Forensic Victimology
eBook - ePub

Forensic Victimology

Examining Violent Crime Victims in Investigative and Legal Contexts

Brent E. Turvey,Wayne Petherick

  1. 608 páginas
  2. English
  3. ePUB (apto para móviles)
  4. Disponible en iOS y Android
eBook - ePub

Forensic Victimology

Examining Violent Crime Victims in Investigative and Legal Contexts

Brent E. Turvey,Wayne Petherick

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This new textbook provides students with the basic principles and practice standards of forensic victimology--the scientific study of victims for the purposes of addressing investigative and forensic issues. It provides case-based coverage with original insights into the role that victimology plays in the justice system, moving beyond the traditional theoretical approaches already available. The purpose of this textbook is to distinguish the investigative and forensic aspects of victim study as a necessary adjunct to the field of victimology. It identifies forensic victimologists in the investigative and forensic communities and provides them with methods and standards of practice needed to be of service. This book is intended to educate students on the means and rationale for performing victimological assessments with a scientific mindset. Forensic Victimology is designed specifically for teaching the practical aspects of this topic, with "hands on" real-life case examples.

  • Applied victimology for students and caseworkers performing objective examinations as opposed to theoretical victimology that studies victim groups and crime statistics.
  • First ever textbook detailing a mandate, scope and methods for forensic victimologist practitioners.
  • Provides a critical / scientific counterbalance to existing mainstream texts approaching general victimology with a pro-victim bias.
  • Written by practitioners of forensic victimology in the investigative, forensic, mental health, and academic communities.

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Chapter 1. Victimology - A Brief History with an Introduction to Forensic Victimology

  • History
  • Key Figures
  • Victim Study: Past to Present
  • Forensic Victimology: An Introduction
  • Case Example: Investigative Use of Forensic Victimology
  • Summary

Key Terms

Criminal investigation
the process of gathering facts to be used as evidence and proof in a court of law.
The Dark Age
in victimology, the era after the emergence of written laws and structured governments, where all offenses were viewed as perpetrated against the king or state, not against the victims or their family.
Forensic victimology
the study of violent crime victims for the purposes of addressing investigative and forensic questions. It involves the accurate, critical, and objective outlining of a victim's lifestyles and circumstances, the events leading up to an injury, and the precise nature of any harm or loss suffered.
General victimology
the study of victimity in the broadest sense, including those that have been harmed by accidents, natural disasters, war, and so on.
The golden age
in victimology, the era thought to have occurred before written law, where victims played a direct role in determining the punishment for actions of another committed against them or their property.
Interactionist/penal victimology
an approach to victimology from a criminological or legal perspective, where the scope of study is defined by criminal law.
Reemergence of the victim
the era in the middle of the twentieth century, when a small number of people began to recognize that those who were most affected by criminal acts were rarely involved in the criminal justice process. This led to the realization that victims were also being overlooked as a source of information about crime and criminals.
Sanctity of victimhood
the belief that victims are inherently good, honest, and pure, making those who defend them righteous and morally justified.
Scientific method
a way to investigate how or why something works or how something happened through the development of hypotheses and subsequent attempts at falsification through testing and other accepted means.
used in the modern criminal justice system to describe any person who has experienced loss, injury, or hardship due to the illegal action of another individual, group, or organization.
a Latin word used to refer to those who were sacrificed to please a god.
the scientific study of victims and victimization, including the relationships between victims and offender, investigators, courts, corrections, media, and social movements.
Victim precipitation
when a crime is caused or partially facilitated by the victim.
Victim prone
individuals who share a capacity for being victimized.
Historically, the Latin term victima was used to describe individuals or animals whose lives were destined to be sacrificed to please a deity. It did not necessarily imply pain or suffering, only a sacrificial role. In the nineteenth century, the word victim became connected with the notion of harm or loss in general (Spalek 2006). In the modern criminal justice system, the word victim has come to describe any person who has experienced injury, loss, or hardship due to the illegal action of another individual, group, or organization (Karmen 2004).
The term victimology first appeared in 1949, in a book about murderers written by forensic psychiatrist Fredric Wertham. It was used to describe the study of individuals harmed by criminals (Karmen 2007). Today, as explained in our Preface, victimology refers generally to the scientific study of victims and victimization, including the relationships between victims and offenders, investigators, courts, corrections, media, and social movements (Karmen 1990).
According to Ezzat Fattah, PhD, an Egyptian prosecutor turned criminologist, as well as a leading author on the subject of victimology (Fattah 2000, 24): the study of victims and victimization has the potential of reshaping the entire discipline of criminology. It might very well be the long awaited paradigm shift that criminology desperately needs given the dismal failure of its traditional paradigms: search for causes of crime, deterrence, rehabilitation, treatment, just desserts, etc.
The authors and contributors of this text concur.
Figure 1.1. Dr. Fredric Wertham (1895–1981) reading the first issue of Shock Illustrated. A psychiatrist for the New York Department of Hospitals connected with the Court of General Sessions, he is best remembered for his expert testimony in the trial of serial murderer Albert Fish and for his opposition to comic books. In 1954, he wrote a book titled Seduction of the Innocents, which argued that comic books were the lowest form of literature and a primary cause of juvenile delinquency, citing their depiction of sex, drugs, and violence. That same year, this book led to an official Congressional Inquiry that ultimately resulted in the “voluntary” creation of the Comics Code Authority (CCA) by the Comics Magazine Association of America. The CCA screened all comic books prior to publication, acting essentially as an industry censor.
Jan Van Dijk, a professor of victimology at Tilburg University, has proposed that there are currently two major types of victimology (1999): general victimology and penal victimology, with major differences stemming from the definitions used to identify victims. General victimology studies victimity in the broadest sense, including those that have been harmed by accidents, natural disasters, war, and so on (Van Dijk 1999). The focus of this type of victimology is the treatment, prevention, and alleviation of the consequences of being victimized, regardless of the cause.
Interactionist (or penal) victimologists, on the other hand, generally approach the subject from a criminological or legal perspective, where the scope of study is defined by criminal law. According to Van Dijk (1999, 2) “the research agenda of this victimological stream combines issues concerning the causation of crimes with those relating to the victim's role in the criminal proceedings,” where victims are only those who become such as a result of a crime. Generally speaking, this type of victimology advocates for victims, for their rights or in relation to certain types of prosecutions.
There remains a level of ignorance regarding the nature and even existence of victimology across the professional spectrums that intersect with the subject. Most notably this occurs within the criminal justice system itself, which tends to be populated by those without a scientific, behavioral, or research background. A primer is therefore necessary. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a brief history of victimology as it has evolved in relation to systems of justice until modern times, as a precursor to the development of forensic victimology as a subspecialty. It will then close with discussions on the rationale for the investigative and forensic use of victimology. If readers have not yet studied the Preface, now would be a good time to go back and do so.


