Criminal Justice Course Spotlight: Victimology
Much can be learned about criminal minds and motives from studying, yes, the criminals themselves, but also their victims.
This study is known as Victimology.
Wayne Pretherick, Associate Professor of Criminology at Bond University in Australia writes, “Victimology is important in the overall investigative process because it not only tells us who the victims were, their health and personal history, social habits and personality, but also provides ideas as to why they were chosen as victims.”
Among victim profiles — physical traits, personal lifestyle, occupation, friends and enemies and more — answering simple questions about the victims of a crime can answer a lot of bigger questions. Some of these questions include:
- Why was this particular person targeted?
- Is there a connection between all of the victims in a certain string of crimes?
- What risks did the offender have to take to commit this crime?
- How does it seem the victim reacted to this attack?
- And more.
Victimology also looks into the ways that victims are cared for in the aftermath of a crime, and how those in law enforcement and other agencies can best serve them to make them feel not only comfortable, but also safe.
Victims may need many levels of support: perhaps to visit a doctor, social worker, counseling, even space. It is not easy for a person to recount a traumatic experience. There are many concerns that surround victims of a crime, and often, they can become “twice victimized” through the ways in which they are treated by the system set up to help them.
Alvernia Criminal Justice Course Victimology (CJ 285) looks into current policies, trends, theories, and programs for dealing with the victims of crime and their family or survivors. Students will also study specialized responses to victims of violence as well as the etiology of victimization.