This paper will evaluate and explain the emergence and development of victimology as a particular field of study, focusing on international impacts of victimology. Firstly, it will define victimology and the concept of victimology, with an explanation of the origin of the study. The emergence and development will be evaluated through focusing on the idea of the victim and then looking at general issues. This paper brings together a theoretic and academic research on the victims of crime. This has come along with a critical perspective on professional practice on a victim of crime.
The emergence of victimology as the primary idea of the victim of crime in the current century will be examined and the scope of the idea explored. This will also be accompanied by theories and applications to crime victimization. Victimology is considered as the study of victimization (Hall, 2012). Victimology is categorized into penal and general victimology. The penal victimology looks directly at the dynamic interplay between the offender and the victim while the general victimology is based on victim assistance and prevention which has been termed as the establishment of victims’ clinic.
In the ancient times, criminal law was a victim-oriented and that they enjoyed having a dominant position in the entire criminal legal system with the shortcomings. At that time some animals and trees were considered to be sacred and cutting or killing them was a criminal offense (Kirchhoff,2010). People were forced to pay high compensations while others underwent rigorous punishment. This was considered as the golden age of victims. Subsequently in the 17th century, with the advent of the French revolution, industrial revolution, and renaissance, it was noticed that there was a change in all walks of life.
At this period, the criminal law became offender oriented, often immeasurable and the suffering of the victim was entirely overlooked due to the misplaced sympathy of the criminal. The victim then became a forgotten man of the criminal justice system (Kirchhoff, 2010). During the 20th century after the second world war, the criminologists took the tasks of understanding the relevance of studying the victim-criminal relationship to obtain a better understanding of the origin of crime, what it might be and its implication in the society.
As a concept, it is difficult to define victimology because it is set differently in varying ways. Victimology is considered as a young branch of academic research used by the criminologists. It aims to gain knowledge about the crime victims and the abuse of power. The aim of studying victimology is to enhance our knowledge and understanding regarding the victims and the impact of crime on them (Walklate,2013). The objective of victimology relates to the issues and meaning of victimology. Therefore, victimization should be considered as the study of crime and their importance to the responsibility and role of the victim and the offenders.
Victimology, therefore, focuses on the victims and their relationship to the crime. This will, therefore, cover two major sub-areas. The one that relates to the scientific study of the nature, connection, and behavior of the offender and the victim while the other relates directly to the administration of justice, restitution and compensation role in the system (Walklate,2013). In a broader sense, victimology, therefore, can be considered as the entire body of knowledge that regards the victims, the efforts of the society to achieve the rights of the victim and victimization. A victim is defined as a natural person who collectively or individually has suffered harm in the period of crime including emotional suffering, mental or physical injury, violations or economic loss that is related to victimization (Fattah, 2000). One can also be considered a victim before the perpetrator is realized or whether it has been reported to the police. This term, victim, also takes into the direct or immediate dependents of the influenced victims have suffered intervening as they try to help the victim or prevention of victimization.
The rapidly developing study of victim-criminal relation has been termed as victimology and has been treated as an integral part of the general problem of crime. Therefore, it has been clear that victimology has aimed at the relationship of the criminal to the victims. The victim has become a forgotten party in the criminal justice system. This has been considered entirely wrong if the people are going to hold on this criticism and maintain it in the current world. Victimology has grown and come of age. The victims, their rights, and needs have been consistently acknowledged in words more than in deeds.
Victimology has been used to investigate between the victim and the offender in crime causation (Walklate, 2012). This has dealt with the process of victimization with much of its attention on the victim-offender. This, therefore, shows that victims are a predominant concern of victimology. They are considered as the central figure in the study of victimology. Victims need their rights, and therefore it is important to provide appropriate assistance to the crime victims through a proper the legal process to reduce inconveniences and protect the victim and ensure their privacy and safety. The concept of the victim today has included any person that experiences hardship, injury or loss due to any cause.
According to this extent, after the second world war, the victim’s plight was seriously considered by the European criminologists, who developed this branch due to the growing concerns for the plight of all crime victims. This included the study of victims including g their relationship with the offenders, their characteristics and the criminal justice system. This is therefore considered different from criminology which is the study of criminal behavior and crime. The process of being a victim involves two dimensions that include societal and individual.
