The nature and extent of victimization is not adequately understood across the world. Millions of people throughout the world suffer harm as a result of crime, the abuse of power, terrorism and other stark misfortunes. Their rights and needs as victims of this harm have not been adequately recognized. The UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power in 1985. This provides a universal benchmark by which progress can be assessed in meeting the needs of victims of crime and abuse of power.
Much progress has been made since 1985 primarily by governments in Western Europe, North America and elsewhere. They have implemented programmes and laws to give effect to those basic principles but even in affluent countries much work remains. Additional resources are needed everywhere especially for countries that are developing and in transition.
The convention on transnational organized crime includes a specific section to protect the rights of victims as does the optional protocol on trafficking.
By June, 2005, 99 nations had already ratified the Statute of Rome that establishes a permanent International Criminal Court which gives effect to the principles in the Declaration. The rights of the victims of crime and abuse of power are still not adequately recognized in any part of the world. Their families, witnesses and others, who aid them, are still unjustly subjected to loss, damage or injury. They too often suffer hardship when assisting in the prosecution of offenders.
The recent UN Congress in Bangkok also drew attention to the victims of terrorism. Victims of stark misfortunes such as natural disasters, accidents and diseases share similar trauma, loss and suffering. Services to meet the needs of victims have much in common between victims of crime, abuse of power and stark misfortunes. Action must be taken to advance research, services and awareness for victims across the world. This requires persons committed to these ideals, better services, more research, innovative education and training and continued advocacy and rights. It requires a process of assessing progress and acting to make the necessary improvements.
I. HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF VICTIMOLOGY
A. The Early Roots
The word “victim” has its roots in many ancient languages that covered a great distance from northwestern Europe to the southern tip of Asia and yet had a similar linguistic pattern: victima in Latin; víh, wéoh, wíg in Old European; wíh, wíhi in Old High German; vé in Old Norse; weihs in Gothic; and, vinak ti in Sanskrit (Webster’s 1971).
Victimology as an academic term contains two elements:
• One is the Latin word “Victima” which translates into “victim”. • The other is the Greek word “logos” which means a system of knowledge, the direction of something abstract, the direction of teaching, science, and a discipline. Although writings about the victim appeared in many early works by such criminologists as Beccaria (1764), Lombroso (1876), Ferri (1892), Garófalo (1885), Sutherland (1924), Hentig (1948), Nagel (1949), Ellenberger (1955), Wolfgang (1958) and Schafer (1968), the concept of a science to study victims and the word “victimology” had its origin with the early writings of Beniamin Mendelsohn (1937; 1940), these leading to his seminal work where he actually proposed the term “victimology” in his article “A New Branch of Bio-Psycho-Social Science, Victimology” (1956).
It was in this article that he suggested the establishment of an international society of victimology which has come to fruition with the creation of the World Society of Victimology, the establishment of a number of victimological institutes (including the creation in Japan of the Tokiwa International Victimology Institute); and, the establishment of international journals which are now also a part of this institute. Mendelsohn provided us with his victimology vision and blueprint; and, as his disciples we have followed his guidance. We now refer to Mendelsohn as “The Father of Victimology”.
B. Critical Dates in Victimology
• 1924 Edwin Sutherland includes a chapter on victims in his criminology textbook. • 1937 Beniamin Mendelsohn publishes his writings on the rapist and his victim. • 1941 Hans von Hentig publishes article on victim and criminal interactions. • 1947 Beniamin Mendelsohn coins the term “victimology” in a French journal. • 1948 Hans von Hentig publishes his book The Criminal and His Victim. • 1949 Frederic Wertham first used the word “victimology” in a book Show of Violence. • 1957 Margery Fry proposes victim compensation in the London Times. • 1958 Marvin Wolfgang studies homicide victims; uses the term “victim precipitation”. • 1963 New Zealand enacts the first Criminal Compensation Act. • 1965 California is the first state in the USA to start Victim Compensation. • 1966 Japan enacts Criminal Indemnity Law.
