The increased incidences of criminal offences in nations is a global menace which has effect on those subjected to crime and the offenders who engage in crime actions. The act of crime is brought about by breaking the law enforced by the government of nations thus there is violation of rights entitled to individuals and disruptions of well being.
Victimology is category within criminology with fields such as juvenile delinquency, drug abuse, assault, murder, rape, robbery and burglary. Any one can become a victim and some are more vulnerable to victimization than others. Victimology is field of study to find facts why people are victimized and criminology is a field of study to find why crime is committed. Both fields are characterized by social, economical and political factors.
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Victims are blamed by society to be careless and not being able to defend themselves. There is need to understand victimizations and being a victim in order to put the strategies and precautions of being vulnerable to being a victim. Therefore there is need of Victimology as a career field to form Programmes of assisting victims to cope with the situation.
Victimology as scientific field of study which focuses on physical, emotional and financial factors that people suffers from hand of criminals and the events leading to victimization, thus victimology entails study of precursors, vulnerabilities, events, impacts, recoveries and response of people, cultures and organization related to victims. The process of victimization from one phase to another is stated below as individuals can be victims of different circumstances in day to day life. Victimization is associated with sufferings, sacrifices and deaths hence victims deserve to be made whole again by restoration of their dignity and self-esteem.
According to Garkawe, S. (2000) Victims are those who experiences assault. Murder, rape, robbery and burglary, loss or hardship subjected to them. The case study from Jailed: “A very damaged young man” and “Tragic past translates to stolen future”. Defines victims a:
The victimization suggested here shows that individuals become victim of several circumstances caused by themselves or the surroundings. The case explains; Matthew Stuart Pearce (28) became generally victimized by the natural catastrophes which were beyond his control during his childhood. General victimization is whereby a person has suffered physical, financial or emotional damages and had experiences of their property taken, occurrence of terrific events and natural calamities.
He subjected himself to juvenile delinquency victimization by becoming own victim through abuse of drugs to evade the harsh circumstances he was going through and associating with people of no help to him.
Another form of victimization is child abuse; characterized by sexual harassment, physical, emotional and psychological injury. This is further caused by neglect by parents, guardian and care takers. Matthew was abused by his the parent who adopt him.
Victim trauma is a result of painful and physical experienced which has a long life effect on person life. The death of mother and siblings through murder exposed him to traumatic occurrences which had high risk in harming emotional stability.
Concept of Conservative Victimology
S. Garkawe (2000) Statement suggests that “Restoration of Justice” is a systematic formal legal response to crime victimization that emphasizes on healing the injuries that resulted from the crime that had effect on victims offended, offenders and communities. This process is a derived from the traditional form of justice dealing with criminals and victims which traditionally have generally perpetuated the conflict which resulted in the original crime. It is supported by law and advocates order, this encourages offenders responsibility, involving victims in system of justice thus cutting down the government expenses. This is limited to petty offences in which the proceedings from criminal court do not result to imprisonment.
Conservative nature has great effect on criminal justice policy. Suggestions for change and interventions in criminal justice is in favour of crime victims which is dominated by law and order with objective of lowering criminal victimization by emphasizing lawful and orderly society. The failure to rehabilitate and reform the policies leads to decline of support of criminal support. These increase police power and resources; they also have great influence in favour of conservative governments. They invoke victims in order to bargain for more powers and resources though penal policy is dictated to protected the community.
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His statement also depicts that there is believe of an individual to take responsibility. Social factors are considered not important to criminals; offenders take all blame of crime acts. Individuals are perceived to take initiative in prevention, avoidance, resistance and recovery from victimization. This is important when crime rates are predicted to have fallen down. Traditionalists emphasizes on self- reliance concept by putting stress on victims and society oriented crime prevention measures, they believe criminal acts are beyond government powers hence it is responsibility of individuals, families, institutions and religions to reduce crime.
Specific victim policies as suggested by law and order are limited to personal crimes of violence against property mainly by strangers resulting from assaults, murders, rape, robbery and burglary. These instill fear of crime and useful to law and order lawyers by playing with emotions of public. Victims are perceived to be virtuous while offenders are evil doers; the advocates take advantage by appealing to emotions of public. This is more so relevant to conservative supporters specifically the advocates of victims who understand the system well making the victims statement most effective thus empowering the victims by enhancing the prosecutions successful with strong penalties achieved by spending minimum cost of government resources. This is main goal of lawyers compared to more elaborate measures to better treatment of victims within criminal justice system. Other factors associated with conservations are government initiative of compensating victims, which is viewed with ambivalences by advocates of law and order, many will not want government to get involved in funding but prefers settlement be done by offenders. Some conservative jurisdiction governments have significantly lowered the pay for victims’ compensation. Restitution order is part of conservation in favour of victims of part of offender’s criminal sanction. Law enforcers are in agreement that should be encouraged to save governments cost for victims compensation to enhance that offenders are accountable. Victim support services are encouraged to enhance successful prosecution so long as government expenditures not involved.
Mediation between Offenders and Victims” this is a formal meeting between the offenders and victim in presence of mediator to dialogue in order to find solution of the offence. This is done with aim of reconciliation by creating a mutual acceptance plan to repair harms and damages that occurred during crime offences to eliminate conflicts between the parties involved in disagreements as stated by John P. J. Dussich.
Concept of Critical and Radical in Victimology
It is viewed differently from conservative victimology; it is an outcome of unequal social factors like unemployment, poverty, patriarch and racism causing crimes. The need for great resources to be devoted to law enforcer’s agencies and prisons are agents of social control. Some suggests to be terminated where as others want to be replaced with informal justice system and that society should take responsibility for crime as a whole but not individuals. It is asserted to be no division between victims and offenders, all groups of people in society are victims. Victim compensation expands social control by insistence that victims reported the matter to police reinforced by restricted eligibility. State sponsored victims programmes are agents of supporting social control with major guiding influence not being compassionate for victims, programmes are predicated on needs of prosecution. It is opposed that crime victims having formal rights in criminal justice system and concept of victim participation in proceeding includes the effects of victim’s statement. Involvement of victims in justice system aids government in conviction of defendants and advocates higher penalties increasing likelihood of incarceration hence increase of social control. Restitution order against offenders is often unrealistic and lengthens offender’s involvement with criminal justice in case of serious crimes; it seems genuine alternative and paradigm shift away from existing retributive criminal justice system. The concept supports mediation as explained by S. Garkawe (2000). Thus the radical paradigm concludes that crime is seen as significant problem affecting people lives, reality in crime should be analyzed beyond immediate appearance and crime control must be taken seriously. Circumstances of offenders and victims should be put into considerations when making decisions of criminal policies and the crime must be tackled by been keen with present situations in the society. Criminal justice system, prisons department and police force should not be terminated but reforms be made to put social control in place.
The laws should include services of victims, restitution from offenders, information about criminal justice system and right to formal participation of criminal justice process.
The field of victimology should have professionals people with specialized training in dealing with criminal acts, offences, and victim’s well being to help victims to fully recover.
Formal victim assistance programmes should be established by social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, medical doctors to help in counseling the victims.
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