Victimology – What Is It?

By SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

The Science of VICTIMOLOGY

Pronounced: vic·tim·ol·o·gy

Introduction

Victimology is the study of the victims of crime and the psychological effects on them resulting from their experience. “specialists in victimology will study how best to help the victims of crime recover” and what causes vulnerability to crime.

Victimology is considered a science. It is a branch of criminology that scientifically studies the relationship between an injured party and an offender by examining the causes and the nature of the consequent suffering.

Victimology is also an aspect or sub-discipline of Sociology, Psychology, and Social Anthropology.

Victimologists use the scientific method to conduct research on a variety of topics related to victimization, such as:

  • The characteristics of victims
  • The causes of victimization
  • The consequences of victimization
  • The criminal justice system’s response to victims
  • The role of society in preventing victimization
  • How to support victims and promote recovery

Victimology is a relatively young field of study, but it has grown rapidly in recent decades. This growth is due in part to the increasing recognition of the importance of victims in the criminal justice system and the need to better understand the impact of victimization on individuals and society.

Some of the key figures in the development of victimology include:

  • Benjamin Mendelsohn (1902-1976), who is considered the “father of victimology”
  • Hans von Hentig (1889-1974), who developed the concept of victim precipitation
  • Menachem Amir (1927-2018), who conducted pioneering research on the victim-offender relationship
  • Klaus Sessar (born 1942), who is considered one of the leading victimologists in Europe

In the study of cybercrime or scam victimology, key figures include:

  • Monica Whitty
  • Casandra Cross
  • Tom Sorell

Today, victimology is a thriving field of study with a wide range of applications. Victimologists work in a variety of settings, including universities, law enforcement agencies, victim advocacy organizations (such as SCARS,) and the criminal justice system. They use their research to inform policy decisions, develop victim services, and improve the criminal justice system’s response to victims.

Victimology Helps To Guide & Inform Victim Support

Victimology can be used to help support crime victims in a number of ways.

For example, victimologists can:

  • Identify the needs of crime victims. Victimologists can conduct research to better understand the physical, emotional, and financial needs of crime victims. This information can then be used to develop and improve victim services.
  • Develop and improve victim services. Victimologists can work with victim service providers to develop and improve programs and services that meet the needs of crime victims. This includes providing counseling, financial assistance, and other support services.
  • Educate the public about victim rights and services. Victimologists can educate the public about the rights of crime victims and the services that are available to them. This can help to ensure that crime victims are aware of the resources that are available to them and that they are able to access those resources.
  • Influence public policy. Victimologists can use their research to inform public policy decisions that affect crime victims. This includes advocating for policies that improve the criminal justice system’s response to victims, provide financial assistance to victims, and create a more supportive environment for crime victims.

Overall, victimology plays a very important role in helping to support crime victims. By identifying the needs of victims, developing and improving victim services, educating the public, and influencing public policy, victimologists can help to ensure that crime victims receive the support they need to recover from their victimization.

Here are some specific examples of how victimology has been used to help support crime victims:

  • Victimologists have conducted research that has shown that crime victims often experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This research has led to the development of new treatment programs for PTSD that are specifically designed for crime victims.
  • Victimologists have worked with law enforcement agencies to develop victim notification systems such as VINE. These systems allow victims to be kept informed about the progress of their case and the release of the offender.
  • Victimologists have worked with victim service providers to develop programs that help victims to rebuild their lives after a crime – this is what SCARS does.
  • Victimologists have lobbied for legislation that provides assistance to crime victims, such as the VOCA Victims of Crime Act and others. This legislation has helped to ensure that victims have the resources they need to recover from their victimization.

Victimology is making a significant contribution to the support of crime victims. By continuing to research the needs of victims and develop new and innovative ways to help them, victimologists can make a real difference in the lives of those who have been affected by crime.

Victimology & Psychology

Victimology and psychology should be combined to create crime victim recovery programs.

  • Victimology provides an understanding of the impact of crime on victims. Victimologists study the physical, emotional, and financial effects of crime on victims. This information can be used by psychologists to develop treatment programs that address the specific needs of crime victims.
  • Psychology provides tools for understanding and treating the psychological effects of crime. Psychologists have developed a number of techniques for understanding and treating the psychological effects of trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These techniques can be used to help crime victims recover from the emotional and psychological impact of their victimization.
  • Victimology and psychology can work together to develop comprehensive crime victim recovery programs. These programs can combine counseling, support groups, and other services to help crime victims heal from their victimization and rebuild their lives.

Here are some examples:

Crime victim recovery programs are an important part of the overall criminal justice process. They help victims to heal from their victimization and to rebuild their lives. By combining victimology and psychology, these programs can provide victims with the support they need to recover from crime.

Victimology Is Built Into SCARS

At the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams, Dr. McGuinness is SCARS lead victimologist, but both Vianey Gonzalez and Lydia Zagorova are also victimologists.

VICTIMOLOGY IS A SIGNIFICANT AREA OF STUDY AND APPLICATION WITHIN SCARS SINCE ITS FOUNDING.