• 1966 USA starts to survey crime victims not reported to the police • 1967 Canada creates a Criminal Compensation Injuries Act as does Cuba and Switzerland. • 1968 Stephan Schafer writes the first victimology textbook The Victim and His Criminal. • 1972 The first three victim assistance programmes are created in St. Louis, Missouri, San Francisco, California and in Washington, D. C. • 1973 the first international symposium on victimology is held in Jerusalem, Israel. • 1974 the first police-based victim advocate project started in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. • 1975 The first “Victim Rights’ Week” is organized by the Philadelphia District Attorney, * Associate Professor, Criminology Department, California State University, Fresno; Director, Tokiwa International Victimology Institute, Tokiwa University Victimology Graduate School, Japan. Pennsylvania, USA. • 1976 John Dussich launches the National Organization of Victim Assistance (NOVA) in Fresno, California, USA.
• 1976 Emilio Viano launches the first scholarly journal devoted to victimology. • 1976 James Rowland creates the first Victim Impact Statement in Fresno, California, USA. • 1979 The World Society of Victimology is founded in Munster, Germany. • 1980 Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) is founded by Candi Lightner after one of her twin daughters was killed by a drunk driver who was a repeat offender. • 1981 President Ronald Reagan proclaims the first national Victims’ Rights Week in April. • 1982 the first Victim Impact Panel established by MADD to educate drunk drivers about how their victims suffered, started in Rutland, Massachusetts, USA. • 1984 The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) establishes the national Crime Victims Fund from federal crime fines to pay for state victim compensation and services. • 1985 The United Nations unanimously adopts the Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power.
• 1987 The US Department of Justice opens the National Victims Resource Centre in Rockville, Maryland. • 1988 The first “Indian Nations: Justice for Victims of Crime” conference is held by the Office for Victims of Crime in Rapid City, South Dakota, USA. • 1990 The European Forum for Victim Services was founded by all the national organizations in Europe working for victims of crime in consultative status with the Council of Europe and the UN. • 1999 The United Nations and the US Office for Victims of Crime publish the Guide for Policymakers on the Implementation of the United Nations Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power and the Handbook on Justice for Victims: On the Use and Application of the United Nations Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power.
• 2002 On 11 April, 66 the Rome Statute was ratified & went into force on 1 July at which time the International Criminal Court became effective and it included the creation of a Victim and Witness Unit. • 2003 On October 2nd the Tokiwa International Victimology Institute, in Mito Japan opened its doors to promote victim rights, to conduct seminars, courses, publish an international journal, and host annual symposia and lectures and research about victimology. • 2004 The World Society of Victimology at its annual Executive Committee meeting in Orlando, Florida adopts a dramatic new strategic plan to commit itself to the ideals and promises of the UN Declaration.
• 2005 Japan puts the UN Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power into their national legislation by adopting a new fundamental law for crime victims. To ensure that the principles would be initiated, the Prime Minister established a cabinet level committee. The new law includes services for victims, restitution from the offender, information about criminal justice and a right to formally participate in the criminal justice process.
C. Victim Assistance
Since the mid 1970s victim assistance programmes in America had to cope with the realization that this new field did not have a professional corps of people with special training in dealing with crime victims. Those who were working in the programmes were a mixture of medical doctors, ministers, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, on-the-job trained counsellors, persons outside the helping professions and volunteers with all levels of training. There were no international or national professional standards. There was no certificate or degree to prepare someone to do the work of helping victims recover. However, before formal victim assistance programmes evolved, there were some people trained to work with victim problems, especially people who had been helping child abuse and family violence victims. These were social workers.
Today, the victim services scene has changed. There are a wide array of professionals and non-professionals working with victims. These would include: social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, medical doctors, non-specific professionals (who received their formal degrees in other fields but were trained to help victims in the numerous training schools which are both part and independent of academic settings); and, volunteers (who also received their training in the numerous training schools which are both part and independent of academic settings, many of which are 40 hour training modules offered by the victim service agencies where they work).
