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General Education Studies
Asher Flynn

Victimisation, victims and the CJS Victimology  Traditional approach: o Geography of crime. o Time, location. o Victim – defined by law. o Victimisation – one-off event.  Victimology: o Crime/event. o How victim behaves. o Who is the offender. o How the offender behaves. o Context (time, community attitudes). o Response of community and CJS.  Victim status is a process.  Instead of being defined by law – looks at victimisation as a being a process people can experience.  Looks at how the CJS, media and society sees the victim. The rise of the victim  Von Hetnig (1948): Victim prone: o Used to see victims negatively – looked at how the victim was responsible for the crime. o Certain individuals more victim prone. o Age, gender, mental state, etc., contribute to the likelihood of you becoming a victim.  Mendelsohn (1956): victim culpability: o They could either be a completely innocent victim or a guilty victim. o E.g. if you punch someone and they punch you back, you are a guilty victim.  Amir (1971): victim-perpetrated rape: o Examined the idea that the victim was somehow responsible for what occurred to them. o Argued that the victim actually agreed (or the perpetuator interpreted) agreed to sexual relations but retracted or didn‟t resist strongly enough when the suggestion was made. o Said that it was the victim‟s fault for not fighting back or screaming loud enough and that was why some people were more prone to rape than other. o Responses to this – feminist and victims‟ rights 70s-80s:  Having the victim more involved in the CJS rather than the government being seen as the victim.  New victims and new offenders.  Domestic violence.  State crime. o Victim-focused reform:  Statutory obligations on some professionals to report child abuse.  Victim Impact Statements.  Restriction on cross-examination of victim‟s prior sexual history in sexual assault cases.  Before reforms – if a victim was put up in the court to be questioned, they could be cross-examined on things like how often do you have sex, what do you wear, how do you like to have sex, etc.  Now they‟re not allowed so victim blaming isn‟t seen in the court process. Victimology is diverse Approach Central focus Belief Realist/ Reality of victim Victims & crime are objective facts, we can study objectively positivist experience Critical/ Process Victims & crime are socially defined & constructed we must focus on how institutional victimhood is defined Left realist Documenting Social construction is important to victim label, but we can & should still unrecognised victims document types of victims & produce qualitative and quantitative data  All perspectives acknowledge: o The victim is historically and temporally defined (e.g. environmental victims). o Victimhood = a status which is contested and constructed. o Not all victims are recognised as victims (e.g. asylum seekers). o Victims exist within and beyond the CJS.  Our perspectives of victims will change overtime e.g. we didn‟t always see penguins as victims.  You may not automatically be granted with victim status but can still be victimised e.g. asylum seekers – sending them somewhere else might constitute victimisation but not be seen as victims by CJS, society or the media.  The label of the victim changes as our perceptions of crime also change. What is a victim  Legal definitions: o UN:  Victims means persons who, individually or collectively, have suffered harm, including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss or substantial impairment of their fundamental rights, through acts or omissions that are in violation of criminal laws operative within Member States, including those laws proscribing criminal abuse of power. o Victims‟ Charter Act 2006:  A natural person who has suffered injury as a direct result of a criminal offence, whether or not that injury was reasonably foreseeable by the offender; or  If a person has died as a direct result of a criminal offence committed against that person, a family member of that person. How we define a victim  Victims = legally, socially, politically, culturally and historically constructed.  Example: rape in marriage: o Not illegal until 1985. o Can be culturally accepted – victims don‟t realise that it constituted a crime. o Marital rapes 10-14% of all rapes in Australia (2011). o Less than 20% get to court, less than 10% guilty verdict (2012). Christie’s (1986) ideal victim  A person or category of person who – when hit by crime – most readily are given the complete and legitimate status of being a victim.  Earned status – 7 categories.  Not those in greatest danger of victimisation.  Doesn‟t refer to those most often victimised.  Doesn‟t refer to the individual‟s own perception or classification of themselves. o If you don‟t fit into the categories, you are less likely to be seen as a legitimate victim – less sympathy from CJS.  7 characteristics: o Old or very young. o Weak. o Doing something legal and respectable. o Attacked by a stranger. o Attacked in a public space. o Struggles valiantly. o The matter is brought to police attention immediately.  Example: Madeline McCann: o Young: Aged 3. o Wea
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