Victimology an Overview and Definition

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Victomology is loosely defined as the scientific study of the relationship between perpetrator and victim although it does not just describe the relationship between the victim of a crime and the criminal but can also describe any human rights violations. Most often though the term is used to describe the victim of a crime and the person who perpetrated that crime. Victimology may be an interesting field of study but still has many unchartered areas and agreement on the exact terms or definition of victimology is still somewhat under debate.

Victimologists would be considered researchers, investigators or observers of people that have been victimized and what happens to them not only physically but emotionally. Most often the victim of a crime feels responsible for the violation they have suffered as if they asked for this situation to befall them. Psychological problems top the list when it comes to the aftermath of a crime as far as the victim is concerned most often the victim will have feelings of fear, anxiety, shame, self-blame and will also suffer some form of sleeping problem. Victims of a crime may also experience some/all of the following psychological reactions to what they experienced:

Seeing the world as meaningless or incomprehensible

They believe that their own vulnerability has increased

They may view themselves in a more negative way

It is also possible for victims to develop post traumatic stress disorder and for those who may have already had an emotionally based problem the effects could be even higher. With so many areas of victimology yet undiscovered and explored there of course are many controversies over the terms used to describe the characteristics between victim and criminal, one of the most controversial to-date is the term “victim proneness” which coincides with the environmental theory that the victim and the context of the crime are what bring the victim and the criminal together at the opportune time.

It is believed, and not altogether wrongly, that the victim themselves can tell investigators a lot about the perpetrator of a crime. The victims life may very well be scrutinized as to who they were, their physical condition, their social habits, personalities and possibly even their own personal histories as this delving into the victims lives may indeed lead investigators to the criminal or at least tell investigators why the victim was chosen and perhaps what sort of victims the criminal may target in the future if not caught immediately.

In conclusion the term “victimology” can be loosely defined as the study of the victims of a crime and by dissecting the victims life investigators may find clues as to who the criminal is and why they had chosen this particular victim and what type of victim may be chosen for a future crime.

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