Today the field of victim assistance is the major career field in victimology for persons wanting to help victims of crime directly. The single largest and oldest university offering a bachelor’s degree in victimology and a victim services certificate is the California State University, Fresno. Worldwide, it can be estimated that there are about 20,000 victim service programmes now operating: reducing suffering and facilitating recovery.
II. KEY CONCEPTS IN VICTIMOLOGY
1. “Victim” has it roots in the early religious notions of suffering, sacrifice and death. This concept of “victim” was well known in the ancient civilizations, especially in Babylonia, Palestine, Greece, and Rome. In each of these civilizations the law mandated that the victim should be recognized as a person who deserved to be made whole again by the offender. 2. “Crime victim” is a person who has been physically, financially or emotionally injured and/or had their property taken or damaged by someone committing a crime. 3. “Victimogenesis” refers to the origin or cause of a victimization; the constellation of variables which caused a victimization to occur. 4. “Victim Precipitation” a victimization where the victim causes, in part or totally, their own victimization. 5. “Vulnerability” is a physical, psychological, social, material or financial condition whereby a person or an object has a weakness which could render them a victim if another person or persons would recognize these weaknesses and take advantage of them. 6. “General Victim” is a person who has been physically, financially or emotionally injured and/or had their property taken or damaged by someone, an event, an organization or a natural phenomenon.
7. “Victimization” refers to an event where persons, communities and institutions are damaged or injured in a significant way. Those persons who are impacted by persons or events suffer a violation of rights or significant disruption of their well being. 8. “Victimology” is an academic scientific discipline which studies data that describes phenomena and causal relationships related to victimizations. This includes events leading to the victimization, the victim’s experience, its aftermath and the actions taken by society in response to these victimizations. Therefore, victimology includes the study of the precursors, vulnerabilities, events, impacts, recoveries, and responses by people, organizations and cultures related to victimizations.
9. “Abuse of Power” is the violation of a national or international standard in the use of organized powerful forces such that persons are injured physically, mentally, emotionally, economically, or in their rights, as a direct and intentional result of the misapplication of these forces. 10. “Victim Assistance, Support or Services” are those activities which are applied in response to victimizations with the intention of relieving suffering and facilitating recovery. This includes offering information, assessments, individual interventions, case advocacy, system advocacy, public policy and programme development.
11. “Victim Recovery” is the resumption of the same or better level of functionality as was enjoyed prior to victimization. Persons who have been victimized vary in their level of mental health and wellbeing prior to their victimization. Consequently, victimization affects each person in a different way and causes differing degrees of injury or trauma. In their recovery it is necessary for victims to first try to regain their previous level of functioning plus learn from their misfortune and hopefully exceed their previous level of functionality. To be recovered suggests that a person has at least regained their prior level of well-being and at best, has exceeded it. This state may be measured by identifying their previous mental condition and determining if they have at least regained that prior status using the criteria of: trust in others, autonomy of self, individual initiative, competency in daily activities, self-identity, interpersonal intimacy, control over personal situations, successful relationships, safety in daily activities, acknowledgment of memory, trauma symptoms have become manageable, self esteem is restored, resourcefulness is achieved, and there is an improved ability to ward off potential threats.
12. “Child Abuse” is the intentional application of sexual, physical, emotional or psychological injury to a child to include neglect at the hands of her or his parents or care-provider within the confines of their family or place of care. 13. “Victim Offender Mediation” (VOM) is a formal process for face-to-face meetings in the presence of a trained mediator between a victim of a crime and his/her offender who committed that crime. This is also called victim-offender dialogue, victim-offender conferencing, victim-offender reconciliation, or restorative justice. Often the victim and the offender are joined by their respective families and community members or other persons related to the crime event. In these meetings, the offender and the victim talk to each other about the victimization, the effects it had on their lives, and their feelings about it. The aim is to create a mutually agreeable plan to repair any damage or injury that occurred as a result of the crime in the hopes of permanently eliminating the conflict that caused the crime in the first place.
