What is Victimology?
“Victimology is the systematic study of the role played by the victim in a criminal incident and in the criminal process” (Adler, Mueller, Laufer p. 403). This is far different than the perceived feelings that a law enforcement individual will find when they encounter a dilemma where an offender is taken into custody and misconduct on behalf of law enforcement is seen.
The history of the criminal justice system has for the most part, mainly focused on the offender at best. Today, there seems to be a movement toward restorative justice. These principles involve the offender as well as the victim.
Officers feel victimized because of the pressure of performing their duties when making an arrest and officers may feel victimized as a result of over performance or enforcement of the law. Victimology is totaling centered around the thought that the victim has suffered harm in some kind of way when they are connected to a crime.
A part of recognizing the harm that the victim has suffered in a criminal act is seen in the victim compensation scheme. Victims rarely can sue for loss or harm because they usually cannot afford a lawyer to do so. However, one main concern that seems to affect the victims that are harmed in a criminal act is their inability to report the criminal act to law enforcement.
Some victims refuse to report the crimes against them for various reasons. “Whatever the reasons for nonreporting, without a report the police are virtually powerless.
It is important to deal with the reasons for failure to report” (Adler, Mueller, Laufer p. 403). The National Crime Victim Survey indicates several reasons why victims do not report. The National Crime Victim Survey contains four primary objective: “to develop detailed information about the victims and consequences of crime, to estimate the number and types of crimes not reported to the police.
To provide uniform measures of selected types of crimes, and to permit comparison over time and types of areas” (https://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsweb/NACID/NCVS/).
This date is categorized into property and personal, then calculated to determine crime rates and changes in the data over time. The report is extremely detailed, such as collecting data on the types of crimes, where there weapons used, types of weapons, types of victims, did the victim fight back, where the crime happened and where the victim lived, and so forth. The National Crime Victim Survey provides reports on every level of crime that takes place.
The data from these reports are used to understand the levels of crimes and determine the percentages of the types of crimes. These reports also help determine what impact that crime has had on victims and can help determine recommendations and assistance to victims. It also helps law enforcement to “overcome the obstacles it faces and change how it meets victims’ needs and addresses those who perpetrate crime” (http://ovc.ncjrs.gov/topicaspx/topicid=27).
Law enforcement has to deal with what is known as the dark figure of crime. The dark figure of crime is “the amount of crime which is unreported or unknown, and these do not appear in the criminal statistics” (http://socialogyindex.com/dark-figure-of-crime.htm). This is just a theory that has been developed by the criminal justice system and does not indicate a heinous, sinister character that exists as a result.
When it comes to certain crimes, the crime of date rape is alarming. Ten to twenty five percent of all women will experience date rape in their lifetimes. Men suffer from this crime as well, and drugs for both genders usually involve alcohol or drugs. One amazing facts about rape: they are planned.
“The U.S. Department of Justice surveys of college campuses show that one in 36 women are victims of rapes or attempts of rape each year” (http://gb1.ojp.usdoj.gov/search/q=date+rapes&output=xml_no_dtd&sc). When it comes to reporting date rape, often it is not reported. But law officials still advise counseling and crisis care.
Sexual assault is a violent crime, and should be reported. Date rape is an issue on college campuses today, but usually a small sample of surveys are used to estimate how often it may happen. If an overall larger sample would be taken, it would show how alarming this topic may be.
Encouraging rape victims to come forth can be a challenge. Most of the times, these rapes are performed by someone we may know, these individuals have taken advantage of another through the use of drugs or alcohol. Research shows that 90% of victims never come forward.
As chief of police of a college campus, it is important to let unknown victims that this type of violence is never tolerated by our society through various public relations campaigns. We must increase our awareness of available help through counseling, through psychologists, through doctors, and through social workers available on call and on campus.
Encourage Yourself: Taking away the stigma associated with rape and presenting it as a violent criminal act and not the victims fault can be very helpful. I hope this gives you a better understanding of what victimology is. Share your story below, we are here to help and pray for you.