This field has therefore helped in the study of some people as victims of crime and how their lifestyle is affected by being victims of crime (Daigle,2017). This has covered along with many disciplines that include criminal justice, sociology, law, psychology as they try to study the people who are hurt by others and those who hurt others. These include terrorists, bullies, gang leaders, armed robbers, molesters and their victims. As such victimology includes studying the vulnerable groups of people and explores the prevalence of incidences of violence and the perpetrators. It looks at the impact of crime on the victims, the living and working conditions of the affected individuals. In this field, they also look into the victim accidents such as natural disasters, traffic accidents, and house fires.
Victimology also includes the study of victimization that includes the physiological effects on the crime victims, the relationship between the offenders and the victims and the interaction between criminal justice and the victims. These include the courts and the police and other correct officials that are involved. This also covers the connection between the victims and other institutions and social groups such as the social movements and the social media. The dynamic of offender-victim interaction is relevant for a better and clear view of the nature of the crime.
The criminal justice system, in interaction, tend to analyze the victims and the consequences of crimes. This is facilitated by theoretical victimology whereby they focus on data collection, theory formulation, and analysis which help show the variation of victimization and the offender-victim relationships and interactions (Daigle,2017). The interactions have enabled the crime and the crime event. This has been facilitated by the three interfacing roles that include the victim, persecutor and the rescuer. The victim will need a persecutor who victimizes and the process becomes complete when the rescuer saves the persecutor.
This term, abuse of power is an ambiguous and broad concept that is at times argued. For instance, the abuse of power can be between races or states or even economic exploitation of consumers and workers by a large enterprise. The criminal justice system has an important mandate in ensuring that justice is practiced to the victims, with substantial rights and being involved in criminal proceedings. This can only be achieved through education and training professionals of criminal justice on the abuse of power. The abuse of power has also been addressed in the declaration of the United States basic principles of justice. It has also shown that abuse of power or victimization can result from the actions of government under the stated national laws.
The reparation concept that has been used in the establishment of punishment of crime has been largely disregarded in the modern criminal law. The modern state has helped in the welfare of its citizen through the developments in the victimology field. The victims of crime have assumed this as a significant role in a crime. Efforts have been made to provide the victims with restitution and compensation given to the victims as an aim of making good of the loss sustained by the victims. Compensations are done to the victims who have sustained impairment, mental health or physical body injury in the occurrence of a serious crime. The victim’s family or the dependents of the victim have also compensated the loss of their person. The restitution is made by the third party that is responsible for the behavior which may include payment of the harm, return of property, reimbursement of the expenses, the restoration of rights or provision of service to the victim
The theory views the extent of victimology with the perception that the victims can be the initiators of the criminal act in both ways, either actively or passively. These criminal acts hence lead to injury. The theory also focuses on the idea that passive influence of violence is due to struggle of leadership or power (Kirchhoff, 2010). For instance, a leader may feel jeopardized by a group of activists for his actions that bring some negative aspects. This may lead to their leadership being threatened and at a point losing power in the society. Such passive precipitation can occur without the knowledge of the victim that there is an attacker.
Inactive precipitation, victimization occurs through proactive or threatening performances of the victim. There is one controversial point in the theory, for instance, the feminine group that is mostly raped, is considered to have actively contributed in a way either by proactive dressing or a suggestive consent of intimacy. Therefore, it is definitely difficult to convict that a rapist who was in a close relation with the victim of the incident.
In this theory it is suggested that the victims of crime are targeted on the basis of their life style choices. This depends on how they expose themselves to the offenders and how suitable it is for the wrong doers. For instance, going out in the night alone, being promiscuous, doing drugs and alcohol abuse, living in risk areas in the town or urban centers, and associating with people that are well identified as felons. In addition, the theory suggests that victimization does not happen at random but is a part of the lifestyle that an offender can easily pursue. This theory has also cited that the personality traits have also been considered as contributors to the law violators (Kirchhoff,2010). The behaviors and personality of an individual can contribute to their victimization since they are the cause of putting them into risks of being victimized more than their counterparts that choose a suitable lifestyle which is protective and conservative.