14. “Restorative Justice” is a systematic formal legal response to crime victimization that emphasizes healing the injuries that resulted from the crime and affected the victims, offenders and communities. This process is a departure from the traditional retributive form of dealing with criminals and victims which traditionally have generally perpetuated the conflict which resulted in the original crime. 15. “Victim Trauma” includes emotional and physical experiences that produce pain and injuries. Emotional injury is a normal response to an extremely abnormal event. It results from the pairing of a painful or frightening emotional experience with a specific memory which emerge and have a long lasting effect on the life of a person. The more direct the exposure to the traumatic event, the higher the risk for emotional harm and prolonged effects. 16. “Crisis Intervention” is the provision of emergency psychological care to traumatized victims so as to help them return to an adaptive level of functioning and to prevent or mitigate the negative impact of psychological and emotional trauma.
17. “Compensation” is a formal administrative procedure provided by law which provides only money to victims for “out of pocket” real expenses directly resulting from the victimization to be paid by the state after the victim is found to qualify according to specific criteria determined by the respective state or federal law. 18. “Restitution” is a formal judicial procedure used by a judge after guilt is determined as part of a sentence which can provide money and/or services to the victim for damages or suffering which resulted from the victimization to be paid or performed by the offender.
19. “Victim Survey” is a periodic data collection and analysis process conducted usually by a government entity within the general population to study information about crime victims regardless whether they reported their victimization to the police or not. It typically uses a face-to-face or telephone interview (or sent questionnaire) and covers demographics, attitudes about crime and details about the victimizations experienced over the previous six months. 20. “Victim Rights” are privileges and procedures required by written law which guarantee victims specific considerations and treatment by the criminal justice system, the government and the community at large.
B. Abuse of Power
In spite of the legal sanctions which exist throughout the world to prevent the abuse of power (AOP), it continues to occur with growing frequency and relative impunity. There are essentially five considerations to abuse of power: the type of abuser; the specific abuser; the method used; the victims; and the extent of injury and damage. In each of these five considerations there are numerous examples ranging from the Government of South Africa’s use of apartheid on Black South Africans causing extensive death and suffering, to the criminal organization known as the MAFIA which uses racketeering, coercion, intimidation, graft and corruption on innocent citizens causing extensive death, suffering and property loss.
The most recent example of AOP is the government of Yugoslavia (now dominated by ethnic Serbs) using extreme forms of aggression, against Croats, Bosnia Muslims, and most recently ethnic Kosovans with: mass killings; mass rapes; extensive destruction of property; buildings, and sacred cultural symbols, for the most part ignoring the protocols found in the Geneva Conventions for the conduct of warfare. This macro criminological/victimological phenomenon has been extensively reported on by the media and by scholars, but predominantly in narrative form. Thus far, very few attempts have been made to isolate the key variables, explain the dynamics of these events and measure their occurrences.
2. Theoretical Problem
Like all phenomena, these abuse of power events lend themselves to definitions, theoretical organization and measurement. The magnitude of these occurrences dramatically turn our heads away from the dispassionate evaluation of the facts. The drama of these events is so compelling, even trained theorists put aside their research tools and yield to the subjective descriptions which overwhelm those chronicling these massive abuses. In spite of the strong emotions, the magnitude of the problem calls for careful measurement, analysis and synthesis so that a degree of understanding can emerge. This proposal will consider using the social behavioural and conflict theories familiar to most criminologist who study macro criminological phenomena.
III. MEASURING VICTIMIZATION
A. The Importance and Limitations of Descriptive Research
Descriptive research is primarily concerned with generally characterizing a phenomenon to determine basic information about amount, frequencies and categories of a particular theme. Thus, one of the basic types of data in descriptive research is nominal level data or the counting of “apples and oranges”. The most important type of victimological descriptive research are victimization surveys. These surveys have thus far become the backbone of victimology information.