It is important to acknowledge where the field of victimology originated and how it has developed. To that end, this section involves a general overview of the victim's role in various systems of justice throughout history. It will conclude with a more specific rendering of the contributions of selected victimologists, subsequent research, and its impact on the discipline.[1]
1 As will become clear, the victimological literature has often been the product of advocates interested in victim rights, legal reforms, and various liabilities, as opposed to those interested in objective study for the advancement of scientific knowledge. Therefore, some of the terminology used has been less than scientific and even partial. It is presented here purely in an effort to maintain the historical record.
The concept of victim study as it relates to legal conflict is not new. In fact, it has been around for centuries in various forms. For example, Jerin and Moriarty (1998, 6) contend that there are three distinct historical eras defining the victims' role within justice systems: the golden age, the dark age, and the reemergence of the victim.

The Golden Age

In the so-called golden age, which Jerin and Moriarty suggest existed prior to written laws and established governments, tribal law prevailed. In much of tribal law, victims are said to have played a direct role in determining punishments for the unlawful actions that others committed against them or their property. It was reportedly a time when personal retribution was the only resolution for criminal matters. As such, victims actively sought revenge or demanded compensation for their losses directly from those who wronged them (Karmen 2007; Shichor and Tibbetts 2002). Doerner and Lab (2002, 2) go so far as to describe this as a victim justice system as opposed to a criminal justice system, explaining that it was up to victims or their survivors to decide what action to take against the offender. Victims who wished to respond to offenses could not turn to judges for assistance or to jails for punishment. These institutions did not exist yet. Instead, victims had to take matters into their own hands.
Clearly, this was not a time of objectivity and critical regard towards victims and their claims. Victims would define the extent of any loss or harm and then seek their own retribution rather than either being investigated or assessed by a disintereste...


  1. Cover
  2. Title
  3. Brief Table of Contents
  4. Table of Contents
  5. Acknowledgments
  6. Contributors
  7. Preface: An Argument for Forensic Victimology
  8. Chapter 1. Victimology
  9. Chapter 2. Victimity
  10. Chapter 3. Constructing a Victim Profile
  11. Chapter 4. Forensic Nursing
  12. BibliographyReferences
  13. Chapter 5. Victim Lifestyle Exposure
  14. Chapter 6. Victim Situational Exposure
  15. BibliographyReferences
  16. Chapter 7. Psychological Aspects of Victimology
  17. BibliographyReferences
  18. Chapter 8. False Allegations of Crime[1]
  19. Chapter 9. Intimate Violence
  20. Chapter 10. Victims of Stalking
  21. Chapter 11. Workplace Violence
  22. Chapter 12. School Shootings
  23. Chapter 13. Stranger Violence
  24. BibliographyReferences
  25. Chapter 14. Sexual Offenders and Their Victims
  26. BibliographyReferences
  27. Chapter 15. Victimology at Trial
  28. Chapter 16. Wrongful Convictions
Estilos de citas para Forensic Victimology

APA 6 Citation

Turvey, B., & Petherick, W. (2010). Forensic Victimology ([edition unavailable]). Elsevier Science. Retrieved from (Original work published 2010)

Chicago Citation

Turvey, Brent, and Wayne Petherick. (2010) 2010. Forensic Victimology. [Edition unavailable]. Elsevier Science.

Harvard Citation

Turvey, B. and Petherick, W. (2010) Forensic Victimology. [edition unavailable]. Elsevier Science. Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2022).

MLA 7 Citation

Turvey, Brent, and Wayne Petherick. Forensic Victimology. [edition unavailable]. Elsevier Science, 2010. Web. 15 Oct. 2022.