the attack location can be seen from any surrounding locationsWhether the offender would need to be familiar with the area to know of this specific location or get to itWhether knowledge of the route would require or indicate prior surveillanceWhether this route placed the victim at higher or lower exposure to an attackWhether the acquisition of the victim on that route placed the offender at higher or lower exposure to identification or apprehension.