Not only do these surveys give us the number and types of victims, they also give us trend information so that we can compare victims from one jurisdiction to another, from one type of victim to another, and we can measure the rate of victimization for a given population in a given time period. Another important measurement using survey research is the measurement of behaviours that exist as continua. These types of research give us information about the feelings, opinions and responses the victims have. Thus, they are very important in understanding the impact of victimization and the progress of recovery.
1. The Necessity of Evaluative Research
Another important type of research is the evaluative research used to measure the official government or organizational responses to victimization and the programmes used to help victims cope. These types of research are aimed at measuring the systemic aspects of the victim experience. This is usually focused on the “Twin Criteria of Success”: effectiveness, which evaluates the achievement of programme objectives; and, efficiency which evaluates the consumption of resources over the time needed to achieve objectives.
Another aspect of evaluative research is accountability, both economic and political. Economic accountability focuses on whether the existence of a particular programme in a given community is justified given the funds available and the value-system currently in existence. Political accountability focuses on whether the existence of a victim programme and its costs are supported by those in power. A large part of accountability has to do with community values, outcome expectations and official responsibilities. The measurement of these variables helps to socially contextualize a victim programme or response within the larger society or culture.
2. Explaining the Victimization with Causal Research
Perhaps the most challenging and difficult form of victimological research is causal research. This research attempts to explain why and how some variables are effected by other variables in those phenomena dealing with victims. For example, it might try to understand why some victims are severely traumatized by an event, while other victims are not seriously impacted by the same event. The usual method of this form of research is to first create hypotheses about the relationships between cause variables and effect variables. Then, to measure these variables and see if the data can support the hypotheses.
Ultimately, this process can lead to understanding not just one casual link, but many connected causal links, or a causal chain. A victimologist can then develop a theoretical statement with the new facts uncovered using causal research. These theoretical statements help to understand complex social and psychological victim phenomenon. Consequently persons working to prevent victimization could have empirically derived facts so as to reduce the vulnerability of potential victims. Crisis interveners could effectively reduce the suffering of victims immediately after the victimization and prevent the escalation of trauma. Advocates and therapists, basing their response on protocol analysis, could better know what works to facilitate victim recovery and reduce or eliminate long-term suffering and promote the return to stable and functional lives for those victimized.
IV. THE FUTURE OF VICTIMOLOGY
A. Promising Practices
As new programmes and new laws evolve some prove effective and others not. In the search for programmes and laws that fulfil the fundamental aims of the United National Declaration, “to be treated with compassion and respect for their dignity, to be provided with access to the mechanisms of justice and to prompt redress to be informed of their rights, to be informed of their role and the scope, timing and progress of the proceedings and of the disposition of their case, to be provided with proper assistance throughout the legal process, to have their privacy protected and insure their safety, to be considered for receipt of restitution, to be informed about receiving compensation.”
These criteria determine the value of programmes and laws so that they can be evaluated and ultimately recommended as worthy of duplication. In each of the sub-categories of victim programmes, laws, practices and rights, specific examples have become known. Some of these are listed below (from the New Directions from the Field: Victims’ Rights and Services for the 21st Century, U.S. Department of Justice, 1998).
1. Law Enforcement
• In San Diego, California there is a partnership between the police and the YWCA which resulted in a Community Domestic Violence Resource Network. This has resulted in a major resource for all the police agencies in the community for accurate information about the availability of shelters at any given time. • In Provo, Utah victims participate in crime solving, called “victim-assisted” investigations. • In Orange County, California a group of five victim advocates working together in a non-profit programme work with police and prosecutors to ensure comprehensive services for victims of gang violence.
• In Kenosha, Wisconsin, a programme established by the district attorney established special prosecution units for domestic violence and sensitive crimes. • In Pinellas County, Florida, the state’s attorney’s office established a special prosecutor to be responsible for all elder exploitation and neglect cases. This includes police training, community outreach and education for other prosecutors. • In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Victim Services Unit located in the District Attorney’s Office, employs Vietnamese and Cambodian victim-witness coordinators to assist victims from Southeast Asia throughout their case process, including translating information and helping victims with emergency medical and financial assistance.
