This will be a special course which will be based on the training for special victims' assistance unit to be staffed by both sworn and civilian personnel. This course will be a comprehensive course that will deal with the following topics necessary for the training of police personnel. The content of the course will:
Describe the issue i.e. Victimology.
Provide an overview of the nature of the problem and the role the police have traditionally taken.
Discuss the victimization of various populations, such as the disabled, the elderly, the homeless, immigrants, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people.
Discuss culturally based victimization, such as female genital mutilation, rape, sexual abuse, honor killings, gang violence, and crimes against special populations (e.g., blind, elderly, homeless, and GLBT people).
Include victim assistance programs.
Provide recommendations and strategies to be used by the police department in dealing effectively with victims of crime.
Description of Victimology
For years, people who were interested in criminology and criminal justice riveted their attention on offenders. Criminologists, on the one hand, tried to determine why people broke the law and examined the nature of those transgressions. Criminal justicians, on the other hand, focused more on the ways the authorities reacted to crime and how violators were processed through the system. One might characterize both of these orientations more aptly as “offenderology,” or the study of offenders.
Over time, a new orientation began to unfold. This perspective shifted attention away from the offender and turned instead to the forgotten side of the criminal dyad: the victim. Every crime, by definition, has a criminal and also a victim. Proponents claimed that criminology and criminal justice inadvertently had become too exclusive and overly myopic. Among other things, academicians had overlooked the victim as a worthy subject to study (Schafer, 1968).
Academic materials and college courses in victimology, or the study of victims, simply did not exist in the mid-1960s. Today, library shelves contain a handsome collection of books dealing with a host of victimological issues. Mainstream journals routinely devote space to the study of victims and several specialty journals have emerged. Many college campuses now have courses that explore victim concerns, and some institutions even offer majors in victim services. Paralleling this academic development is the provision of direct services to victims. Victim advocates provide much needed assistance to help ameliorate the suffering that victims endure. Several states require service providers to complete specific training modules before they can become credentialed as victim advocates. In short, the victims' rights movement has achieved significant strides in a relatively short period of time.
The purpose of this entry is to introduce several key developments in the growth of victimology and victim services. The first portion is devoted to academic matters. There, we will visit the contributions that some of the early pioneers made and explain how the field began to take shape. Although prominent people made thoughtful contributions to the field, only a handful are presented here. The second part visits the victims' justice ...