BY Preeti Shah | July 06, 2022
Crime has existed for ages, and no one can eradicate its occurrence. However, how it is handled has a lot to do with minimizing its occurrence in the future.
So, what is the unique method that must be incorporated into the present crime handling process?
It is victimology.
It helps criminologists focus not only on criminals but also on the victims of crime, who are often neglected. These people are deeply affected physically, emotionally, and financially, and no one listens to their side of the story. It sometimes also happens due to the celebrity status of the criminals, who easily curb their voices.
This article will focus on how focusing on victims and ensuring their point of view is considered in the criminal justice study can benefit law enforcement.
Criminology is the study of crime, and its primary purpose is to analyze how criminal activity occurred and the reason behind its occurrence. This study helps you come across several theories related to the cause of people committing crimes and preventive measures that policymakers can implement to discourage them from doing so. Also, with time ideas to control crimes keep evolving due to a better understanding of human psychology.
Most of the time, the focus is only on the people who commit the crime, which is only half part of the whole incident.
So, what is the other half that goes ignored?
The other half involves the victim(s) of the criminal incident.
Though all crimes might not have tangible victims, violent crimes do have.
To know more about the impact of the crime on the victim, a subset of criminology called victimology came into the picture.
It views crime from a different perspective and involves the study of the relationship between the victim and culprit, the victim’s role in the offense, and the justice system. Its focus is not restricted to individual or national victims but also considers human rights abuse victims at an international level.
Victimology focuses on the victims and supports them. It is based on the idea that the best way to address crime is to focus on healing rather than punishing.
Though the victim of any crime needs proper care and justice, a few categories need to be handled with more respect. These are:
Older people are more prone to crimes as they are physically not strong. Compared to India, this category is more prone to crimes in western countries as they live separately from their children, thereby facing physical insecurity. Also, they are mentally not strong enough to bear the after-effects of the crime and hence require special attention and care.
Children are very sensitive, and those victims of violence and sexual abuse require extra attention. Special measures are taken to minimize the need for cross-examination of the child to protect the child from undesirable consequences of testimony in the court or police station.
Severe offenses against women, such as rape, have been on the rise worldwide. The court proceedings are offensive, just like the crime leading to the emotional and psychological breakdown of the victim. Several times victim is treated as the culprit and of immoral character. Measures need to be taken to reduce the suffering of such victims.
Members belonging to minorities are vulnerable to crimes arising due to political factors or socio-economic mismatch. Several communal riots occur annually, and the primary sufferers are people of weaker sections. There is a meager possibility of legal action against the criminals and protecting these people's rights.
Criminologists need to communicate with people and communities affected by crime. To study the matter effectively, good communication skills are a must. Victimology helps train professionals to view the criminal incident from a different perspective, communicate better, and gain the victims' trust.
Law enforcement professionals dealing with victims of crime must acknowledge and listen to victims politely, especially domestic violence or sexual assault victims. If special care is given to these victims trust factor of the society in law enforcement increases leading to better handling of the case.
Victimology follows a holistic approach. It helps to understand why a specific category of victims is targeted by criminals and prevents them from becoming criminals if they have faced injustice from the system.
Criminology focuses primarily on criminals, their social background study, the reason behind criminal behaviour, punishment methods, crime prevention methods, etc. The victims are often neglected and need protection, rehabilitation, and compensation in a dignified way.
Victimology has gained importance over the past few decades, yet a lot needs to be done in this area. There is a lack of knowledge regarding the direct or indirect effects of crimes on the victims.
Prosecuting criminals for their illegal acts is a must, and at the same time, giving attention to victims’ well-being cannot be ignored. It has given rise to the demand for trained professionals and educational programs focusing specifically on victimology to support the judicial system. It helps empower advocates in guiding victims about their legal rights and helps them in their healing process.
If you want to be a part of the next generation of criminologists, this is the field for you. As a victimologist, you will not only study the actions and behaviors of the offenders but learn to visualize crime from the victims’ perspective, its effect on them, and how their family deals with their loss.
Sherlock Institute of Forensic Science's offline and online postgraduate diploma program in Criminology and Victimology best suits forensic and criminal justice professionals passionate about victims’ rights.
You will find short-term and long-term specialized training under this category that you can select per your needs. You will become aware of how to support and protect victims and how you can contribute to reducing the occurrence of criminal incidents.