• In Tucson, Arizona, the Municipal Court established a partnership with the police, victim advocates, prosecutors and health care professionals to form a Community Domestic Violence Awareness Centre. • In New York State, the Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children was established to provide assistance to children in the courts so as to provide a special space for child care so that those children whose parents are in court have a safe haven during their stay. • In Santa Clara County, California, the courts have established local family violence councils to provide a comprehensive response to domestic violence.
• In Texas, the Department of Criminal Justice started a victim-offender mediation/dialogue programme for victims of severe violence and their incarcerated offenders. • In California one of the best known victim-offender programmes is the Impact of Crime on Victims (IOC) initiated by the California Youth Authority. This programme is aimed at providing 40 hours of education to inform offenders about how crimes affect victims and society. • The US Federal Bureau of Prisons piloted victim awareness classes on drug and domestic violence crimes for offenders in halfway houses in Baltimore, Maryland, and Tampa, Florida. B. Reality of Promising Practices
Although a wide variety of new programmes have been tried and dubbed as “promising” most of these have not been subjected to any form of empirical evaluation. Before these programme can be accepted as worthy of duplication, they must be carefully scrutinized over a sufficient time period.
V. Demographic Characteristics
The risk of becoming a crime victim varies as a function of demographic variables such as:
• Socioeconomic class
With the exception of sexual assault and domestic violence, men have higher risk of assault than women (Gelles & Straus, 1988; Hanson et al., 1993; Norris, 1992). Lifetime risk of homicide is three to four times higher for men than women (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1992).
Adolescents have substantially higher rates of assault than young adults or older Americans (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1992; Hanson et al., 1993; Kilpatrick, Edmunds & Seymour, 1992; Kilpatrick et al., in press; Reiss & Roth, 1993; Whitaker & Bastian, 1991). Data from the National Crime Victimization Survey indicate that 12-to-19 year olds are two to three times as likely as those over 20 to become victims of personal crime each year (Whitaker & Bastian, 1991). Data from The National Women’s Study indicate that 62% of all forcible rape cases occurred when the victim was under 18 years of age (Kilpatrick et al., 1992).
Racial and ethnic minorities have higher rates of assault than other Americans (FBI Uniform Crime Report, 1992; Hanson et al., 1993; Kilpatrick et al., 1991; Reiss & Roth, 1993). In 1990, African-Americans were six times more likely than white Americans to be homicide victims (FBI Uniform Crime Report, 1992). Rates of violent assault are approximately twice as high for African- and Hispanic-Americans compared to White Americans (Reiss & Roth, 1993). Kilpatrick et al. (1991) found that African-Americans (28%) and Hispanic-Americans (30%) were significantly more likely than White Americans (19%) to have ever been violent victims of crime.
Violence disproportionately affects those from lower socioeconomic classes (U. S. Bureau of the Census, 1991). Family income is related to rates of violence and victimization, with lower income families at a higher risk than those from higher income brackets (Reiss & Roth, 1993). • For example, in 1988, the risk of victimization was 2.5 times greater for families with the lowest incomes (under $7,500) compared to those with the highest ($50,000 and over) (Reiss & Roth, 1993).
Using longitudinal data from The National Women’s Study, Kilpatrick et al., (in press) found that women with household incomes less than $10,000 had odds 1.8 times greater than those with incomes of $10,000 or more of becoming a rape or aggravated assault victim in the two year follow-up period. Poverty increased the risk of assault even after controlling for the effects of prior victimization and sensation seeking. However, some other studies report that family income is a less important predictor of victimization than gender, age, or ethnicity (Reiss & Roth, 1993).
