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Forensic Victimology 2nd Edition

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1 Forensic Victimology 2nd Edition
Chapter Four: Constructing a Victim Profile

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 crime Assist in developing a timeline Define the suspect pool Provide investigative suggestions Assist with crime reconstruction Assist with contextualizing allegations of victimization Assist with the development of offender modus operandi

5 The Purpose of Victim Profiles
Continued: Assist with the development of offender motive Assist with case linkage Assist with public safety response Educate the court Forensic 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 Pratice Practice 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 Pratice Forensic 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 Pratice Conclusions 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 Package Digital Package Residence Package Relationship Package Employment Package Financial Package Medical Package Court Package .

10 Victimology: General Guidelines
Personal Package Sex Race Height Weight Hair color/length/dyed Eyes: color/glasses/contacts Clothing/jewelry Personal items Grooming/manner of dress Smoker or non-smoker Hobbies/skills Routine daily activities and commitments Recently scheduled events Upcoming scheduled events .

11 Victimology: General Guidelines
Digital Package Call phone: calls, chats, address book, GPS, photos, video Laptop/desktop: , calls, chats, documents, address books, browser history, photos, video Personal Web sites: recent browser history, social network and social media activity, blogs, dating Web site, and other personal subscription Web sites Financial Web sites/payment history: stocks, mutual funds/401K, credit cards, and online banking Personal GPS device: recent trips, destinations, bookmarked points of interest .

12 Victimology: General Guidelines
Residence Package Physical home address Location/condition of bedroom Evidence of music/literature/personal interests Personal correspondence Personal sexual items/explicit material Missing items Signs of violence Location/condition of personal vehicle Hard line phone calls 911 calls and criminal history of residence .

13 Victimology: General Guidelines
Relationship Package Current and previous intimate or marital partner(s) Current and previous family members Current and previous household members Current and previous friends Current and previous co-workers/classmates History of relationship counseling .

14 Victimology: General Guidelines
Employment Package Educational background and history Current occupations/job titles Place of employment/work schedule/supervisor/coworkers Employment history Work phone: calls, chats, address book, GPS, video Laptop/desktop: , calls, chats, documents, address books, browser history, photos, video Business GPS device: recent trips, destinations, bookmarked points of interest Business vehicle: logs, travel (times/destinations), GPS device Business insurance policies .

15 Victimology: General Guidelines
Financial Package Wallet/Purse: contents, cards, personal items Credit cards/history Bank accounts/history Property ownership Stocks/mutual funds/410K/retirement benefits Insurance policies .

16 Victimology: General Guidelines
Medical Package Current state of intoxication (drug and alcohol levels) Current medical conditions (physical and mental) History of serious medical conditions Current medications Current treatment regimes Current treatment professionals Recent medical appointments Addictions (drugs, alcohol, or obsessive behavior) .

17 Victimology: General Guidelines
Court Package Criminal history Civil court history Witness history In-state and out-of-state records Evidence of victim criminal activity during the crime Evidence 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 activities Compile a complete list of victim family members with contact information Compile a complete list of victim friends with contact information Compile a complete list of victim coworkers/schoolmates with contact information Create 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 data Compile all available forensic evidence and findings Compile all of the police/media crime scene photographs and video Compile 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 locations Create a map of the victim’s route for the 24 hours before the attack, as detailed as possible Physically walk through the victim’s last 24 hours using the map and forensic evidence as a guide Document 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 victim The place where the offender attacked the victim How well the attack location can be seen from any surrounding locations Whether the offender would need to be familiar with the area to know of this specific location or get to it Whether knowledge of the route would require or indicate prior surveillance Whether this route placed the victim at higher or lower exposure to an attack Whether the acquisition of the victim on that route placed the offender at higher or lower exposure to identification or apprehension .

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