SCARS understands scam victims and combines our knowledge of victimology, criminology, trauma-informed care, grief counseling, sociology, and anthropology to assist crime victims through their post-crime experience.

In addition. SCARS bases its work on the leading research of criminologists, victimologists, psychologists, sociologists, and allied fields in our work by staying up to date on the research and published work of the leading professionals in the field. SCARS Team members have also published in research journals and are contributing to the overall body of knowledge about victims, supporting them, and their recovery.

How Can You Tell A Victimology Professional From An Amateur

Strangely, this is something that is relatively unique to the world of scam victims.

Here are some ways to tell a victimology professional from an amateur:

  • Education and Training: A victimology professional will have a degree in victimology or a related field, such as criminology, social work, criminal justice, psychology, sociology, anthropology, etc. They will also have received specialized training in victimology, such as through internships or workshops.
  • Experience: A victimology professional will have experience working with crime victims. This experience may include working in a victim service organization (such as SCARS,) law enforcement, the criminal justice system, or related professional fields.
  • Knowledge of Victimology: A victimology professional will have a deep knowledge of victimology. This knowledge will include an understanding of the causes of victimization, the impact of victimization on victims, and the services available to victims.
  • Skills in Working with Victims: A victimology professional will have the skills necessary to work with victims. These skills may include counseling, crisis intervention, victims’ assistance, and advocacy.
  • Professionalism: A victimology professional will be professional in their interactions with victims. This includes being respectful, confidential, and empathetic; and following established standards and codes of conduct.

These factors listed above can give you a good indication of someone’s level of expertise in victimology or their lack of it.

If you are seeking help from a victim’s services provider, it is important to ask about their understanding of victimology and about their education, training, experience, and knowledge of victimology. You should also feel comfortable asking questions about their approach to working with victims. By doing your research, you can be sure that you are getting the help you need from a qualified professional.

How To Learn More About Victimology

There are many ways to learn more about victimology. Here are a few ideas:

  • Take Courses in Victimology. There are many undergraduate and graduate courses offered in victimology at universities and colleges around the world. These courses can provide you with a comprehensive overview of the field of victimology.
  • Read Books and Articles about victimology. There are many books and articles written about victimology. These resources can provide you with more in-depth information about specific topics in victimology.
  • Attend Conferences and Workshops on Victimology. There are many conferences and workshops held on victimology throughout the year. These events can provide you with the opportunity to learn from experts in the field and to network with other people who are interested in victimology.
  • Volunteer with a Victim Service Organization such as SCARS. Volunteering with a victim assistance provider or service organization is a great way to learn about the needs of crime victims and get involved in the field of victimology.
  • Work in a Field Related to Victimology. There are many jobs that relate to victimology, such as social work, criminal justice, and law. Working in a field related to victimology can give you the opportunity to apply your knowledge of victimology in a practical setting.

No matter how you choose to learn more about victimology, you will be making a valuable contribution to the field. By understanding the impact of crime on victims and the challenges they face, you can help to improve the lives of crime victims and to make our communities safer.

PLEASE NOTE: Psychology Clarification

The following specific modalities within the practice of psychology are restricted to psychologists appropriately trained in the use of such modalities:

  • Diagnosis: The diagnosis of mental, emotional, or brain disorders and related behaviors.
  • Psychoanalysis: Psychoanalysis is a type of therapy that focuses on helping individuals to understand and resolve unconscious conflicts.
  • Hypnosis: Hypnosis is a state of trance in which individuals are more susceptible to suggestion. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety, depression, and pain.
  • Biofeedback: Biofeedback is a type of therapy that teaches individuals to control their bodily functions, such as heart rate and blood pressure. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including stress, anxiety, and pain.
  • Behavioral analysis: Behavioral analysis is a type of therapy that focuses on changing individuals’ behaviors. It is often used to treat conditions such as autism and ADHD.
    Neuropsychology: Neuropsychology is a type of psychology that focuses on the relationship between the brain and behavior. It is often used to assess and treat cognitive impairments caused by brain injuries or diseases.

SCARS and the members of the SCARS Team do not engage in any of the above modalities in relationship to scam victims. SCARS is not a mental healthcare provider and recognizes the importance of professionalism and separation between its work and that of the licensed practice of psychology.

SCARS is an educational provider of generalized self-help information that individuals can use for their own benefit to achieve their own goals related to emotional trauma. SCARS recommends that all scam victims see professional counselors or therapists to help them determine the suitability of any specific information or practices that may help them.

SCARS cannot diagnose or treat any individuals, nor can it state the effectiveness of any educational information that it may provide, regardless of its experience in interacting with traumatized scam victims over time. All information that SCARS provides is purely for general educational purposes to help scam victims become aware of and better understand the topics and to be able to dialog with their counselors or therapists.

It is important that all readers understand these distinctions and that they apply the information that SCARS may publish at their own risk, and should do so only after consulting a licensed psychologist or mental healthcare provider.

Opinions

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of the Society of Citizens Against Rleationship Scams Inc. The author is solely responsible for the content of their work. SCARS is protected under the Communications Decency Act (CDA) section 230 from liability.

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