Interpreting Demographic Characteristic Data
Some of the conflicting findings about demographic characteristics as risk factors for violent crime are attributable to methodological variations across studies. Another reason for conflicting findings is that many demographic variables are confounded. That is, they are so interrelated as to cause some difficulty in separating out their relative contributions. Demographic variables of age, gender, and racial status all tend to be confounded with income: young people tend to be poorer than older people; women tend to have less income than men; and African-Americans tend to have less income than white Americans.
Repeat Victimization and the Cycle of Violence
Until recently, there was little appreciation of the extent to which many people are victims of crime not just once, but several times during their lifetime. There was sufficient understanding of how repeated victimization increases the risk for and complexity of crime-related psychological trauma. Nor did we understand the extent to which victimization increases the risk of further victimization and/or of violent behavior by the victim. Several studies show that a substantial proportion of crime victims has been victimized more than once and that a history of victimization increases the risk of subsequent violent assault (e.g. Kilpatrick et al., in press; Koss & Dinero, 1989; Resnick, Kilpatrick, Dansky, Saunders & Best, 1993; Kilpatrick et al., 1992; Reiss & Roth, 1993; Wyatt, Guthrie & Notgrass, 1992; Zawitz, 1983).
Other research suggests that the risk of developing PTSD and substance use/abuse problems is higher among repeat victims of violent assault than among those who have experienced only one violent assault (e.g., Kilpatrick et al., in press; Breslau et al., in press; Kilpatrick, Resnick, Saunders, Best & Epstein, 1994). Still other evidence suggests that youth victimization history increases risk of involvement with delinquent peers and of subsequent delinquent behavior (Ageton, 1983; Dembo et al., 1992; Straus, 1984; Widom, 1989, 1992). Some research shows that involvement with delinquent or deviant peers increases the risk of victimization (e.g., Ageton, 1983), and that substance use also increases risk of victimization (e.g., Kilpatrick et al., 1994; Cottler, Compton, Mager, Spitznagel, and Janca, 1992).
Another line of research has found that a history of child abuse and neglect increases risk of delinquent behavior during childhood and adolescence and of being arrested for violent assault as an adult (e.g., Widom, 1989, 1994). This new knowledge about repeat victimization and the cycle of violence has several implications for appropriate mental health counseling for crime victims: • Mental health professionals should include crime prevention and substance abuse prevention in their work with victims to decrease the risk that new victimization or substance abuse problems will occur (e.g., Kilpatrick et al., in press; Kilpatrick et al., 1994). • Mental health professionals should not assume that the crime they are treating is the only one the victim has experienced. This requires taking a careful crime victimization history. • Providing effective mental health counseling to victims may well be an effective way to reduce the risk of future victimization, substance use/abuse, delinquency and violent behavior.
Where an individual lives influences one’s risk of becoming a violent crime victim. Reiss and Roth (1993) report that violent crime rates increased as a function of community size. For example, the violent crime rate was 359 per 100,000 residents in cities of less than 10,000; but 2,243 per 100,000 in cities with populations over a million translates to rates seven times greater. (Reiss & Roth, 1993; p. 79).
Data including non-reported crimes from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) also indicate that violent crime rates are highest in central cities, somewhat lower in suburban areas, and lowest in rural areas (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1992). The UCR and the NCVS are better at measuring street crime than at measuring violent crimes perpetrated by acquaintances or partners. Thus, the assumption that the increased risk of violent assault associated with residential location most likely results from stranger attacks, not necessarily from attacks by family members or other intimates, is a function of the limits of the measurement device.
Exposure to Potential Assailants
No violent assault can occur unless an assailant has access to a potential victim. Someone could have every previously discussed risk factor for violent assault and be completely safe from assault unless approached by an assailant. A prominent theory attempting to predict risk of criminal victimization is the routine activities theory. As described by Laub (1990), the risk of victimization is related to a person’s lifestyle, behavior, and routine activities. In turn, lifestyles and routine activities are generally related to demographic characteristics (e.g., age and marital status) and other personal characteristics. If a person’s lifestyle or routine activities places him or her in frequent contact with potential assailants, then they are more likely to be assaulted than if their routine activities and lifestyle do not bring them into as frequent contact with predatory individuals. For example, young men have higher rates of assaultive behavior than any other age-gender group (Reiss & Roth, 1993; Rosenberg & Mercy, 1991).