For this theory, it states that if an individual is at a greater exposure to crime, they are likely to be victims. Unlike the precipitation theory, there is no active or passive influence by the victim but a rather victimized by being in dangerous areas. To reduce the victimization chances, the individual should, therefore, ensure that they are not in the dangerous areas where the rate of victimization is high. Some parts of Los Angeles for instance, are known for increased crime rate with notorious gangs. This theory, therefore, suggests that it’s good to take safety precautions in the areas that are highly victimized.
The theory has tried to explain the victimization rate in a set of circumstances that tend to reflect their day to day activities (Kirchhoff,2010). The fact that there is a suitable target motivated offenders and absence of capable guardians, these factors create higher risks of victimization. For instance, a person leaving home during vacation creates suitable target due to more motivated criminals. Every theory discussed above has varying negatives and positives, contention points and controversies as they try to explain how each can be victimized. With an understanding of the patterns of these theories, one can be able to handle victims. This is therefore related to victimology wish includes research on the victim and patterns of protecting the victim.
As new laws and new programs evolve, some have proved to be effective while some have proved to be not. In the search for these new laws and programs, the victims have been treated in response to a declaration, with respect and compassion for their dignity, as a mechanism of justice and informed rights (Daigle,2017). The victims have their rights to the scope and their role, progress of proceedings, timing and disposition of their cases through the legal process. They have to have their privacy and insured safety in the laws and programs that facilitate their practices and rights. The laws and programs have facilitated law enforcement, prosecution, corrections and judiciary with promising practices to the victims.
Some international efforts have been considered by the world society of victimology. These include lobbying to convert the United States declaration principles into a convention. This has been considered effective in the sense that it will enhance the implementation of the principles that are embodied across the globe from the original declaration. Some countries have become a leader in the victimology field. They have produced program models in the areas of laws, services, research, and education (Walklate,2012). For instance, the USA offices have serviced people through producing documents, funding host and research conferences in the field of victimology. Great Britain has had a significant number of innovative practices in the victimology field and crime incidents such as the concept of reparations(compensation). Japan, Netherlands, and Canada are also some of the countries that have had a wide variety of victim service programs and international symposiums on victimology.
Innovative use is being used to bring up certain techniques such as probation so s to give relief to the members. For instance, an offender may be released in appropriate circumstances if they are willing to compensate the crime victims. In other conditions, where the offender is guilty, efforts have been made to bring the wrongdoer and the victim together to lead them to an adjustment or agreement for the restoration of losses incurred by the victim
Feminists perspectives in victimology have had a great impact on the general understanding of women as both victims and perpetrators. The relationship between victimology and feminists has shown why prostitution poses a problem for feminism. Feminist writers in the field of victimology have been quick to point out on biological and physiological nature of women that are likely to be victims of crime as compared to their counterparts. The women are likely to succumb to crimes such as domestic violence and assaults among many more crimes (Hall, 2012). They have also argued that the criminal justice system has neglected the victimization of women.
Much of the work that has been examined about the impact of victimology on parenting has focused on female victims. Female victims have had spousal violence than their male counterparts. The female victims have impacted the success of victimology development. They have contributed to the development of victimology in crime trends through increasing the development of victim blaming and victim rights with a critical contribution to the research and understanding of crime and justice for the victim.
Crime prevention is the range of strategies that can be implemented to reduce the risks of crime and victimization. There are a variety of approaches that differ regarding the type of activities and the theory behind those activities and the mechanism to be applied (Morosavva et., al 2012). Understanding the various models of crime prevention are necessary for supporting the specific crime prevention. These include environmental, physical and urban planning activities that aim at reducing the opportunities for crime to occur. The environmental approaches seek to change certain characteristics that may cause criminal event occurrence. Situational crime prevention is based on aims and opportunistic to change contextual factors that regulate the offenders to be involved in the criminal acts.
The basic purpose of victimology is to protect the human rights and also maintain peace around the world. Therefore, improvement of humanity through protecting the rights of the victims is an international calling development of peace. Through proper implementation of laws and formation of separate law should speed justice. The states must counterbalance the suffering of the victims. This would be a great initiative in a reduction of crime, hence controlling the status of victims through the developed subject of victimology internationally.
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