Thus, those whose routine activities or lifestyles involve considerable contact with young men should have higher rates of victimization. Likewise, people who are married, who never leave their houses after dark, and who never take public transportation should have limited contact with young men, and therefore have reduced risk of assault. Although some have argued that routine activities theory has substantial support in the empirical literature (Laub, 1990; Gottfredson, 1981), most of the crime victimization data that are used to evaluate assault risk measure stranger assaults much better than partner or acquaintance assaults. Thus, the theory is probably much more relevant to stranger assaults than to other assaults.
VI. Conclusion and Recommendation
Crime-related psychological trauma impairs the ability and/or willingness of many crime victims to cooperate with the criminal justice system. Many argued that victims must be treated better by the criminal justice system because it cannot accomplish its mission without the cooperation of victims. At every key stage of the criminal justice system process–from contemplating making a report to police, to attending a parole hearing–interactions can be stressful for victims and often exacerbates crime-related psychological trauma. Victims whose crime-related fear makes them reluctant to report crimes to police or who are too terrified to testify, effectively make it impossible for the criminal justice system to accomplish its mission. Thus, it is important to understand:
• Victims’ crime-related mental health problems.
• What aspects of the criminal justice system process are stressful to victims. • What can be done to help victims with their crime-related mental health problems. • What can be done to help victims cope with criminal justice system-related stress. Effective partnerships among the criminal justice system, victim assistance personnel, and trained mental health professionals can help victims with crime-related psychological trauma and with criminal justice system-related stress.
By helping victims through such partnerships, the criminal justice system also helps itself become more effective in curbing and reducing crime. Several factors in the application of different conditioning principles to victims’ interactions with the criminal justice system helps us understand why the criminal justice system is so stressful for many victims. First, involvement with the criminal justice system requires crime victims to encounter many cognitive and environmental stimuli that remind them of the crime. These range from:
• Having to look at the defendant in the courtroom. • Having to think about details of the crime when preparing to testify. • Confronting a member of “second-order conditioned stimuli” in the form of police, victim/witness advocates, and prosecutors. Second, encountering all these crime-related conditioned stimuli often results in avoidance behavior on the part of the victims. • Such avoidance behavior is generated by conditioned fear and anxiety, not by apathy. Avoidance can lead victims to cancel or not show up for appointments with criminal justice system officers, or victim advocates. Aside from conditioning, there are several other reasons that interacting with the criminal justice system can be stressful for victims.
• One reason interactions are stressful is because victims lack information about that system and its procedures, and victims fear the unknown. • A second reason interactions are stressful is that victims are concerned about whether they will be believed and taken seriously by the criminal justice system. Most victims view the criminal justice system as representative of society as a whole, and whether they are believed and taken seriously by the system indicates to them whether they are believed and taken seriously by society.
1. (Bachman, 1994; Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1992; FBI Uniform Crime Reports, 1992; Hanson, Freedy, Kilpatrick, and Saunders, 1993; Kilpatrick, Seymour & Boyle, 1991; Breslau, Davis, Andreski, and Peterson, 1991; Kilpatrick , Resnick, Saunders, and Best, in press; Norris, 1992; Adler et al., 1994; Reiss & Roth, 1993; Rosenberg & Mercy, 1991).
2. Dussich, John and Kiyoko Kishimoto. 2000. “Victim Assistance in Japan: History, Culture and Programmes.” In Paul C. Friday and Gerd Ferdinand Kirchhoff (editors) Victimology at the Transition: From the 20th to the 21st Century: Essays in Honor of Hans Joachim Schneider. M nchengladbach, Germany: Shaker Verlag. 3. Schafer, Stephen. 1968. The Victim and His Criminal. New York: Random House. 4. www.wikipedia.com
5. www.google.com.ph “Victimology”